The CRE Timeline for a Smooth Transition

The CRE Timeline

It’s hard to imagine, but I keep our office CRE timeline handy on my desk at all times. And there’s a good reason why! I can’t begin to tell you the number of times someone has called our office with the conversation going like this:

Me: Good afternoon! This is Dana. How can I help you?

Potential Client: Our lease is up/we’ve run out of space/our major client moved. We met with our Landlord and they are not able to accommodate our requirement. Can you help us find a new location?

Me: Absolutely! Let me get a bit of information from you, then I’ll tell you about our services and process. When does your current lease end?

Potential Client: In 30 days.


Eventually, I begin asking additional questions, but my initial response is always internal panic. Thirty days is rarely enough time to find option, let alone find options, negotiate terms, build out space and move. Obviously, we work hard and get the job done, reaching out to their current landlord and our connections. However, you should always provide yourself with margin during the process to decrease stress levels and allow for better decision-making.

A Timeline

With that in mind, I’ve come up with the following CRE timeline that can be adjusted based on market conditions and size requirements. For example, the larger the space requirement, the longer the process will take.

  • 1 – 4 Weeks: First, find and utilize the services of a tenant representation firm.
  • 1 – 4 Weeks: Next, conduct a needs analysis so that size, location can be narrowed down.
  • 2 – 8 Weeks: Survey the market, searching for, touring and settling on 2-3 options that will work.
  • 1 – 4 Weeks: Once a shortlist has been agreed to, request proposals and compare results.
  • 1 – 4 Weeks: Negotiate terms of the lease.
  • 2 – 4 Weeks: Determine and approve Tenant Improvement plans
  • 2-24 Weeks: Finally, complete construction, Tenant Improvements and move in to space

If you’re keeping track, that’s between 10 and 52 weeks from start to finish. And that’s if everything goes smoothly. Some spaces are harder to find than others. Some locations have little or no space available. Deals fall through and the process must begin again. Some companies have a very structured, linear approval process, where others may be willing to go through multiple steps at one time. Regardless, it’s always better to start with a Tenant Rep and leave yourself enough time for any eventuality.

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