First let me say, I'm not a commercial real estate agent. However, I have owned many businesses in my lifetime and have rented many spaces for those businesses, so I speak mostly from experience.
Frankly, in matters concerning your business, it makes little sense to attempt to "save" money by not employing a professional to help you. Commercial leases can be tricky, and you need to know words such as "net", "triple net", "full service" and understand escalator clauses. Also, did you know that there is likely to be a difference between the amount of space stated on your lease and the amount you actually have inside the retail space (usable space)? Again, knowing why this happens and what all of the terms will mean to you in dollars and monthly expenses is critical to the future health and success of your business.
As to your specific questions:
1. TI or Tenant Improvements are just that, improvements made by the tenant. The landlord can, but is not obligated to, provide some "help" in the cost of improvements, but especially in retail, the tenant is expected to pay for the improvements at his/her own cost. So, no, there is no "rule of thumb" regarding how much money the landlord might pay to help with tenant improvements or an allowance for TIs. Again, a good retail commercial agent can help you negotiate these finer points.
2. How is commission calculated for 1000 SF space? For spaces of this smaller size, often the commission is a "set" fee for the rental or can be a percentage of the rental for one year (2-3% is typical). Occasionally, a multi-year lease will net larger commissions, but how much and how long is decided by the landlord. Thus a $2500 per month rental fee will net the Realtor about $600-900 in commissions on a one year lease. Because a percentage commission can often be too low to entice a Realtor to bring a client, landlords might offer a set fee of say "$1000" as the commission. If you are hoping that the reduction in commissions will provide you with tenant improvement money, it seems fairly unlikely that the savings to the landlord would be significant enough to pay for the renovations you'll probably need.
Before signing on the dotted line, contact a good commercial real estate management company and speak with an agent. Let them know what type of business you're running, and have them help you find the perfect location for your business. Never are the words "location, location, location" more important than when you're determining where to place your business.
Again, for the best and most accurate information in the commercial rental market, talk with an agent qualified to help you in this arena.
Area Pro Realty-People's Choice... more