To buy or to lease?

There are numerous arguments either way on this question.

Ultimately the answers are a combination of the pragmatic and the subjective. What works best for some businesses does not work for others.And some businesses either don't have the cash to buy, or prefer to utilise their funds in their business.

Some of the arguments to be considered are:

There is to some limited extent more freedom as to what can be done with a building that is owned, rather than leased. Certainly improvements made to an building will generally benefit the owner – whoever that is.

Growing and changing businesses often need more (or less) space. Is that changing requirement better served by owning or leasing?

Owning a building means the owner can take advantage of capital gain. If there is any that is. For every up there is a down, so it really depends where in the cycle of values you buy. Owning a building certainly gives you the opportunity to take a share of any capital gain. But it also exposes you to the risk if the value falls. We have met plenty of building owners who owe more than the building is worth.

There is no difference either way with regard to OPEX. You will be paying whether you are owner or tenant. Or both. Which we would counsel against. Our view is that even if you decide to own and occupy the building, then ownership of the building should be in a different entity from the entity that leases.

There is a risk in being a landlord. Providing you have purchased a sound building, then perhaps the greatest risk is the tenant. And if you are yourself (obviously as a different entity) the tenant, then you need to ask yourself how strong then tenant is. And just as every other landlord does, pose the question to yourself : How would I cope if my tenant went broke or absconded?

Some people ask advice from their accountant or their lawyer as to whether they should own or lease.Which in our view is about as useful as soliciting advice from your pet chihuahua. Our view is to research the issues thoroughly and then make a decision based on those facts and issues.