If your offer to buy an asset of community value has been accepted – congratulations!
Once your offer is accepted, you will need to instruct your solicitor to proceed with the acquisition of the property. The time taken to go through the legal formalities will afford you valuable time to prepare for actually taking over management of the asset.
You will need to contact your funders/investors to let them know that your bid has been successful and then arrange to draw down and transfer the same to the owner in keeping with the terms and conditions of sale.
You will already have a business plan for the project. Use your business plan to pull together a time-line. If the asset is closed, you may have some flexibility around your timeline – for buildings which are operational, there may be less flexibility.
Examples of key issues to include in your timeline:
Think about how the property and the services you will be running will work in practice. Good questions should cover what needs to be done and who will do it.
There are many things you will need to deal with before or upon taking possession of the property.
These are just some examples to help you begin making plans:
You need the time and space to get to know your building – for example, make sure that key people in the organisation such as operational staff, key holders and others know:
Good planning should minimise problems but taking on a property asset is a major undertaking, so be prepared for some hitches. Try to make sure that:
If your plans include building works, then these will have been detailed in your business plan.
This section deals with two key issues which can arise in relation to building works:
Major building works are disruptive. You will need to consider whether the work can be done in stages – allowing you to continue to operate from the building – or whether the building will need to close. If you need to close the building, will you also close the services – or will you operate from another building? If you close or move the service, it is important to plan carefully to minimise disruption to your customers, as you want to retain their custom once the building reopens. If you close the services or rent other premises while building work takes place, you need to ensure that you take the drop in income or increased costs fully into account in your cash flow projections.
Building work can and often does over-run. Bear this in mind in your plans for re-opening or re-locating your services. If you are leasing alternative premises, build in some flexibility. Don’t organise high profile events in the first few weeks after opening – in case the building work is not finished or there are teething problems.
Take time to enjoy your new asset of community value. Ensure that everyone involved in supporting the acquisition has the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the success.
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