There are five steps that every property owner should follow when they are presented with either a new cell tower lease agreement or when they are approached by a cell tower company looking to renegotiate an existing cell tower lease agreement.
Number One: Understand exactly what you’re offering the cell tower company. A cell tower company will want you to focus on what they’re offering. They often provide a property owner with a summary of terms that focuses on the cell tower rent you might receive. Simply stated, they are trying to sell you “MONEY”, which usually is pretty easy to sell.
However, what the cell tower company never wants you to know is how much money or value they will derive from the use of your land, not only today but for decades into the future. A property owner needs to truly understand what they, as a property owner, are actually offering the cell tower company. If a property owner can focus on the value they are offering the cell tower company, that property owner will get the best overall cell tower lease on day one and going forward.
Number Two: Slow down. A cell tower company will try to rush a property owner through the process of either signing a new cell tower lease agreement or amending an existing one.
A property owner should take their time, as, for most property owners, this is the only time they will ever be presented this type of transaction, while the cell tower companies do this every day.
A property owner should clearly understand what they are agreeing to before signing any cell tower lease agreement. The main reason taking you time is important, no matter how much rent is being offered, is that a property owner is committing long-term, while the cell tower company has very liberal termination rights. As a result, it is more important that the property owner gets the lease terms right.
Number Three: A cell tower lease agreement is not a real estate transaction – it’s a utility transaction. As a result, a property owner should focus on structuring that agreement based upon the value the cell tower company is garnering from his or her property and not focus on the amount of space that is being occupied and used by the cell tower company.
Setting up a cell tower lease as a utility agreement gets the property owner paid the correct amount throughout the term of the cell tower lease agreement, and not just on day one.
Number Four: Every property owner should “Think Bigger”.
A cell tower company will want a property owner to think small, focusing very narrowly on rent being offer only.
A property owner should think about the bigger picture. Focus on the structure of the cell tower lease, not just the rent. If a property owner can take small steps but have long vision when it comes to structuring the cell tower lease agreement, it will not only mean he or she is going to generate more revenue from the lease but will be better protected as well.
Number Five: A property owner should always get someone to assist them with a cell tower lease transaction.
Cell tower companies have experts on their side whether it is legal assistance, outside consulting firms or engineers that assist them, and the cell tower companies are involved with cell tower lease transactions every day.
A property owner will most likely only ever enter one cell tower lease agreement, so it is actually more vital that they have the information and representation to guide them through a process that will commit them and their land for decades.
If you have questions regarding a cell tower lease, contact us today.
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