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Selling a business with a soon-to-expire lease

I have a profitable cafe in Manhattan which has been in business for about seven years. My lease is coming up in September, but I do not wish to resign the lease and would like to sell the business. How should I approach this? I briefly spoke to my landlord and they said they would like to keep me as a tenant (I did NOT tell them I'll probably not resign). Should I speak to my landlord and see if they would negotiate a lease with a qualified buyer if I find one? Is this common? Do I have a chance of selling my business without a lease?

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Answers (3)
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As a successful entrepreneur with an MBA from the countries top business school, I am specializing in preparing business for sale. I can customize answers to your questions here.

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Mar 23, 2013
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Saint Louis County, MO

Can you sell your business WITHOUT a lease? No, because that means you don't have a physical location.

With that being said, if your lease expires, it's likely that you will simply be switched to a month-to-month lease (check your lease to make sure this is true). It is easy to sell businesses with month-to-month leases because (1) there is no liability for you when the new buyer renegotiates the lease down from what you were paying and (2) landlords are happy to be brought a qualified party to buy the business.

How would I approach it:
1) Make sure your lease will convert to a month-to-month lease. Note that in this situation, the landlord could find a new tenant and end your month-to-month lease, leaving you without a physical location;
2) Speak with your landlord and state that you're going to sell your business and keep them up to date on the process;
3) I would HIRE A BUSINESS BROKER who knows how to handle these situations in light of local circumstances.

Jan 13, 2013
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The BAF Group LLC

Depending upon the Landlord, you can either let him in on your sale and try to go onto a month-to-month basis, or sign the new Lease. Getting the business sold without a Lease is not a huge problem, except that you should have started this process about six months ago - you have left yourself no time, if it does not sell quickly. Any business sale is going to require that the Landlord approve the Buyer, this is always going to be an issue. And if the Buyer takes out an SBA loan to buy your business, he/she is going to have to have a Lease that has the same or longer number of years remaining, to match the amortization of the loan.

Jan 5, 2013