Real estate choices can make or break a chiropractic practice. Just like anyone debating between buying a home or renting an apartment, chiropractors face a similar decision with their workspaces. They can either buy their own place or lease it, and each option has its own set of perks and downsides.
The best choice? Well, it really depends on what works best for the chiropractor’s budget, how long they see themselves in one spot, and what they envision for the future of their practice.
For your practice, should you consider buying or leasing your real estate? If this question has been one that’s on your mind, this guide is for you. We’re going to compare both options to help you decide which one is right for you.
Let’s start with what it’s like to own your real estate.
Owning the Medical Real Estate
Owning the medical space in which a chiropractic practice operates provides a sense of stability and permanence. When you own, the space becomes an asset, which can appreciate over time and benefit from tax advantages. But what are the broader implications of this decision?
Control Over the Space: Ownership grants total control over the property. This means having the autonomy to modify the interior or exterior to fit the specific needs of the practice without seeking permission from a landlord. Whether it’s creating an ergonomic environment for the staff or a soothing ambiance for patients, the freedom to design the space enhances the practice’s ability to serve its clientele.
Financial Predictability: Owning property provides consistent monthly mortgage payments, which can aid in financial planning. There’s no need to worry about annual rent increases or lease renewals. Moreover, the potential for property appreciation can serve as a valuable long-term investment.
Building Equity: As mortgage payments are made, equity in the property builds up. This equity can be used as collateral for loans to expand the practice or even finance other business ventures in the future.
However, ownership does come with its set of responsibilities. These include upkeep and maintenance, property taxes, and the initial down payment, which can be hefty. Moreover, being tied to a property might not be ideal for those who foresee relocating their practice in the near future.
Leasing the Medical Real Estate
On the other side of the spectrum is leasing. Leasing offers flexibility and might be more appealing to those who aren’t ready for the commitment that comes with ownership.
Lower Upfront Costs: One of the significant advantages of leasing is that it typically requires less money upfront compared to purchasing. This means more capital remains available to invest directly into the practice, from equipment to staff training.
Flexibility: Leasing provides flexibility in terms of location and space. If the practice outgrows its current space or if a more prime location becomes available, it’s easier to move at the end of a lease term than it is to sell a property.
Fewer Responsibilities: When leasing, the property owner usually handles most of the maintenance and repairs. This can free up valuable time and resources for the chiropractic practice, allowing for a focus on patient care and business growth.
Keep in mind though that leasing also has its cons. Monthly lease payments won’t build equity in the property, and there’s always the possibility of rent increases or non-renewal of the lease. Also, there are restrictions on how much the property can be modified, which might hinder the ability to create an ideal environment for patients and staff.
Factors to Consider When Making a Decision
Choosing between owning and leasing isn’t just a matter of crunching numbers or picking the most obvious option. Several considerations shape this critical decision. Think about it this way; this decision is somewhat like choosing between buying a house or renting an apartment. Both choices cater to specific needs, priorities, and situations.
Let’s first talk about the financial situation. Before even peeking into property listings or lease agreements, a close look at the practice’s finances is necessary. What do those bank statements and balance sheets reveal?
Owning a property demands a considerable initial investment, so there’s a need for a healthy bank balance or access to suitable financing. If cash flow is tight or the savings aren’t robust, diving into ownership could strain the finances, possibly leaving the practice vulnerable to unforeseen expenses or market fluctuations.
On the flip side, leasing can often be kinder to the bank account in the short term. Regular monthly payments without the burden of a hefty down payment can be appealing.
However, these payments don’t build equity, and when added up over the years, they might end up costing more than the cost of ownership, especially if the rental rates rise.
Then, there’s the matter of future plans. Everyone has aspirations and visions for where they’d like to be in the future.
When thinking about the chiropractic practice, what does that future look like? Say, in the next decade or two? If the goal is to set down roots, grow deep community ties, and perhaps even pass on the practice to a successor, owning could be an advantageous route.
In contrast, if flexibility is a top priority—maybe because of potential moves, changing market dynamics, or simply the desire to try out different locations—leasing allows for that agility. It’s less of a commitment and can be especially useful for those who anticipate significant changes down the road.
Lastly, the external environment plays a crucial role. The broader real estate market conditions in the area of interest can often tip the scales.
In some regions, property prices might be in a sweet spot, making buying a more economical and strategic choice than pouring money into rent. But then again, in places where the real estate market is boiling hot and property prices are soaring, the costs of purchasing might be prohibitively high. Leasing can then offer a doorway into premium locations without the colossal upfront costs.
Ultimately, it all circles back to understanding individual circumstances, goals, and the external environment. It’s not about which is universally better; it’s about which is better for the specific situation and aspirations of the chiropractic practice at this point in time.
Get More Insights for Your Practice with AMC
At Aligned Mentoring for Chiropractors, we help chiropractors like you navigate the most challenging questions and decisions that they will face during their careers, including guidance on finding the right real estate situation for their practices. Our goal is to help you achieve the practice you have always dreamed of owning and operating.
If you are ready to take the next step and move your practice forward, schedule a call with us today to learn about how we can help.