The Thomas Allen Practice Real Estate Group team has helped hundreds of dentists open successful dental practices throughout Texas. From left: George Allen, Bryan Hogan, Mark Storey, Thomas Allen and Austin Wheeler.
by Tina Cauller
Maybe you have reached the stage in your career where you are ready to open a practice of your own. Or, maybe the notion of a new office took root when you realized that you were outgrowing your current space and needed a larger facility to house your successful practice. Whatever the case, your vision and your needs are unique. Accordingly, finding the right place for your new office will require an approach that is precisely tailored to fit your particular needs.
Whether you are starting or growing your dental practice, dozens of decisions lie ahead of you and well-informed choices are essential for long-term success. Since choosing a location for a dental office carries specific requirements beyond those of securing ordinary commercial real estate, you need a trusted advisor who specializes in dental real estate.
Specializing in helping dentists find the right space and the right deal
Thomas Allen Practice Real Estate Group focuses exclusively on finding office space for medical, dental, and veterinary professionals. Their team has helped hundreds of dentists open successful dental practices throughout Texas.
If your practice is to thrive, a great deal of planning and preparation must precede the selection of your office location.
Practice Real Estate Group can assist in gathering and analyzing the necessary information you need to find the ideal home for your practice.
Austin Wheeler, Thomas Allen’s longtime friend and business partner, helped start up and manage two successful dental practices in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, giving him first-hand insight into the process his clients are working through. Wheeler serves as the group’s President of Healthcare Real Estate.
Co-founder and president Thomas Allen notes, “The extraordinary volume of successful dental real estate transactions we have completed over the past five years means that we know the right questions to ask. We also know the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them. We are experienced in conducting thorough, accurate research and in negotiating to get you the right space and the right deal.”
Practice Real Estate Group’s team of dedicated advisors offers clients fast, responsive service and attention even on nights and weekends, a significant advantage over the typical retail broker. Their team is structured to provide full-service guidance for dentists seeking to buy or lease office space, or to purchase and develop extra space within a building. The team is equipped to do diligent research and follow through on the complex tasks that support an optimal outcome.
Considering much more than location alone
You’ve heard the old real estate saw “location, location, location.” In dental real estate, the ideal find is far more complicated. Securing the best site for your practice requires careful consideration of additional factors such as lifestyle, competition, and demographics. It requires attentive management, conscientious oversight and orchestration of myriad details. In the best hands, the stress and uncertainty of finding a new office location is displaced by confidence and trust.
Austin Wheeler explains, “In your initial consultation, one of our specialists will explore with you what you are hoping to get out of your practice and then explain exactly how we will help you achieve your goals. We’ll discuss your lifestyle needs and desires in detail, before any property search begins. Your office location will have a major impact on your personal and professional life, as well as the lives of your immediate family members. Most people do not want a long commute to work, so you will want to select a site that is close to where you already live or want to live. If you have school-age children, staying in the same schools or finding a neighborhood with a great school may be a priority. Proximity to aging parents, your spouse’s job, or other factors that matter to you may influence your choice of a location. It’s important for us to listen and thoroughly understand your goals and prerequisites before beginning a search.”
Next, the team will closely examine the demographic makeup of the areas you are considering. “We work with general dentists and specialists of all types,” Wheeler notes. “We work to match the prospective area’s demographics with the desired patient profile. For example, an orthodontist must be able to attract a population of families with children, so an area populated primarily with empty-nesters is not going to support a thriving orthodontic practice.”
Data Driven Recommendations
“We use solid data to give our clients a competitive advantage in the market. For established practices, we look at what has worked well for them in the past and spend time getting to know and understand their business model. Are they accepting PPO or government funded insurance? What is the typical profile of the patient their practice caters to, including factors such as age, income level, and ethnicity? In some circumstances, knowing the neighborhoods where concentrations of certain ethnic groups reside can make an enormous difference. For example, a Kurdish doctor may want to locate near a pocket of Kurdish residents looking for a doctor who shares their language and culture.”
Practice Real Estate Group also conducts detailed competition studies to assess nearby practices that may draw from the pool of patients and assess how the competition is likely to affect an incoming practice. Using the raw data from competition analysis combined with daily-updated data from demographics software, the team generates a list of prospective properties accompanied by comprehensive, highly detailed summary reports for each location.
“We are connected to hundreds of commercial real estate firms and can show you a wide range of properties in your target market,” notes Wheeler. “Once the prospective properties have been narrowed down to a short list, we can tour the options and then meet to share our impressions of the properties that were viewed,” notes Wheeler.
Practice Real Estate Group specialists help clients understand trends and how the particular characteristics of each location affect the price. Crucial factors like accessibility and visibility of the locations are evaluated. At this stage, the team can also create an accurate forecast of the anticipated demand at the new location, based on trends already demonstrated and other factors including area competition.
Resources, relationships and rapport
Thomas Allen Practice Real Estate Group has working relationships with a broad-ranging network of professionals who are invaluable resources for the doctor seeking to buy, lease or build a new office, including those who wish to develop and lease extra space within a building.
Allen notes, “We have developed deep relationships in every market in Texas, so we are competitively positioned to open offices in highly desirable new projects in the best areas. We have established rapport with a wide variety of professionals, so we can help connect you with the expertise you need on your side.”
In the early stages of planning a new office location, you will need to connect with a banker. They rely on trusted lenders who understand your needs and can get financing in place prior to a search. You can also expect to work closely with an attorney. “A dental real estate contract can fill 50 pages or more with technical terms and conditions, any one of which can greatly impact your agreement. It is important that you are well represented by someone familiar with this specific type of contract. We have reviewed hundreds of contracts specifically for dentists and work with our network of lawyers to ensure your best interest is represented in every way,” said Wheeler.
A dental real estate contract can fill 50 pages or more with technical terms and conditions, any one of which can greatly impact your agreement. It is important that you are well represented by someone familiar with this specific type of contract. We have reviewed hundreds of contracts specifically for dentists and work with our network of lawyers to ensure your best interest is represented in every way,” said Wheeler.
For dentists who are planning to build or finish out a new office space, Practice Real Estate Group can link you with builders who consistently deliver a great office on schedule and budget along with experienced equipment providers who will design and furnish your medical office space. At every stage of the process, the team will make sure you are protected by referring you to insurance providers who can get you the specific coverage you need.
Removing the stress from relocating
Wheeler emphasizes that working with the Practice Real Estate Group team of advisors not only eliminates the stress of finding a new location, but also helps doctors avoid common pitfalls that can potentially cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is true whether a doctor is purchasing or leasing a property.
Wheeler describes how the team routinely negotiates to help doctors secure favorable lease terms. “We work hard to help
dentists locate the appropriate office space and negotiate the best rates and terms. By negotiating fair and reasonable office leases, we can enable our clients to grow their practices and eventually sell or transition them without worrying about any potential roadblocks.”
He explains, “Often, landlords set up a lease in a way that builds in unexpected disadvantages for the tenant because it is designed to benefit the owner. Unfortunately, many health care professionals are focused only on the rents when negotiating and may overlook other critical issues such as unnecessary personal guarantees, termination clauses, costly relocation clauses, inability to expand, and the inability to control the dental practice sales process. By not understanding these fundamental components of the lease, you may be putting your practice at significant risk.
Allen adds, “We watch over every detail to make sure our client’s best interest is kept at the forefront during the entire process. Trusted and experienced lawyers oversee necessary contracts and work in tandem with the brokers involved to negotiate terms that make the most sense for our client. In addition, we will protect the integrity of the office space being leased and ensure that competition is not allowed in the same complex and that signs are visible from the street. Throughout the duration of the project, we ensure that all costs are explained and minimized.”
“We understand dentists and the business of dentistry. This knowledge not only helps us relate to our clients, but it also means we can demonstrate to prospective landlords that dental practices have proven to be highly desirable tenants with excellent long-term stability and very low (0.2%) default rates. We can often get our foot in the door in the most attractive projects, even when financing is a challenge for a first-time start-up practice.”
Allen says, “Our business is based on relationships, not just transactions. From the first point of contact, we are invested in our clients’ long-term success, and that doesn’t stop when we hand off the keys. We make sure that our clients get expert support even after they open a new practice, and we will stand beside them as their practice grows.”
Thomas Allen Practice Real Estate Group
3311 Richmond #19, Houston, TX 77098
Thomas Allen, FOUNDER / CEO
Thomas has worked exclusively in Texas real estate since his graduation from the University of Texas. He has extensive experience and has helped his clients locate properties for both leasing and commercial development. One of Thomas’ specialties is the representation of dentists, physicians and veterinarians.Thomas has established himself as one of Texas’ “go to” advisors who can help medical professionals get their practice established. He has met his clients’ real estate needs in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and the Rio Grande Valley as well as many of the smaller towns and communities located all over Texas.
Austin Wheeler, PRESIDENT
HEALTHCARE REAL ESTATE
Austin works with dental, medical, and veterinary professionals to open successful practices. He identifies ideal locations and negotiates on his client’s behalf against property owners to get the best terms and conditions for their space. Austin has experience in representing medical tenants with lease negotiations, land acquisitions, and building acquisitions. He has guided hundreds of doctors through the process of opening successful healthcare practices and has a deep understanding of every aspect involved. Austin has helped start up and manage two successful dental practices in the
Dallas/Fort Worth area, providing first-hand insight into the process his clients are working through. Austin has guest lectured numerous times at the Texas Dental Association meetings and Baylor College of Dentistry on the process of finding the best location for starting a practice.
George is the Greater Houston representative for Thomas Allen Practice Real Estate Group and works exclusively with healthcare professionals to find the right location for their practice. He is actively in the market working with brokers and researching real estate trends in the Houston area. His continued relationships with vendors within the medical field enable him to surround his clients with the a strong team of professionals. In addition to knowing the market and building relationships, George’s experience in lease/contract negotiation allows clients to get the best deal possible. George takes pride in knowing that his work enables his clients to start their practice in the best position possible.