It seems better to buy than rent but what are the pitfalls and risks of either choice. Moneyfacts had this covered recently and I thought it may be useful to highlight some of the key points.

If your business can afford to rent then would you expect to pay more or less to buy?
What if the cost to rent was the same as to buy?

Should you take out a commercial property mortgage or rent?

Buying a commercial property is a big step for your business. To do this, it’s likely you’ll need a commercial mortgage to finance the purchase. This has a number of advantages and disadvantages when compared with renting.
Commercial property mortgages allow you to eventually own your business premises as an asset (as opposed to paying rent and never seeing that money again). However, you will take on some extra risks by opting to own the property rather than rent.

Commercial property: buy (with a mortgage) or rent?

Buying
Some lenders offer fixed rate commercial property mortgages, offering you security for a set period.
You don’t need to worry about your landlord making big rent increases.
If the property rises in value, your business’ asset value increases.
You may be able to sub-let your commercial property to other businesses and generate a rental income. Make sure you check that you’re allowed to do this with your mortgage lender first!
The interest portion of commercial mortgage repayments is tax-deductible.
You may consider putting the property into a Pension plan.

Renting
Easier to re-locate if your business needs to expand.
Your business doesn’t have to tie up a large sum of money in the property as a deposit.
Your landlord will be responsible for maintenance of the property.
You are not exposed to fluctuations in property prices.

Beware if buying
If you opt for a variable rate commercial property mortgage, your payments will go up if interest rates rise.
If your property goes down in value, your business’ asset value decreases.
As you’ll own the premises, you’ll be responsible for maintenance.
For a commercial property, you will probably need to be able to lay down a deposit in the region of 25% to 50%.
Owning the property can make it harder to move if your business needs to.

Beware if renting
Rents can be put up.
Your lease will end and you will need to move or agree a new lease.
Your business is paying money to a landlord €“ you won’t own the property.
Your business wouldn’t benefit from any increases in commercial property prices.
If you’re satisfied that a commercial property mortgage is right for your business, you will need to consider a few things before jumping in€¦

Compare commercial mortgages
The bank that provides you with business banking services may also be able to offer you a commercial mortgage. You shouldn’t dismiss this offer, but it’s also important to compare commercial mortgages with other lenders to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Set the mortgage payment at a comfortable level
Decide on the maximum amount per month that your business could commit to paying for the commercial property mortgage.
Be sure to set this maximum at a level you can easily afford. Remember that if you miss repayments, your business’ premises could be at risk of repossession.
Many commercial mortgage lenders offer a fixed rate or capped rate option, giving your business some payment security. A capped rate gives you a payment ceiling if rates go up, but also lets you take advantage of rates when they’re low.
While variable rates may be low at the moment, remember that rates may go up in the long term, meaning you could be paying significantly more in the future.

Deposits on commercial property mortgages can be high
Commercial property mortgages generally require you to put up a sizeable deposit.
There are several factors that will influence the minimum amount of deposit you will need to provide. These include:
• The commercial property you are looking to buy (New build with a warranty or an older property that’s already fully fitted out).
• The amount the lender thinks that you can afford. If the lender thinks you can’t afford the commercial mortgage you are asking for, they may reduce the amount they are willing to lend your business. In effect, this will mean that you will need to provide a larger deposit.
The deposit can range from 25% to 50%, and this can vary between mortgage lenders.

Don’t underestimate the value of a business mortgage broker

Business mortgage brokers will have good working relationships with many lenders, and will know their particular foibles with regards to criteria, costs and service. They can save you a lot of time, and potentially a lot of money, too.

Make sure you look for an independent business mortgage broker preferably one that’s a member of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB)
this way you can ensure that you are getting the best advice for you and your business.

This article came from Money Facts and I thought it would be very helpful.
http://moneyfacts.co.uk