Once your offer is accepted, you will need to instruct your solicitor to proceed with the acquisition of the property. The time taken to go through the legal formalities will afford you valuable time to prepare for actually taking over management of the asset.
You will need to contact your funders/investors to let them know that your bid has been successful and then arrange to draw down and transfer the same to the owner in keeping with the terms and conditions of sale.
You will already have a business plan for the project. Use your business plan to pull together a time-line. If the asset is closed, you may have some flexibility around your timeline – for buildings which are operational, there may be less flexibility.
Examples of key issues to include in your timeline:
- Lead-in time to recruit staff or volunteers
- Essential training for staff or volunteers
- If you need to apply for planning permission or change of use, then your plans should take account of deadlines and the time it will take to receive a decision
- If you need a licence (for example to sell alcohol or play music) then you need to be aware of relevant deadlines and the time taken to receive a decision
- If you need to purchase specialist equipment, this may need to be ordered in advance of opening your building to staff/user groups
- Advertising and promotion – once you have an acquisition or opening date, then you can begin attracting or retaining customers. The pricing structure for your services will have been included in your business plan – this will need to be finalised.
- Sorting out practicalities around the property – see below.
Think about how the property and the services you will be running will work in practice. Good questions should cover what needs to be done and who will do it.