Lease and rent expenditures often represent an enormous financial commitment for small businesses. Unfortunately, unless commercial real estate is your core business, you may end up overpaying or not getting what you really need.

“If a business owner walks into the building directly, he’s talking to the broker who represents the landlord. The broker’s trying to get the best deal for the landlord, not for the tenant,” says Howard Ecker, president and CEO of Howard Ecker + Company. Ecker is a 40-year veteran of the commercial real estate industry and an expert in representing startups.

To help you avoid potential headaches down the road, Ecker offers these small business tips on getting the right digs.