Raleigh real estate attorney Nikhil Vyas has real estate in his blood. Literally. “I first experienced the operational side of real estate as a young child accompanying my grandfather to his properties in Lumberton,” said Vyas.
His father leveraged his ability to build a successful medical practice with early stage ownership of his office buildings, and his mother’s side of the family has owned and operated hotels since before he was born. Vyas said he has been engaged in commercial real estate firsthand from a young age.
Then after taking several courses in real estate law at Wake Forest School of Law, Vyas was hooked.
Today, Vyas Realty Law works with tenants of shopping centers, developers for land acquisition and construction, and buyers and sellers of commercial and residential real estate.
Outside The Comfort Zone
Vyas said business owners might know a lot about their individual businesses, such as a restaurant, a clothing store, or a medical practice office, but they need to ask for help when they get outside their comfort zones, such as negotiating a lease or contract for the purchase of property.
“As a business advisor to small business owners, I use the experience I’ve gained from reviewing very different leases for shopping centers and office buildings. I can help a business owner understand what is cost prohibitive and what is within their budget to provide stability down the road,” said Vyas.
Real estate or business brokers often introduce potential tenants or buyers to property owners or leasing agents. However, Vyas tells clients to keep in mind that a broker’s role is limited to ensuring the deal terms are suitable for the budget, but the letter of intent is never alone sufficient to cover all lease terms.
Structuring the Deal
Vyas said there could also be a difference between what a client thinks they heard from the landlord and what actually was written in the lease. “It’s all about structuring the deals the best way possible. So, I’ve seen it from both the business side and now a lot more from the legal side in crafting the contracts and ensuring that the closings go the way the parties intended. Getting what you bargained for potentially several months before closing needs to be effectuated by the settlement statement,” said Vyas.
“I think it’s really important for folks to have an attorney diligently review their contracts. If the client wants to save money and do their own due diligence investigation, so be it, but an attorney should be involved in the contract and the closing because the client needs to know what they’re getting into.”
“When I’m representing business owners, I want them to understand all the triggers and different provisions that could create conflicts for them down the road. For example, business owners sometimes need to pivot and offer an ancillary service, product, or cuisine. We want to make sure that they can do that so that they’re not restricted by exclusive uses granted to other tenants,” explained Vyas.
Vyas offered another example. Anchor tenants can create a lot of foot traffic that benefits other tenants in a shopping center. “If an anchor is not stable and the tenant does not have an option to restructure the lease when an anchor tenant closes, they could really be in a tough position with gaining visibility and walk-up business.”
Vyas said he understands entrepreneurs because he is one. He said a small law firm faces many of the same challenges as a retail store – budgeting, branding, managing employees, and forecasting the future.
“I’ve successfully overcome a number of hurdles in my professional career and would like to focus on how that allows me to better serve my clients. I want to provide value for fellow business owners.”