Most commercial real estate agents would agree that our tenants and buyers are less likely to show warm and fuzzy feelings about properties like a home-buyer might. Functionality and cost often win out as the primary decisions behind choosing a commercial space.
But presentation does matter to these clients, and there’s typically only one opportunity to wow them. So why not make it count.
Spick and span
Webster’s Dictionary defines “spick and span” as “brand-new.” Though there’s an acceptable level of wear and tear on an existing space, I think this is an area ignored by landlords and sellers.
Broom-swept is a term I use to describe my expectation of a “clean” space. It should be free of debris with all items removed that aren’t affixed or relative to the space, and, where applicable, have its floors broom-swept.
If we have a cooperative owner who is willing to do further housekeeping, I encourage it. Washing windows, cleaning carpets, removing old signage and other small measures will all enhance the showability of the space.
Signage is a significant factor in reaching potential tenants and buyers. We use paper signs in windows, four-foot by four-foot signs on tripods and a variety of specialty sized signs and banners.
Keeping signage clean and visible is a goal, especially on construction sites where it may need to periodically be moved around. Regular sign checks are necessary to make sure that properties being presented properly.
Back to basics
We don’t always advise landlords to remove tenant improvements following their departure, but in some cases this can be an important step in preparing the property for a new tenancy. Improvements that aren’t usable by most occupants can be referred to as functionally obsolescent.
For example, I recently had a vacancy that had been occupied by a hair salon for 20 years. The space was dated but suited for a number of uses, not just a salon.
I recommended to the landlord that the space be “shelled out.” This would essentially entail removing all interior demising walls, floors and a suspended ceiling. Water and sewer hook-ups could be capped for the same use down the road while removing the current sinks.
Even in instances where an existing layout works for a tenant or incoming purchaser, they may have plans to further alter the space to suit their needs. By removing the functionally obsolescent layout or improvements, the space presents itself in a better light to more users.
Best foot forward
It doesn’t matter what kind of space you’re putting on the market, the first impression can make or break a deal. Have you ever been in a home or commercial property that turned you off? What about the viewing was unappetizing to you?