When selling a residential property, it is a common practice to de-clutter, display some nice pieces of furniture, place a vase or two of bright fresh flowers and an aroma of freshly baked cookies in order to tantalise prospective buyers. Most commercial property owners are unlikely to think about staging their property prior to offering it for sale, yet although different to the residential method, this task is well worth the effort. “Here are some helpful suggestions when offering your commercial property for sale which will accentuate positive aspects while deflecting the focus from any negative points,” says Leon Breytenbach, National Manager of the Rawson Property Group’s commercial division
Facilitate the Sales process
A potential commercial buyer wants a property that is ready for him to move into without the bother of having to fix up aspects of the property. If the premises are clean, attractive and ready for the new occupant, this could result in a better sale price, probably in excess of the staging costs. Instead of decorating your commercial property with loads of wonderful furniture, rather set it out in an airy, inviting, open plan. “Encourage the client to visualise his business in that space rather than clutter his view with unnecessary furniture or equipment,” advises Breytenbach. This can bring about a speedier sale as the client realises the property’s potential, and does not want to land in a bidding war with other interested parties.
“Emphasise natural lighting in the premises, as this is one of the biggest assets in creating a healthy, calm working environment,” suggests Breytenbach. If there is not much natural lighting, make sure all overhead lights are working and switched on when buyers come to view, as a dark area can be depressing. The layout should be efficient as well as practical, while keeping a good ratio of furniture to open floor space. Any accessories should enhance, not clutter the space, remember less is more. The furniture should be in light tones as dark, heavy pieces can make the atmosphere oppressive. Make certain that the reception or entrance area is ultra-neat, clean, and has a good visual impact which draws the buyer in. A fresh coat of paint throughout this area can work miracles, while not costing an excessive amount. Be sure that the building or offices are sparkling clean, especially windows, glass doors, shiny floor tiles or mirrors.
Check that the entrance way is crack-free, in good repair, as well as scrupulously clean, for this is the first view the client will have of the property. Plant a few new shrubs or pot plants where the old ones no longer look attractive. If there are gardens or lawns, make sure the lawns are kept regularly trimmed while the shrubbery is neatly clipped. Confirm that the roof is in good repair with all tiles or roofing panels in place, while all fascia boards are neat. Gutters or downpipes should be properly attached, not swinging free in the wind. Take a careful stroll round your property, noting any aspects which will require repair before a new owner or tenant can comfortably inhabit the premises. Have these dealt with before showing the property to potential buyers.
Leverage the property’s strong points
Bring special features to the fore by enhancing them when staging your property. “A good office space must be more than just the efficient use of the area; it also needs to create a pleasant work atmosphere,” says Breytenbach. If there is a wonderful view, draw attention to it by facing the desks towards it. Big windows or high ceilings can be emphasised by leaving the blinds or curtains open, but again, only if the view is worthwhile. If not, then having the blinds down, but open, will allow in the light but not emphasise the view. As there is a growing market for healthier workplaces, any feature which will improve the work environment must make the property more desirable.
When you are finally ready to place your property on the market, ask your chosen sales broker to walk through as well as around the property, listing anything that you may have overlooked or become accustomed to. Certain tell-tale signs may be glaring to an experienced broker or buyer, but to which you have become immune. This could prove expensive for you. However, if your commercial property has been properly prepared, a wise buyer will realise that he needs to make his offer before someone else beats him to it.