In real estate, staging is the act of dressing up a property so that it looks its best. Staging is usually a term that people hear in the residential real estate market. Wright County homeowners are told that staging a property can increase profits by about $2,000, but little is said about commercial real estate. Property owners are left with the question, should they stage their commercial property just like homeowners? Is there value in staging? The short answer is yes.
The Value of Staging
Buyers who purchase commercial real estate shop with their eyes, just like home buyers. When they note the condition of a building, commercial property buyers make some of the same assumptions that home buyers make.
This is to say, buildings that appear to be well-maintained put buyers at ease. They assume that a building that looks good on the surface is probably in good condition overall. Buildings that appear to be poorly maintained lead buyers to believe that more is wrong than can be seen on the surface. These assumptions have merit. Commercial property owners who want to attract serious buyers can do so by staging the property to put buyers at ease.
How to Stage Commercial Property
The steps to staging a commercial property are similar to the steps in staging a residential property. Beautifying the space, emphasizing strengths and deep cleaning can all lead to bigger offers. Here's what sellers need to know.
Landscaping corresponds to curb appeal. Buyers who see beautiful landscaping upon pulling up to the building will often develop swift, positive opinions about the building. Usually, buyers are looking for landscaping that requires little day-to-day maintenance and only occasional watering.
They're typically looking for mulched beds, self-contained shrubs and perennials that display seasonal color throughout the year. Often, buyers like to see easy-to-traverse pathways to the door of the building, to prevent accidents. There is no place for weeds in a functional commercial landscaping. Buyers also look for plants that are healthy, well-established and properly suited for the climate.
Spruce Up the Parking Lot
The condition of the parking lot plays a big role in the functionality of the work space. Clearly painted lines show people where to park and prevent traffic jams when large groups are on the premises. Pristine asphalt prevents slips and falls. If the commercial property owner does not have the means to redo the parking lot, then it should be properly tidied, with weeds pulled from cracks, mud-cleaned away from low-lying areas and potholes filled in with asphalt patch.
Deep Clean the Building
Buyers like to see clean structures. On the outside of the building, they look for clean exterior siding, clean windows and well-swept sidewalks. Inside, they note the condition of the lobby, carpeting and bathrooms. To ensure the building is properly cleaned, sellers can hire a cleaning crew or work with their own janitorial staff to clean the building thoroughly before it is listed for sale.
As the buyer walks through the building, they must envision their own staff at work on the premises. They must be able to envision their customers, clients or patients entering and exiting the property. They must be able to imagine what it would be like to conduct business in the space. Big empty rooms makes this kind of imagining difficult.
For this reason, many sellers will rent commercial furniture until the property sells. It's not important or recommended to completely fill the space, but it helps to establish a reception desk, to set up a few cubicle work stations and to set up at least one private office. This puts on display the building's potential.
It's important to remove clutter from previous occupants. Old furniture, shelving and any loose items that were left behind when the last occupant cleared the space should be taken away before listing pictures are taken or before buyers see the space.
Here in Minnesota, the staging process changes with the seasons. As leaves fall from trees in autumn, property owners must rake leaves diligently to keep pathways and parking lots visible. As the winter sets in, the sidewalks and asphalt must be properly salted to ensure safety of potential buyers.
Improving the lighting as the days grow shorter shows that the property can be safe at all times of year. After big storms, it's important to pick up fallen sticks and debris that litter the sidewalk and asphalt.
For this reason, it's important for commercial property owners or their staff to visit the site regularly and clean it up on a weekly basis. This is especially true of the property is going to be seen shortly by an interested buyer.
Work With a Real Estate Professional
Have questions about staging your commercial property? Talk to your real estate professional. Working with a real estate professional helps ensure that your commercial property will be ready to be seen by buyers as soon as the listing is posted.