10 Important Places to Maintain in a Commercial Building to Prepare It for a Successful Sale
If your building is in the wrong location for a potential buyer or has the wrong layout, there’s nothing you can do to persuade them to make an offer. But if a buyer is looking in your area for a property like yours, get an advantage over other listings. Make your building stand out to a buyer by getting the maintenance up-to-date in these ten areas.
A pitched roof on a single story office building is a highly visible part of the structure. If a buyer sees any noticeable problems with the roof, they could assume that water has been getting into the building. This first impression will be difficult to erase, even if no signs of water damage are apparent inside.
Make sure to replace any missing shingles or broken tiles on a pitched roof. Because of the difficulty in matching the new to the old, consider replacing all the shingles or tiles on a damaged side. Otherwise, the contrast will be evident from the ground, and the buyer may begin to question the condition of the building.
On a corporate building with a flat roof, make sure to repaint or replace any rusty flashing that is visible from the ground.
In a multi-story commercial building, the windows are as prominent as the exterior finish. At a minimum, make sure all damaged glass is replaced. Better yet, re-caulking and repainting the windows can appear to subtract years from the building’s age.
In a vacant property, remove any window coverings that are damaged or outdated. For an occupied business building, remove old window coverings that are no longer needed.
Make sure the windows are kept clean both inside and out. Sunshine streaming through clean windows has a positive effect on most buyers.
In a factory or warehouse, the appearance of the windows is not as critical to a buyer. But replace all damaged glass and make sure no daylight can be seen around the edges of the windows.
Inspect any overhead doors. Replace damaged panels. If the replacement panels don’t match the existing ones, repaint the entire door. No buyer wants pests in the building, so make sure each door has a good seal at the bottom and the edges.
All the other exterior doors should function properly too. Repair doors that don’t open and close easily. And make sure to replace any seals that would allow water to enter the structure.
Because security is so crucial to any business, update the locksets on exterior doors with commercial-quality hardware. Here is an informative guide to help you choose the right type.
For a minimal expense, replacing interior door hardware that is dated and worn can increase the perceived value of your property.
Because of the rough texture, both stucco and EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System) easily attract dirt. Both can be cleaned by power washing, but the pressure should be kept below 600 psi when cleaning EIFS to avoid damage to the material.
Metal siding can be repainted but usually is left alone for the life of the building.
Brick, stone, and unpainted concrete block seldom require maintenance other than repointing any bad mortar joints.
Any mold can be removed with a power washer or covered with specially formulated paint. Trimming or removing vegetation next to a wall can reduce the moisture and prevent a recurrence. While exterior mold should be removed or covered, mold isn’t typically a big issue for a buyer.
Bushes and flowers only add to the curb appeal of commercial real estate if adequately maintained. Make sure shrubs are pruned, so they don’t cover first-story windows. And keep flower beds free from weeds.
Factory and warehouse buildings don’t need beautiful grass to attract a buyer. But whatever is growing needs to be kept short.
Most newer office buildings have irrigated lawns, and lawn maintenance is outsourced. But for smaller commercial properties maintained by the owner, the appearance of the lawn can be an issue. If you have unirrigated native grass, consider watering it by hand to keep it green.
#6. Parking Lot
Make sure a buyer doesn’t think your parking lot is only suitable for off-road vehicles.
If you have a gravel parking lot, keep it graded and free from grass and weeds. Also, minimize the dust by spreading a chemical over the gravel that draws moisture.
If you have an asphalt lot, fix any potholes and then reseal the pavement. Resealing also kills any grass growing in the cracks. Repainting the parking lines will also help with a buyer’s first impression.
Cleaning concrete parking lots can be done by sweeping, power washing, and specially formulated cleaning products.
“A buyer interested in a factory or warehouse typically won’t care much about the interior paint color or condition. They want a dry building free from pests”—notes my friend Ryan, an expert real estate investor from Houston and the founder of a commercial property investing company Property Cashin, and advises:
But the appearance of an office building’s interior is important to a buyer. Since repainting the interior is a significant expense, several factors should be considered:
- Will the building be leased to multiple tenants? If so, each tenant may want to do their own decorating.
- Is the building currently occupied? The cost of repainting occupied office space probably won’t be reflected in a higher selling price.
- Is the building vacant? The buyer might not like the new color scheme, and you would have wasted your money.
Rotted or damaged boards on a solid wood floor can be replaced. But the repair won’t usually match unless the entire floor is refinished.
Prefinished flooring is almost impossible to repair. If none of the original flooring was saved for repairs, the entire floor should be replaced.
Make sure to replace any cracked tiles in areas with heavy traffic. Many products are available to clean dirty grout and make it look like new.
Before cleaning carpets, consider what a buyer sees:
- In a vacant building, cleaning the carpets is usually cost-effective. Dirty spots in an empty office stand out to a buyer.
- To save money in an occupied building, clean only the visible dirt in high traffic areas. Because of all the furniture, any other dirty areas probably won’t be noticeable to a buyer.
Marble floors are a unique challenge. Since it is a natural material, marble is more prone to staining and breaking than tile. Replace any cracked tiles. Clean dirty marble with specialty deep cleaning products. Read more about cleaning marble floors in our other blog post.
#9. Break Rooms
A clean and bright break room helps morale in the workplace. This is important to most buyers.
- Keep break rooms clean.
- Replace unmatched chairs with matching ones.
- Replace stained tables.
- Make sure all appliances work correctly.
- Replace the laminate on any damaged countertops.
- Paint or repaint cabinets that are damaged or out of date.
Make sure the lighting is bright. Replace any burned-out bulbs. In older buildings consider replacing fluorescent lighting with LED lighting.
Keeping commercial bathrooms clean and functional is also important for the morale of anyone using the building.
Bathrooms in factories and warehouses don’t have to be pretty—only clean and functional. But restrooms in office buildings should also look great.
In office buildings, make sure the grout in the tile is clean and free from discoloration. If there’s a combination of cracked tile and dirty grout, it may be more cost effective to replace all of the tile.
Get rid of any stains on toilets, sinks, and showers. Many products are available that will deep clean stains. If stains cannot be removed, consider replacing the fixtures. At a minimum, replace all the toilet seats.
Repair any leaking plumbing, and replace all pipe that is rusted or stained. The expense in bringing office bathrooms up to shape can usually be recovered with a higher selling price.