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As Seen on Maintenance is Paramount

Maintaining property is always important, but in a commercial real estate market where demand is on the wane, maintenance could be your great value proposition or differentiator. In 2019, we're at the apex of a 10-year real estate cycle. In cliché terms, it's time to sell high because the talking heads, columnists and bloggers predict lower demand across many property types and market areas. Their reasons differ, but every real estate prognosticator I know agrees that this is going to be a slow-down year for commercial real estate. With less demand, buyers and tenants have more options and can be far choosier about space. Whether acting as a seller or a landlord, your goal is to put the prospects’ mind at ease about the building. If you want to be in a position to talk closing dates or furniture placement, don’t let your prospective buyers or tenants talk about a stray dog or the building rat — or the worst word in CRE, "tired."

Residential real estate is all about "the 'gram." Instagram listings require professional photos and staging. Professional photos and staging require a fresh coat of paint, a broken door knob repair, sanded hardwood. But, in commercial real estate, especially industrial real estate which is not highly photogenic, maintenance is in the staging.

Maintenance is not a glossy term, except in relation to your bottom line. Lease rates or sale prices are affected by maintenance (and lack thereof). Before calling a broker, before even driving by, prospective tenants and buyers are going to research your building and they’re most likely to do it via street maps or Google Earth photos. When a 2-year-old satellite photo causes the not-so-casual online browser to say, “Yeesh. Is that parking lot blacktop or gravel?” they are likely to keep scrolling.

Maintenance is key. Before bringing a property to market, whether for lease or for sale, it's essential to have those seemingly small things that you barely notice when you walk through it cleaned up. Think light bulbs, added motion sensors, a coat of primer on the walls, removal of the sofa and television that somebody tossed next to the dumpster around back. Bring people in with a clean, tidy-looking property. Be sure you pay attention to the little big things:

Windows: Nothing shouts neglect like cloudy windows. While a window replacement isn’t an inexpensive fix, tenants or buyers passing on the building due to broken window seals costs more in unpaid carrying costs for the space.

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March 22, 2019

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