Office spaces within commercial buildings frequently become available for lease. Old tenants move out and landlords find themselves needing to lease the office space to a new tenant. There are some things you can do as a building owner and landlord that can increase your chances of leasing the space sooner rather than later, for a higher rental rate, and for a longer lease term.
As a commercial building owner and landlord, it's usually your responsibility to care for and maintain the property. By properly maintaining the property, you're showing potential tenants that you're actively invested in the state of the building. In turn, you're also setting the stage to attract tenants that recognize that the condition of their leased premises relates directly to the success of their business.
Tips to prepare office space to be leased:
Clear the Space
It's much easier for potential lessees to determine if the office space will accommodate their employees and furniture if they can clearly see the floor layout. This is difficult to do if the space is cluttered with furniture and boxes or trash is left behind by an old tenant.
As soon as the prior lease ends and the old tenant has moved out [or as soon as is legally possible], clear the office space of any items that will not be part of the leased space.
The goal is to have the space ready to go. Don't show the space with all of the clutter in place because it will discourage prospective tenants, make the space more difficult to rent, and there's a good chance the tenant will ask more to be done to the premises than if you would have done the clean-up beforehand.
If you're only able to do one thing before you show a space to potential tenants, clear the floors.
Clean the Space
With all of the trash and clutter removed, previously hidden dirt and dust will become exposed. Vacuum, dust, wash the windows, and have the carpets cleaned. If necessary, bring in a cleaning company that can do the job professionally, quickly, and efficiently. The amount you spend presenting a clean space now, will enhance your chances of renting the space for a higher rate, and you'll demonstrate to your prospective tenants that you're a landlord who cares about maintaining a clean environment.
Putting the time into some basic cleaning before a space is shown to potential buyers also implies how you expect the space to be left when any tenant ends their lease and leaves the building.
Replace the Floor Coverings
Tenants like to know they are moving into a clean space, especially if their business involves walk-in customers. Sometimes even after you clear the floors of any clutter and vacuum, there's just no denying that the carpets or other floor coverings need replacement.
If the floors are covered in stains or the carpet smells, the space will never feel clean and will be an instant turn-off to many prospective tenants. Install a new, industrial, stain-resistant, neutral-colored carpet or replace the damaged or worn floor tiles.
Make Repairs & Paint
Minor damage to walls is a not uncommon, especially if a tenant occupied a space for several years. Repair any damage to the walls with drywall repair, plaster, or joint compound and apply a fresh coat of paint. The $25 per gallon of paint that you spend now will pay off in dividends later, plus, the space will instantly feel and smell clean.
Choose a neutral light color paint to make the space feel brighter and larger. Off-white and grays appeal to the largest audience. The basic rule of thumb is when looking at a paint color display strip where the colors go from light to dark, choose the first or second lightest color on the chart. The color will always look a shade darker once on the walls.
Brighten Up the Space with Lights
An office space with bright lights will feel much more welcoming. Repair any non-functioning light fixtures and replace any burnt out light bulbs. If needed, install brighter fluorescent lights. They're inexpensive and just a few fixtures can brighten a large area.
The reason for dulled fixtures may just be due to the discolored clear plastic covers on a drop ceiling or the glass shades on ceiling fixtures may have years of dirt build up. Remove and clean or replace any fixture covers and please wash out the remains of any bugs showing through them!
Take Lots of Photos
Once the space is ready to show, it's time to take lots of photos. A real estate broker or photographer can do this for you and it's recommended that you let them. A professional will know from which angle to capture the space, including the doors, windows, lighting, floors, ceiling height, electrical panels, heating systems, and any other unusual elements of the building's interior, as well as its exterior.
Seek the Help of a Real Estate Broker
Even before you've completed the suggested space improvements mentioned above, you should contact a local commercial real estate broker to assist you through the lease process. There are several reasons for working with a professional broker.
The Broker has the ability to negotiate the best deal on your behalf because he or she usually has a vast knowledge of the current market. They can research comparable sales and leases in the area and price your space accordingly and competitively.
Brokers have a constantly growing network of buyers, sellers, lessors, and lessees. In many cases, they are instantly able to make these connections and get your space leased in the shortest timeframe.
A broker can list your office space for lease or sale on its own website, the MLS (multiple listing service), and other industry-related sites for maximum exposure. The MLS is a membership site where brokers list the details of properties of sale or lease. Access to the database is usually limited to licensed brokers and agents who pay a fee for membership or access to this data.
A broker can create a market listing sheet for you that usually includes photos, a floor plan, and a summary of the property's details (location, square footage, utility types, etc.). The listing sheet can be given to prospective tenants. Providing all of the necessary property details to a potential tenant helps them make an informed decision easier and sooner.
A Broker can also assist with recommended terms of a lease and help you determine the best terms in your particular case. In addition to lease price, some things to consider when determining lease terms include extensions, early exits and cancellations, options, build-out allowances, utilities, taxes, cabling, building security, parking, trash disposal, maintenance, heating and electric. Every lease can vary but a building owner's broker can recommend terms best for you as the lessor.
Now that the office space is clean and bright and you have a contracted a licensed Real Estate Broker to show the space, it's now ready to show to potential tenants.
Carbone Commercial Real Estate, located in Woburn, Massachusetts, is one of the areas leading commercial and industrial real estate firms. Also serving Boston metro northwest. For more info and to view available listings, visit CarboneRE.com.