What you should know before you put your property on the market

You may no longer notice the stains on the ceiling tiles from the roof leak in your warehouse five years ago, but it’s likely they would catch the eye of a prospective buyer, says George J. Pofok, CCIM, SIOR, senior vice president at Cushman & Wakefield/CRESCO Real Estate.

“It would instantly put a negative thought in that person’s mind about the property and the potential expense they will likely incur down the road,” Pofok says. “First impressions go a long way when you’re trying to make a sale.”

The act of preparing a building for sale and finding the right real estate professional to help you market the property takes both time and attention to detail.

“You need to engage a real estate professional to help market your property,” Pofok says. “At that point, it’s the adviser’s duty and job to know every detail of the property and assemble that information into a neat, clean property package that presents the building with the best possible image.”

Smart Business spoke with Pofok about how to prepare your building for sale and find the right real estate professional to help you through the process.

Where should you get started preparing your building for sale?

The first step when putting a building on the market for sale is to reach out to a real estate agent that principally specializes in your industry (i.e office/industrial or retail) or geographic area of business. Obtain the adviser’s thoughts on how to prepare your building to be put on the market so that you can stage it appropriately or make certain improvements that will maximize the value of the real estate asset.

Solicit recommendations on what improvements should be made prior to going to market. Not all improvements will translate to an increase in value of the asset, so an adviser may tell you to not do something because you won’t see a return on the investment. Improvements could include landscape cleanup, painting warehouse walls white, lighting upgrades, office cleanup or replacing damaged/stained ceiling tiles. It may be from an old leak five years ago that has since been repaired, but the prospective buyer is only going to see the stains, so you want to get that problem resolved. If you have scrap or trash compactors outside, make sure those areas are clean of debris. When people have an impression of cleanliness, they will think you’ve taken care of your property.

How will the right real estate adviser help you market the property?

Buyers are far more sophisticated than they have ever been before. They are on the internet searching for information and will know a great deal about the property before they call you. The ability to put accurate information in their hands or in the various databases they use is critical. Buyers may pull up a property brochure and be looking for a warehouse with specific ceiling heights, a certain number of truck docks or drive-in doors. The buyer may also have specific power requirements. If you have inaccurate information in those various databases, your property may be overlooked or you’ll be ruled out without even knowing it. Real estate professionals do this on a daily basis, so it’s important to listen to their advice. They won’t tell you how to make your widgets, but they do know real estate. It’s also helpful to work with a team. People want information right away and when you work with a team, there is more than one person who can answer a question, forward information or show you a property.

Is it OK to show the property during normal business hours?

Most companies understand that folks need to operate their businesses. There are often times when watching another company’s process might be beneficial and helpful as potential buyers look at how they would lay out a facility. When I look at the number of deals that I’ve completed on showings after 5 o’clock or on weekends, I don’t know that I’ve actually made one. If people are interested in a property, they’ll typically come during normal business hours.

Insights Real Estate is brought to you by Cushman & Wakefield/CRESCO Real Estate