by Cliff Ford
Now and then I get the privilege of touring properties with other potential buyers and have often heard an expression used to describe buildings that would make an owner cringe. Whenever a building is not nearly reaching its potential esthetically, a potential buyer will refer to the property as a “dog”.
In the spirit of the younger generation, I am going to address these types of properties with a little bit of English slang. We will look at ways to avoid what I call the “DAWG factor”. Whether you are looking to improve tenant retention or are considering selling your property in the coming months, focusing on these four key areas will allow the value of your property to shine through and avoid them becoming the easy distraction.
“D” is for Dirty
Nothing puts off a potential buyer or tenant quite like seeing dirty common areas in a building. Just as in residential properties, curb appeal (both indoors and out) plays an important role in a person’s decision making process. When you are showing your property to people, ensure that your common areas give the impression that the building is cared for. You would be surprised how many buildings do not take the time to do the simple things.
Taking the Dirty factor out of your property can be as simple as:
- Cleaning the dead bugs out of light fixtures
- Dusting ledges, handrails, and the tops of radiators
- Organizing the laundry and utility areas
Not only are these items easy fixes, but they can play a significant part in obtaining an offer on your property or securing that new tenant.
“A” is for Aged
Potential buyers and tenants both have critical eyes when viewing your property for the first time. One of the tell-tale signs that a building is being neglected is by the age of the property - or at least the age it appears to be due to its condition. Whether the building’s age is 10 years old or 60 years old is irrelevant, the impression of age is what you want to consider.
Simple things can be done to improve the appearance of age at your property:
- Replace older equipment (utilities, intercoms, mailboxes) to give a modern-day impression
- Upgrade suites to remove dated styles and furnishings
- Common areas should be painted using neutral, timeless colours rather than whatever the hot trend colour is of the day.
“W” is for Weathered
There is nothing we can do to stop the external weather conditions from changing the appearance of our buildings, however regular maintenance and cleaning can show a viewer of your property that it is indeed looked after. When a building appears to be neglected, it devalues the property in the mind of the viewer.
To remove the weathered factor in your property, why not:
- Clean your exterior windows regularly to remove moisture stains and grit from outdoors
- Clean the exterior facing with a power washer regularly to remove weather stains on bricks or siding
- Perform regular maintenance and inspection on your roofing system to ensure it looks and performs to its optimal level. During a property showing, this can be one of the key differences between generating an offer or not.
“G” is for Garbage
The waste management areas of your property can speak volumes to potential tenants or buyers because it reveals a lot about your management and tenant base. It may not be easy to enforce proper placement of garbage as it relates to your tenants, but it is easy to introduce standards that your on-site supervision and management team can implement - setting the example for the tenants. Often, when the building is maintained well, the tenants respect their homes more and will continue to uphold the standards personally.
To improve the impression your waste management gives about your building, consider:
- Organizing your waste disposal area for convenience and proper sorting. Rule of thumb: If it’s inconvenient for the tenant, they won’t adhere to the rule.
- Provide clear signage indicating how to dispose of waste in your building.
- Implement regular spot checks of common waste disposal areas and garbage chutes. Keeping it clean will encourage the tenants to do likewise, not to mention discouraging unwanted pests.
While some may argue that the appearance of a building plays only a little role in determining its value on paper, we cannot deny the human element that can easily be distracted by the visuals it sees. If your building is plagued by the “DAWG Factor” consider implementing some of these simple steps to bring out the true potential to that future tenant or purchaser.