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A fresh, clean building will be attractive to tenants and help generate rental income

The reason for owning commercial property is to make money but this won’t happen if you have frequent vacancies, says Leon Breytenbach, national manager of Rawson Property Group’s commercial division.

However, there are inexpensive quick fixes which could make a commercial property more desirable to prospective tenants. To do this, Breytenbach advises: 

Be area-aware: “Look critically at your property, then look at other properties nearby and ask yourself some questions.” Are the surrounding buildings smart and upmarket, while yours is dull and dowdy? What makes them stand out? Are the pavements neatly maintained? Are the fences, roofs, guttering etc in good repair?

Smarten up: Painting buildings and fences will make an immediate improvement. The building colour should appeal, so keep colours attractive yet muted; be inviting, yet professional. “Outdoor patios or recreation areas will look inviting with the addition of a few architectural plants growing in planters or nearby beds.” An area for waste and recycling should be accessible and tidy, but preferably out of sight. Staircases, fire escapes, fire equipment, emergency signage and air conditioning units should be in good repair. 

Roofs, guttering and windows: Untidy, peeling or damaged fascia boards, broken tiles, and dangling downpipes make the place look unkemptWindows should be clean, with no broken panes or damaged window frames.

Welcoming reception area: Planters with flowers at the entrance will add a welcoming note. “If the building is vacant, make the reception area appear light and bright by switching on interior lights and opening blinds.” Permanent items of furniture, such as a reception desk, should be clean and tidy.

Clean, clean, clean: As with the exterior, make sure floors, walls and ceilings are spotlessly clean. “Spider webs and dust-bunnies will deter the keenest client. “If the walls are seriously marked and grubby, a fresh coat of paint in a neutral shade will solve the problem. Kitchens and toilets must be even cleaner, smelling fresh and hygienic; no blocked drains or grubby sinks. Mirrors should gleam, as should all chrome fixtures.”

Lighting: Be sure all overhead lights are working. Switch on the lights, open the blinds, and if the weather allows, open windows too. Natural fresh air and daylight beat piped air and electric lighting any day. “If you have a view that is less than attractive, open the blinds partially to allow light in but not enough to emphasise the view. However, if the view is spectacular, showcase it to its fullest potential; it could be a deal-clincher.”

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