The ability to sell a property depends on more than just the asking price.
According to Mac Biggar, president of Hanna Commercial Real Estate in Cleveland, and Babette Kestner, real estate agent at Chestnut Hill Realty, Inc. in Beachwood, curb appeal plays a big role in how much a property is actually worth.
“Curb appeal in commercial (real estate) is very similar to residential (real estate),” Biggar said. “It is a certain feeling you get from approaching a building. It’s when you can picture yourself working and thriving there. It is a combination of the design of the building, the landscape and the overall location.”
Kestner added, “Curb appeal is the overall attractiveness of a (property). It is what entices prospective buyers to walk through the front door. Now, we have to remember that about 80% or more people are shopping online initially, so curb appeal starts there.”
Kestner said photos online should attract buyers to come and view the property. Some of the things owners should consider is lawn quality, foliage, roofing, quality of exterior pieces and a fresh coat of paint.
Curb appeal is important for many reasons, especially when it comes to an individual’s first impression of a location.
“If it is an office use, what are your customers and employees going to think?” Biggar asked. “Is it a way to improve morale? Is it a way to recruit people? The feel of the building, for employees, customers and for recruitment purposes, it makes a big difference. The values of the company need to reflect in the building and vice versa.”
For example, Biggar said his office is based in Playhouse Square. From the front door, employees and customers alike can see the Playhouse Square chandelier, easily walk the area and patronize many local restaurants. From the back of the building and in many of the office windows, people get a view of Lake Erie.
Kestner added, “I have heard clients knocking on doors (of properties) that aren’t even on the market because it was so attractive on the exterior. The exterior is just as important to a buyer as the interior. Additionally, it can give you a competitive advantage and can be seen as a marketing tool.”
Curb appeal can affect not only the opinion of a property, but also its overall value.
“People not only want to have pride in ownership of a building, but it can affect the sale price and property value,” Biggar stated. “The more curb appeal you get, the higher price you’re going to get for it.”
Kestner said curb appeal has a lot to do with value, both perceived and actual.
“It can absolutely impact a home negatively through the lens of prospective buyers,” she said. “I have had a lot of clients not want to step foot into (a property) after seeing the state of the exterior. Overall, it has a huge impact on the sales price and how many days (a property) sits on the market.”
Commercial real estate brokers can be helpful in identifying curb appeal problems and suggesting solutions.
“First thing, does the building look like its neatly kept?” Biggar questioned. “Is the landscaping done nicely? Those things make a difference. Professionals know what to look for.”
Kestner said consulting a professional is always a good idea.
“It can be hard as an owner to see the flaws in (your property),” she explained. “You have to look at it through the lens of a buyer. How does it look at night? Is there enough lighting? How can I highlight the positive attributes to make it better? Professionals can give you the objective perspective that you may need.”