How to Spruce Up Your Old Office Building When It’s Time to Sell


Whether your business is expanding, closing or you’re just in need of a new space, sometimes it’s necessary to seek out a new office building. When that happens, you need to figure out how to sell your old office building.

But take a look at your office building for a minute or two. After all, you pull in the parking lot every day, walk through the doors and spend the day in your office. Have you taken a look lately? Have you noticed the chipped paint and worn-down look of some parts of the building? Have you noticed that the yard around the building is in need of some landscaping? Does the inside of the office building look dated?

You make think some of those features are endearing and give your office character, but if you’re moving out of this building and trying to sell it, some of these things can be real turn-offs for potential buyers. If they buy a building, it’s likely that they want something that looks pristine and says “This is a great place where my company can do business.”

So what can you do to spruce up your office building when it’s time to sell it? In fact, there many simple steps you can take to give your building a makeover and make it look good as new. It may seem like an impossible task at first, but you may surprise yourself by just how much you can make a weathered building look like a shiny new one.

Do some outside maintenance

It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of an office building, what a potential buyer sees can go a long way toward forming the impression he or she makes about your property.

It’s important to remember that curb appeal is king. That means you’re likely going to do some sprucing up outside and really make your property look like a must-have piece of real estate.

Maybe that means hiring the best tree removal company you can find to get rid of dead plants and trees. Maybe that means hiring a general landscaping company to plant some new grass seed around the property (if you’ve got brown patches) or planting some flowers around the front of the building.

That might also include trimming and pruning of bushes and branches to really transform the outside of your building. You can also hire commercial painters to come and coat your office building with a fresh coat of paint to really give it a brand-new look. Don’t forget about the foundation either. You can talk to foundation contractors about issues such as erosion control to make sure the building’s foundation is sound.

If a potential buyer is driving by and sees the hard work you’ve put in to sprucing up the outside of your building, at the very least they’ll be tempted to stop and ask more questions about the office building.

Freshen up the office interior

Now that you’ve enticing a potential buyer to come inside and check out your building, you need to wow them. If they’re intrigued by the outside of the office, you need to wow them just as much on the inside. You can do that by updating the décor of the office and making it look fresh.

One way you can spruce up the office, is to change the color scheme. If the office walls have been gray and bare for a long time, the right color scheme can make the office look like a totally different place. Depending on the business, you can use saturated colors such as red and green if you’re looking to go with an academic or business look. If your company is more on the creative side, don’t be afraid to look for colors that pop. You can use murals and accent walls to really show off that creativity.

You can also change things up rearranging the furniture. This is a low-cost move that may just open the space while also encouraging collaboration and teamwork. If your office is full of cubicles, try eliminating some of those walls for a more open environment, which will make the space seem a little bigger to a prospective buyer.

Rearranging furniture is one idea, but updating and investing in new furniture is another. Why should you do this? Modern furniture is designed to be more comfortable and inviting than traditional furniture. This is important because it can convey a sense of ease and comfort that anyone who enters the office can pick up on, rather than feeling uncomfortable while being surrounded by cold, sterile, hard furniture.

As you redo office décor to prep the building for selling, you can certainly hire the services of a remodeling contractor. But you can also ask fellow employees for help. Your employees are right there with you every day in the building and they might have some great ideas about customizing work areas, taking down office walls and really making the office space feel like an inviting space.

If you really want to make the office look nice and polished, a good tip is to incorporate Mother Nature. By adding plants, sunlight and other natural elements, you can take yet another step in making the office look like an inviting place to be.

Don’t forget about safety

As you spruce up your office building ahead of a sale, one of the most important things you can do is to make sure the building is safe. This can be done in several steps.

To start with, make sure to do a fire alarm inspection. All buildings have to have a fire alarm system, but you need to make sure they work. So test the office smoke alarms at least once a month and make sure to do fire alarm tests with everyone present so you know that everyone can hear the alarms should they go off.

Along those same lines, you need to make sure that all of the building’s emergency escape routes are still accessible. If it’s been awhile since those routes were checked, check them now to make sure they aren’t obstructed by boxes or tables or chairs. The last thing you want is to be trapped should an emergency situation occur. If you need help identifying the routes and educating employees, check with local fire protection companies to come in and help.

As so much of the way companies do business these days is driven by technology, another big safety tip to check all the of the building’s electronics. If you’re moving to another building, you’re likely going to take some of your equipment with you. But for all the things you might leave—phones, lamps, printers, etc—you need to check equipment and eliminate all faulty equipment and wiring from the building. Whether you know it or not, electrical equipment is one of the greatest risks to fire safety.

You might also want to talk to potential buyers about employee safety. If you’re moving into another building, you can advise a potential buyer about local urgent care clinics, hospitals, dentists offices, even the best orthodontist offices. If a new buyer is setting up a new business in your old building, any tips or information you can provide, especially when it comes to safety and employee health, will be welcomed.

Show off the special features

Does your old office building have a sizeable backroom to receive shipments that come in on wood pallets? Does your building have its own printing press for printing flyers, brochures and coupons (something that 69% of U.S. consumers say they “frequently” use according to CMS)? Does your business have room for holding extra materials such as metal and plastic for manufacturing?

If your office building has special features such as a back room, don’t be afraid to show those off. You never know; a new business might be looking for a big space to store wood pallets Florida or store materials ordered from industrial plastic distributors. If the idea is to really wow potential buyers, you can do so by having something extra to offer.

Let’s say for example that a new manufacturing company is looking to open up shop in your town. If the company is looking for a new building and you can offer them everything they want in terms of décor and space, you might just be able to sell the building a lot sooner than you anticipated.

Develop a pricing strategy

While you can do just about anything to the inside and outside of an office building to make it attractive to potential buyers, you also need to think about pricing. After all, the endgame for sprucing up a building and putting it up for sale is to sell it.

But where do you start? One of the best things you can do is to look at properties in the neighborhood of yours. Look at how big those properties are, what they might have sold for and when they were sold. Finding this information can sometimes be easier said than done, but it never hurts to look.

If that doesn’t work, it might not hurt to check out the competition. If there are companies that do exactly what you do, check and see what they might be offering. Check out their amenities, their locations and their lease rates are.

Keep in mind that while a buyer might like what they see inside and outside of a building, they might also be driven by whether or not that building can generate money. This is known as the capitalization rate (CAP), which is the rate of return that calculates the amount a company invests in a property versus what the annual income of a property is. For example, if a property is purchase for $1 million and a company earns about $100,000 a year, the CAP rate is 10%.

As you come up with a pricing strategy, it might help to consider the point-of-view of a potential buyer. That means having the most up-to-date information available and getting an inside track on what a buyer’s preferences may be. Are they looking to just lease the building? Is this going to be a property they buy and make improvements to?

Above all, as you negotiate the best thing you can is just be honest with a buyer. Highlight all that’s good about your building and your property, but don’t try to feed them information that’s dishonest or misleading. Tell them everything they want to know, everything they need to know and anticipate some of the obvious questions they’re going to ask.

In summary

It may seem like getting an old office building ready for sale is a tall order, but it’s only going to be as hard as you make it. By taking time to spruce up the outside of the building, either by applying fresh paint, doing some landscaping or planting some flowers, you can make it very pleasing to the eye. Likewise, by rearranging the furniture, opening up the space or investing in new equipment inside, you can create a comforting space.

Not to be forgotten, be sure to check the building’s fire alarm system and all other safety measures. When you’re putting your property up for sale, you want to make sure it’s in tiptop shape where safety is considered. You can also take time to highlight any special features your building has such as backrooms or special equipment.

All the cleaning up and safety checks and highlighting will enable you to set a fair price point for prospective buyers to consider. Remember: it’s all about being honest with a potential buyer while also wowing them with what you have to offer. By doing that, you’ll entice a buyer to purchase the property and you can feel confident that they’ll be satisfied with their purchase

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