How to reduce your commercial vacancy rate

By Greg Bell

When a good tenant notifies you, their landlord, that they plan to leave, it's easy to feel sunk by disappointment and fear of lost income. But if you buoy your spirits by remembering there are clear and concrete steps you can take to accelerate the process of finding a new tenant, your commercial space will be occupied and thriving again soon.

Clean-up time
After a good tenant departs, channel any frustration into cleaning up your property. You want it to be in such great condition that prospective tenants will be clamouring to sign a lease with you.

This is a great moment to have your space deep cleaned. It's also an opportunity make nagging repairs without inconveniencing a tenant. You'll want to address both known repairs and take the time to spend time in the space yourself noticing any issues.

After your space is fully in shape, it's time to freshen things up with a new coat of paint or any other upgrades that might help lure tenants. Perhaps you need to swap out fixtures in bathrooms or upgrade other amenities. This is the moment to do it — and watch as your prospective new tenants envision their future commercial success there.

Check comparable listings
Especially if your previous tenant was in your space for a long time, you might want to invest some time into a little market research. What are the prevailing rates in spaces like yours around your neighbourhood? Have prices risen or gone down?

You will want to make sure you price your space to be competitive. Otherwise, it's too easy to lose out on good tenants who will choose less expensive similar properties nearby.

Lure tenants with discounts
Particularly if your space has been vacant for a while, you can incentivise tenants with discounts. The concept of a sale motivates all of us to choose one property over another. This discount could be in the form of a percentage reduction in the first month's rent, a lesser discount spread over the initial three month's worth of rent or even an offer to pay utilities for a period of time.

Particularly if the commercial real estate landscape in your area is competitive, discounts can make the difference.

Plan to do better
As you advertise your vacancy and go about preparing your space for new occupants, it's also useful to take a moment and reflect on ways to keep tenants in place. Ask yourself: Did you make life easy for the previous tenants? Were repairs handled in a timely manner? Was the collection of the rent handled as seamlessly as possible? Did you take time to get to know the tenants and some of their pain points, forging a real relationship with them?

As you answer these and other questions that come to mind, make concrete action plans to do things better this time. Is your rental contract fair? What will your onboarding process for the new tenant look like, and how will you create opportunities to make sure they're happy in your space?

Putting plans in place to keep good tenants happily in place as long as possible is a key way to protect your investment. 

Another smart step when you're considering how to maximise the benefit of owning a commercial property is to consult with a professional who can assist you. All of us at Ray White Surfers Paradise work to boost our clients' return on their initial investment, and we can do the same for you. Get in touch today to learn more about how we can assist.

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