Chances are you’re familiar with old, abandoned
buildings – hopefully not because one is in your
portfolio, but perhaps there’s one in your neighborhood. The roof is caving. It’s infested with rodents. Debris litters the lot. You probably wonder how the property came to be in its present state and why the owner isn’t keeping it in better shape. It’s at this point that onlookers may call the city and make a formal complaint.
When a property of yours becomes unoccupied, keep your eye on it or risk it becoming an eyesore or worse. Maintenance and preservation techniques prevent vandalism, physical deterioration, and citation from local authorities.
However, the troubling truth is that owners aren’t familiar with best practices for maintaining vacant properties. From whom to notify and which inspections to perform, owners feel as hopeless and abandoned as the building itself.
“Maintaining a vacant property can be an unpleasant full-time job,” says Marc Insul, president of Commercial Asset Preservation (CAP), a firm that maintains and oversees vacant properties. “But doing so is a necessary task any owner or lender of commercial property needs to consider if they want to preserve equity while preparing the property for its next use.”
Take the following steps to ensure your vacant property is valued, not vilified.
1.) Make a Plan for Your Property
Even before the site becomes vacant, it’s important to develop a plan for the troubled property, Insul says. Prepping a restaurant for demolition is a lot different than holding a corporate office in storage for it to be repurposed sometime down the road.
“Then, when your property does vacate, you will have a go-to list of steps and resources that will enable you to be nimble and efficient,” he adds.
Identify a goal for your property. Do you want to sell, lease, or adapt and reuse it? “There are many factors that go into the decision, and ultimately, how you approach your vacant property is dependent on the end result you desire,” says Insul. “Financially, you are likely to make
different decisions depending on how long you plan to hold the property.”
Once you have an end goal in mind, the other steps begin falling into place.