How to market a challenging property

Step one — don’t despair. 

We know it can feel like the cards are stacked against you, but even in today’s volatile marketplace, selling a challenging property is possible. It just might take some time, elbow grease, and smart marketing. Here are five things to consider when you’re trying to market a challenging property.

Challenge your own perceptions

Ask yourself why you think this property is a challenge. While you shouldn’t flat-out ignore the potential weaknesses of a listing, it’s important to remember that today’s commercial real estate buyers aren’t looking for cookie-cutter properties. Diversity in buyers’ business plans, overall budgets, investment strategies, and even individual skill sets or connections all play into purchase decisions. So even though your property’s layout, location, or aesthetics may not work for you anymore, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a buyer out there.

Boost curb appeal

But we know that it takes much more than a Pollyanna attitude to move a property. First impressions are still essential. 

“In a lot of ways, you can think of boosting curb appeal as similar to residential real estate,” said Jeffrey MacCowan, Property Marketing Specialist at NAI Mid-Michigan. “What are the ‘sizzle’ improvements you can make to appeal to a buyer?” 

Try to understand what might deter someone from purchasing your property. Sometimes, it’s a significant improvement, such as a new roof or a newly paved parking lot. Your listing agent can help you balance which improvements will improve your ROI while helping you efficiently manage costs. But boosting curb appeal can also be as simple as a coat of paint and some simple landscaping.

“We market listings first and foremost with exterior property photography, so it’s essential to ensure the exterior is well-maintained,” MacCowan said.

Take a closer look at zoning

Another way to reframe a challenging property is to rezone or find creative ways to introduce alternative uses within your zoning requirements. 

“When specific types of assets, like office and retail, are a bit volatile, you have to come up with creative ways to fill those spaces or attract outside-the-box tenants or owners,” MacCowan said. “That’s not to say it’s impossible, it just takes a little more time and effort and a vision that you can pitch to the owner and the municipality.”

Consider whether a traditional retail space could be used for a service-focused industry or whether an old office building could be transformed into an apartment complex or mixed-use property. Then, investigate whether those options fit with your local zoning requirements. Rezoning opens up new doors for potential buyers, so it’s always worth a try when you’re trying to sell a challenging property.

Use strategic marketing

One of the best marketing investments for a challenging commercial property is quality photography. This is not the time to “phone it in.” Well-lit, well-framed, professional images can help highlight your property’s strengths. Including multiple images, a dozen or more can keep potential buyers clicking, boosting the odds that your property will make an impression on them. 

“Drone photography especially can quickly add an element of ‘wow’ to a listing,” MacCowan said. “It’s not typically done, so it can give potential buyers a new perspective on your property. Drone footage can also be used to provide impactful interior walkthroughs of a space.”

In addition to beefing up the visuals of your listing, work with a partner who can provide an effective strategy for disseminating the info. NAI Mid-Michigan uses a combination of digital and traditional marketing strategies for our clients. Our online listings are marketed through nationwide listing services and our own in-house digital marketing strategies. This approach helps us ensure our client’s listings are highly discoverable to various local buyers. 

“We are constantly evolving in terms of digital marketing,” MacCowan said. “We are continuously examining trends and determining where to strategically spend our ad budgets to boost ROI and improve cost per lead, ultimately for the benefit of our organization and our clients.”

Work with the experts

Partnering with a commercial real estate expert can help you find creative solutions when it comes to selling a challenging property. 

“Our advisors are some of the most experienced real estate people out there,” MacCowan said. “Most have been doing it for decades. They’ve overseen a multitude of transactions. Sold millions in real estate. This is not their first rodeo.” 

Our experienced listing agents will keep you focused on the strengths of the property, help you anticipate the desires and needs of potential buyers, and provide advice for how to strategically invest your time and resources throughout the selling process. Contact us today to find out how we can help you sell your commercial property. We’re NAI Mid-Michigan, your best choice for commercial real estate services.

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NAI Mid-Michigan

Comprised of more than 30 real estate professionals, NAI Mid-Michigan is the best choice in commercial real estate firms in Mid-Michigan delivering clients a formidable package of office, retail, industrial, land and multi-family services and a direct pipeline to the area’s largest inventory of commercial property. NAI Mid-Michigan provides brokerage, investment properties, development and construction, property management, corporate and institutional services and property valuations supported by in-depth market intelligence. NAI’s global network is the single largest, most powerful owner-operated commercial real estate brokerage firm in the world. Located in 36 countries, with more than 375 offices and over $20 billion in commercial real estate transactions annually we’re all actively managed to perform for you.

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