In my career working with property owners, sellers, managers, buyers and tenants one reverberating concept rings true: The power of presentation. I have seen people consider mediocre properties because of a fantastic first impression and I have seen many people walk away from an ideal potential property because it lacked curb appeal.
This applies to all areas of our lives but I can speak most knowledgably about its impact in real estate and property management. It is no secret in residential or commercial real estate that those properties that are well maintained, especially on the surface will draw more attention from potential buyers and tenants.
As professionals at Haedrich & Co. we analyze the numbers meticulously to ensure these buyers and tenants are considering comparable properties with the requested criteria, price and amenities. We specialize in the detailed research and analysis that helps our clients make the best decisions for their end use or return on investment. What we cannot always anticipate is ‘that feeling’.
In residential real estate I had the opportunity to work with an amazing local realtor, Kori Cadorin, who told her buyers that “when you walk into the right home, you will just know”. I am not insinuating this is a magical or fated process by any means, but she is right. The fact is that our brains are taking in a plethora of details through every sense that are processed more quickly and efficiently than we can consciously keep up with. I believe that the details of this sensory data ultimately produce the feeling of ‘this is the one’
One of the major portions of that data is what we can see. We take in the lighting, spatial configuration, texture, color, and cleanliness and instantly know whether we can see ourselves in the home or workspace. The savvy investor is able to deduce the same by putting themselves in a potential tenants shoes.
You may not be able to change certain aspects of the property you own or manage but you can certainly put the effort in to master the controllable. Cosmetic maintenance does make a difference, consult a professional if you are unsure what aspects of your property you will gain the most reward from improving, especially as you consider your budget. Consideration should be given to air fresheners, paint touch ups and accentuating natural lights (this may even adjust the time of day you show your property).
As we go through our daily lives we become desensitized to our environments, our possessions and our properties. In my career as a property manager I made it a point to immediately sit down after my first 15 minutes in the building and jot down every like, dislike and first impression walking through the door. The custom served a very important purpose for me. As I came to the building day after day managing operations, leasing or facilitating maintenance I became more familiar with the property and accustomed to it. Although this is not bad we forget that what ‘has always been that way’ or is not a big deal to us may stand out in a very negative way to others. This can include unkempt landscaping, worn carpet, outdated paint or signage. Items like these gradually gain wear and tear or become outdated so it is understandable that we may not notice, but your potential buyer or tenant will.
If you own a business, are trying to sell or lease a property, or just want a real opinion on your own home, I beseech you to seek out a trustworthy source that will give it to you straight and ask for an unbiased review of their first impression. You will be amazed how quickly they may notice an irrigation leak, light fixture with cobwebs, cracked drywall or an unkempt corner. As we go about our business every day our brains stop observing and critiquing and simply adapt to our environment. It is important to never forget to look at things from your consumer’s point of view. Awareness of this concept and willingness to make necessary adjustments will benefit you in business and in life.
Hopefully you can take a few minutes today and try to view your businesses, investments and properties with a fresh perspective and gain some insight into what others see.
“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” – Will Rogers
About Jessica Whitlow
Jessica is a licensed commercial real estate salesperson. She has lived in Shasta County for 13 years and has worked in Real Estate and Property Management starting in 2008 in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Redding. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her background in escrow coordination and as a property manager of 200-300 unit multifamily properties allows her to contribute to Haedrich & Co.’s real estate representations and analysis, as well as their property management portfolio. Jessica is strongly committed to providing the highest quality customer service and professional integrity to her clients.