The pandemic has been hard on commercial real estate investors. With many companies now working remotely, large swaths of commercial buildings and office spaces have been left empty. In some cases, tenants have decided not to come back for good.
Obviously, that's a big threat to business. It means less in rents, and if vacancies are rampant in the area, it could equal declining property values, too.
Fortunately, the pandemic won't last forever. Want to be sure you're poised for huge growth once tenants start coming back? Just need to make up those losses in the meantime? These four strategies can help.
Make your building healthier
The earlier tenants can come back safely, the better. To enable this, consider installing an air purifier to slow the spread of airborne viruses, and think about adding some antimicrobial LED lights, touchless faucets and switches, and motion-sensor doors to reduce shared surfaces. You can also create smaller, more private work areas to enable better social distancing.
Improve its energy efficiency
A great way to reduce your losses? That's to save money elsewhere -- and your energy bills are a good place to start. To kick things off, get a professional energy audit. The auditor will assess your property, identify any energy hogs, and help you hone in on ways you can improve your building's efficiency. It might mean planting more shade trees, installing new windows, tinting, or shades, or even upgrading your toilets to lower-flow options.
The nice benefit here? You don't have to wait until post-pandemic to start enjoying the savings.
Add some new amenities
When tenants are ready to come back to the market, you can expect some stiff competition -- especially if you're in a big metro area. To make sure you stand out, take some time to update your amenities. Could you install a bike rack? Package lockers? A dining or fitness area? You might even survey your past tenants to see what they'd recommend.
Update your tech
Technology can be a big selling point for many businesses. You might think about upgrading your Wi-Fi and cable connectivity, installing smart technology that can ease access or security for tenants, or migrating all your property management tasks to an app-based program. These can make it easier for tenants to pay rent, put in work orders, pick up packages, etc.
Work on your exit strategy, too
At the end of the day, there's no telling how long the pandemic might drag on. So if your losses are mounting, it's time to start thinking of a potential exit strategy. Could you sell the property? What about turning it into residential units? Could you move your own business into the building and sell another one of your holdings instead?
Consult a local real estate agent if you're not sure what to do. They'll have a pulse on the local market and can guide you on the best ways to minimize losses in your specific case.