Flipping Commercial Landscapes to Raise Property Values & First Impressions - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Flipping Commercial Landscapes to Raise Property Values & First Impressions

By Missy Henriksen

In recent years, the trend of home flipping has taken off. Flippers invest in inexpensive homes, making the necessary renovations and quickly reselling. The time between purchase and sale of a flipped home is often less than a year. After surveying members on industry trends, NALP found the concept of “flipping” is moving to commercial landscapes as well. And, the focus is on the outdoors.

Commercial property managers are investing in office buildings and flipping them by working with landscape professionals to incorporate beautiful landscape designs. This makes the property more desirable for potential tenants, customers or clients. Landscape contractors play an important role in the “flip” as landscaping is one of the first things potential tenants see. Improving the property’s landscape is a great way to make a good first impression, especially if you aren’t quite ready to take on a full-scale flipping project inside.

Photo courtesy of Clean Scapes, an NALP member

Commercial landscape flipping is a bit different from home flipping in that the end goal may not be to resell the property. Instead, a flipped commercial landscape can attract potential tenants or customers to a property that may have otherwise appeared outdated or rundown due to a poorly-maintained landscape.

Commercial landscape flipping can improve a property’s bottom line. According to The University of Washington’s Urban Forestry Research, commercial spaces with high-quality landscapes saw 7 percent higher rental rates than those without. Shoppers indicated they will travel further to a commercial area with a well-maintained landscape and spend more time there once they arrive.

Flipping Commercial Landscapes: Invest in a Property

Property managers interested in flipping the landscapes of commercial properties should choose inexpensive properties in desirable areas. Areas with rising real estate sales and employment growth are typically indications of up-and-coming neighborhoods.

Curb appeal is important to potential tenants of all commercial property types in any neighborhood. A well-crafted landscape will make a commercial property stand out and bring property managers a higher return on investment.

Flipping Commercial Landscapes: Partner with a Professional

Photo courtesy of Clean Scapes, an NALP member

After a property manager makes an investment into a property, partnering with a landscape professional is the best way to begin the landscape flipping process. Ivan Giraldo, co-owner of Clean Scapes in Austin, Texas, says the first step is to determine the usage of the area. Will the flipped landscape be for aesthetic purposes only? Or will it serve a functional purpose, with added seating areas, for instance? Giraldo advises property managers to be open and honest with landscape professionals about the goals of the flipped commercial landscape. This helps maximize efficiencies and functionality of space enhancements.

A professional can help determine the property goals and design a landscape that will support these goals, while working within a budget.

Flipping Commercial Landscapes: Improve Entrances, Plant Trees

Photo courtesy of Clean Scapes, an NALP member

A simple way to add value to a commercial property is to create a welcoming landscape design at the entrance. The entrance is the first thing potential tenants, clients and customers see. Drawing attention to it with well-maintained flowers, trees and shrubs creates a positive first impression. Adding decorative hardscaping, such as brick or stone walkways leading to the entrance can add function and improve overall appearance. Giraldo recommends focusing flipping efforts on enhancing the landscape surrounding a property’s main entrance to increase curb appeal.

You can also significantly increase the value of a commercial property by adding trees, which add aesthetic beauty and function. For example, trees provide shade, which can cool building temperatures by as much as 40 degrees. Trees can also help reduce noise and even improve overall satisfaction of tenants and customers.

Henriksen is vice president of public affairs for NALP.