By Missy Henriksen
In recent years, the trend of home flipping has taken off. From television shows to the real estate market, flipped homes are popping up everywhere. Flippers are investing 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.
This year, after surveying members on industry trends, the National Association of Landscape Professionals found that the concept of “flipping” is moving to the outdoors and to commercial spaces as well. Commercial property managers are investing in office buildings and flipping them by working with a landscape professional to incorporate beautiful landscape designs, making 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, so improving the landscape of a property 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.
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flipped commercial landscape can attract potential tenants or customers to a property that may have otherwise appeared outdated or rundown due to a poorly-maintained landscape.
This fixer-upper inspired solution is perfect for a startup or smaller-scale company that may not be able to afford a brand-new building, but still wants their office space to be updated, attractive and well-maintained. Not to mention — commercial landscape flipping can drastically improve a property’s bottom line. According to The University of Washington’s Urban Forestry Research, commercial spaces with high-quality landscapes saw 7% 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.
Invest in a property
If you are interested in flipping the landscape of a commercial property, the first step is to research available properties in need of a landscape refresh. The general recommendation is to choose the most inexpensive property in a desirable area. Areas with rising real estate sales and employment growth are typically indications of an up-and-coming neighborhood. Depending on what type of property you are looking for, it’s also important to ensure there is plenty of parking.
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.
Partner with a professional
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, TX, says the first step of flipping is to determine the usage of the area. Will your 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 so they can maximize efficiencies and functionality of space enhancements.
A professional can help you determine the goals of the property and design a landscape that will support these goals, while working within your budget.
Landscape professionals can provide a wide array of services to help improve the current state of a commercial landscape, ranging from installing irrigation systems to creating beautiful colorful flowerbeds. They can also build and install hardscape features including paver pathways, patios and retaining walls, outdoor lighting and even water features.
A professional can also work with you to create a landscape maintenance schedule to keep the landscape looking great after the flipping process is complete. Working with a landscape professional is a partnership, and a landscape contractor should be a trusted advisor and business partner throughout the process.
Improve Entrances, Plant Trees
A simple way to add incredible value to a commercial property is to create a welcoming landscape design at the building’s entrance. The entrance is the first thing potential tenants, clients, and customers see, so drawing attention to it with well-maintained flowers, trees, and shrubs creates a positive first impression. Adding decorative hardscaping, such as brick or stone walls or walkways leading to the building’s entrance can add function and improve the overall appearance of a property. 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 benefits from both their aesthetically pleasing beauty and their functions. 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. A landscape professional can set you up for success when it comes to using trees as a focal point of your flipped commercial landscape.
If you’re considering entering the commercial landscape flipping market, a landscape professional can help determine the best options for a property’s landscape and improving its bottom line. A well-maintained landscape can add 15% to 20% more in overall value and transform a commercial property.
Henriksen is vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Landscape Professionals, which represents an industry that employs nearly one million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals who create and maintain healthy green spaces for the benefit of society and the environment. Learn more by visiting LoveYourLandscape.org.