All buildings smell. They have their own scents, even if there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them. It certainly doesn’t increase the chances of selling or renting a commercial building to greet tenants or buyers with a strange smell when they check out your Florida Keys commercial building though. So, you need to figure out whether there is a genuine problem in the building or if the weird smell comes from a lack of air circulation from sitting empty.
If you can’t locate an origin for the smell, you might just be battling the typical stale smell of a lack of air circulation. Check the HVAC system to make sure the filter is fresh and new. The longer the building sits empty, the more noticeable this scent will be. Thankfully, there are ways to fight this smell. Virtually none of them should include adding a fragrance to cover the scent up though. Your potential renters and buyers will see through this in a hot second. That’s not to say that you should never use air fresheners, this is only to say that covering up an issue will get called out.
First of all, deep cleaning your building can make a world of difference and should be done regularly, even if it’s been sitting empty. Dust will still settle and it will still need to be cleaned, even if no one is in the building. Hire a professional cleaner to mop floors, wash windows, clean toilets and wipe down surfaces weekly if you can afford it, just as you would hire someone to maintain the lawn. Cleaning with original Pine-sol gives the noticeable clean smell and the pine oil in the product will actually continue to kill surface bacteria for some time.
While your professional cleaners are cleaning, give instructions to open any windows and air the place out. Let them know that you’re not interested in perfuming the area. If your commercial building’s windows don’t open, turn on the air conditioning until to a reasonable temperature to get the air moving.
You can absorb odors a couple of ways. You can leave an open box of baking soda in rooms, cabinets and the refrigerator after you have cleaned the area for starters. If the place has excess moisture in the air, you can purchase or rent a dehumidifier to fix the issue. You could also purchase a product called DampRid, but that isn’t a product you’d want to use all the time. It works better if you are fighting the lingering smell after a bunch of rain or a leak that you have repaired.
You can also purchase box fans and leave them running. This will help keep air moving. Stop in every few days to run the water so that stagnant water isn’t in the pipes and flush and clean the toilets too. Sometimes, sinks are left off for so long that the traps beneath them actually dry up. This can cause sewer gases to escape out! If that’s your culprit, the fix is as easy as remembering to run the water occasionally. This is also a good time to check out the building to make sure there are no issues. After all, if the building is vacant, there will be no one there to notice a problem.
If you must use an air freshener, avoid the artificial fragrances. They scream cover-up and do no actual benefit. If your commercial building really needs to freshen up quickly, use an air freshener that’s natural that can actually fight germs, mold and more. Get one pint of water and add one tablespoon of white vinegar and one ounce of mint, pine, orange or lemon essential oil. Mix these ingredients together and add them to a spray bottler. Then, lightly mist the room, including in cabinets and closets. This will actually help stop the odor, not just mask it.
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RE/MAX Keys Connection’s owner and broker Curtis Skomp is one of South Florida’s top commercial real estate brokers. With over two decades of experience and a CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation, Curtis has brokered commercial real estate including industrial properties, shopping centers, strip malls, trailer parks, bars, restaurants, hotels and multi-unit apartment buildings. Unlike many brokers, Curtis isn’t intimidated by bank foreclosures either.
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