Staging to Sell Your Apartment or Townhouse

Staging to Sell Your New York City Apartment or Townhouse

Home staging has come to more prominence in New York City in the last few years. With a price correction beginning in the latter half of 2016, brokers and sellers began to collaborate on more creative selling strategies. Correct pricing coupled with compelling marketing are the two key components to any strategy but staging has increasingly become an integral element of selling quickly for the highest price, if the seller is willing to make the investment.

I certainly have a lot of anecdotal evidence of this through my relationships in the brokerage community and there isn’t a lot of real data on the topic, but according to The National Association of Realtors (NAR), the value of home staging is clear. You can read the full report HERE.

A few important takeaways:

  • 39% of seller’s agents said that staging a home decreases the time it is on the market.
  • When staging, 29% of seller’s agents reported an increase of 1-5%, compared to other homes on the market, while 21% reported a rise of 6-10%.
  • 49% of buyer’s agents say that home staging affected most buyer’s view of the home.
  • The most important room to stage was the living room (55%), followed by the master bedroom (51%) and the kitchen (41%).
  • If you’re in a hurry to sell or looking for ways to increase your home’s value, then a small investment in home staging could be just what your property needs to find a buyer.

It’s important that the home appeal to a broader audience of people as possible, which means knowing what the buyer’s market needs. This usually means a more transitional or modern/minimalist approach, but that can change depending on neighborhood, type of building, layout of the space and target buyer. Both your broker and stager can advise you on how to make your property appeal to the highest percentage of buyers.

Each room should be laid out to emphasize how it can be lived in and enjoyed while showcasing the design possibilities. The key is to entice the buyers’ imagination and make them feel like it could be their own home.

Virtual staging is always an option and can work for some listings, but again, it really depends on the size, price point and target buyer. While it is certainly a more economical solution, the reality is that while many buyers love the look of virtually staged photos, they can be very turned off when they see the space in person and it looks absolutely nothing like the marketing photos.

Other Necessary Tasks Before Staging (or not) and Listing:

Declutter, I beg of you.

Digging deep to find your inner Marie Kondo and finding a place for your decorative and sentimental items can be time consuming but worth it. A storage unit is a great solution. Trying to hide things can backfire as buyers often look in closets and cabinets. Too much clutter also distracts buyers and makes rooms seem smaller. Store or purge everything that doesn’t serve a purpose or add to the overall aesthetic you’re trying to achieve for buyers. Seasonal decor and family photos are also discouraged as they are highly personal. The key is to neutralize each room and emphasize its functionality. The final look should be organized yet comfortable and welcoming.

Again, the ultimate goal of home staging and/or neutralizing the property is to encourage buyers to envision themselves living in the home which can spur the emotional reaction that results in making an offer. Decluttering and omitting personal items aids in achieving that.

Deep Clean, enough said.

Make sure all appliances and surfaces are spotless and dust free; tubs and showers cleaned and grout is mildew free. It’s worth hiring a professional to hit every corner and nook.

Manage Pet Smells. You might not be able to smell them, but everyone else can.

Living in a pet-friendly building is often considered an amenity to dog and cat owners, but buyers don’t want to smell anything unfamiliar or off putting upon entry. Subtle air fresheners, candles, and home fragrances are always good aids along with regular cleaning and vacuuming. Letting fresh air in through an open window can also help.

Optimize Lighting. Let the Vitamin D in.

Make as much use of natural light as possible. Window treatments and blinds should be left open and supplemental light added in dim areas. Organize the layout of each room in line with the lighting so the best features are highlighted.

Consider the Floors. Even parquet can be pretty.

Floors are crucial in the sale of any property. Hardwood floors in various designs are common in New York City apartments and also highly valued. Parquet floors are also common and unfortunately considered a bit old fashioned but can look very nice with the right stain and finish. Large, neutral area rugs can also detract from old, worn or outdated flooring and even make rooms appear larger. If there is any noticeable damage, consider replacing, restoring or refinishing or buyers will factor the cost of that work into their offer.

Fresh Paint. That trendy shade of teal you picked eight years ago is no longer on trend.

A fresh coat of neutral paint, preferably a shade of white such as Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White or White Dove, can work wonders. Touch up walls, baseboards, doors, trim, and ceilings as needed.

Fresh Flowers, Fruits or Plants. Add a little life to the space.

Flowers breathe life into any room. Orchids are a fool proof option. A bowl of fruit in the kitchen in always a nice touch as well.

Pleasant Scents make cents. See what I did there?

A subtle looking diffuser with essential oils or room spray, chic candles in every room along with pretty bottles of hand soap in the bathrooms are small touches that do not go unnoticed. Attention to these little details can go a long way.

Prices for staging vary between $5,000 – $100,000 or more, depending on staging company, scope of the job and property size. You want to emphasize the home’s best features while appealing to the broadest range of buyers, which results in a higher price and faster sale.

Reach out to me if you are thinking of selling and feel staging makes sense for your home. I can connect you to the best in the business for every budget!

*All photos are from our staged townhouse listing at 310 West 88th Street!

About the author: Alexis Godley

New York City Real Estate

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