It wasn’t just the tall cheetah print chairs, luminous red and green chandeliers strung from the ceiling, that were distracting. When apartment hunters stepped into the 5-floor studio for sale, they found a white leather upholstered bed with red and orange shimmering pillows, funky artwork and a hanging L.E.D. lamp giving off different shades of colors. Some said it reminded them of a set out of a science fiction movie.
“Some would laugh,” said one of the listing brokers for the building. This was the model apartment for a condominium conversion project, and it was not selling itself, much less helping to sell other units in the same building as it was intended to do.
“They quickly realized that it hurt more than it helped,” the broker said.
I knew it would take more than replacing towels to make buyers feel comfortable in a space where even Lady Gaga might crave beige walls and cream couches.
With help from an interior designer, he had the white wood floors stained a darker shade and installed furniture more commonly found in Manhattan apartments, like a rectangular bed. He strategically placed on the kitchen counter martini glasses, a bowl of lemons and a shaker primed for after-work cocktails and left around reading material like the Sotheby’s catalog.
“This is the where I would live: said most of the people viewing the model, and a lot of people can identify with this,” said the new management team members as the owner walked through the new model unit.
The designer’s efforts had paid off. During the real estate boom, eager buyers bought units requiring enormous imagination to picture as homes: They bought un-built condos or empty spaces with blank walls. Today, buyers are much less likely to take risks on apartments, lofts, condos and single-family homes where they cannot figure out how to fit in their sofa bed or sideboard. So, brokers have been redecorating old model units or filling unfurnished apartments by doing it themselves, which can back fire if you don’t have the eye for design (to save cash), or by doing the smart thing, hiring a interior designer.
The difference between three years ago and now is that you could have actually shown an empty apartment without much staging, the market was great, but now – we all know what is happening do I need to go any further?
For some high-end listings, the brokers will fill cabinets with fine china, not just “dishes in there from Kmart.” He has even had brokers fill closets of for-sale apartments with clothing like “Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel, and Paul Smith.”
If you’re going to hang anything in the closet, it should be a name brand that the buyer can relate to . The clothing and accessories do not go to waste, they get moved to the next condo project.
But we must remember nothing comes cheap. There is a price to pay to hire a creative designer/team to execute a amazing sexy retro to traditional styles. So hire a designer who has the vision and can turn a blank canvas into a home – ”your home.”