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What is staging?

The Isil Yildiz Team staged this listing for a studio which received an offer after the very first open house. For larger projects, we have a roster of top stagers that we can help you engage.

A few months ago, we sent out a newsletter with design tips — how to spruce up your apartment and prepare it for sale. However, one thing we didn’t cover was what to do when you have an empty apartment. Empty apartments, no matter how visually appealing, force potential buyers to use their imagination to come to a reasoned conclusion, rather than just react with emotion at the onset. While most of us think we are logical beings, the truth is emotion plays a huge role in many of the decisions we make, especially with something as personal as buying a home. Logic can re-affirm these emotional reactions, and presenting a beautiful “home” rather than an empty space can be a powerful marketing tool in selling a home. For empty apartments, this can mean full-scale (placement of actual furniture and decor) or virtual (digitally added) staging.

Full-scale staging can be expensive and is usually reserved for larger, more expensive properties where the return on investment makes sense. For example, a townhouse or 3-bedroom apartment may cost $15-$30K to stage for the duration of the listing, but this expense can be more than justified if it shaves a few months off the listing time or results in even a 2% higher price. For smaller apartments, even a minimal investment in staging can help prospective buyers get a better sense of scale since people tend to underestimate the size of an empty apartment. I’ve seen many people point to a 10+ foot wall and claim their couch wouldn’t fit, when in reality, it would, with room to spare.

In my experience, different stagers can produce drastically different results, and some agents are able to do a spectacular job on their own or can recommend boutique stagers or designers to create a truly unique and stunning apartment. I find that the larger, more commonly-used staging companies in the market produce results that look a little “cookie-cutter” (think the items the Ramada Inn got rid of during their latest renovation).

With effective and high level virtual staging, the Isil Yildiz Team difference captures what made this property unique, and helps bring the empty space to light. The listing sold at-ask with an offer after the first open house.

A more cost-effective option, and one we employ for many apartments and rentals, is virtual staging. Virtual staging cuts out the cost and hassle of full-scale staging by using advanced software to place items into the space digitally. Want an Eames chair in the living room and an antique mirror in the bathroom? No problem. Virtual staging can certainly transform a space, but again, there are huge differences between the good and bad. Bad virtual staging is quite obvious — e.g., no shadows created by the furniture — and looks like stickers on an image. Good virtual stagers pay attention to the smallest details; they understand the angles created by light and can simulate creases to drape blankets and linens realistically. While it is not quite the same as being in a space that is actually decorated to the nines, the first impression of the property — viewing the listing online — gives the buyer a glimpse into its potential, provides a sense of scale, and captures the imagination.

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