How to sell condos for 200-600% of staging costs

by Neil Sharma on 05 Jan 2021

Staging a condo with the help of a professional can yield a 200-600% return on the money spent hiring them.

“It’s money well spent,” Norman Xu, head of the Norman Xu Team at Royal LePage Signature Realty, said of the $2,500-5,000 expense. “It’s very rare you don’t break even. I’ve never had that happen to me. Six-hundred percent of the staging value is also rare, but you can easily make over 200% of that money back on the sale.”

Sometimes it requires a trained eye to identify, then accentuate, the best parts of home, which can be especially challenging when the home is a condo unit because of how much it is compared to a house.

“Staging should fully demonstrate certain functions of certain areas,” said Xu. “It should highlight the best parts of the home while drawing attention away from the bad parts. It needs to make a room really functional. You want a kitchen to be warm and a washroom to be neat and tidy. Staging should make a place beautiful because beauty itself is a function.”

According to Ibtisem Hamani, founder of Home Magic Touch, a GTA-based staging company, there is much less to work with when staging a condo unit than a large house, but it’s important to know what each room represents. A unit with a den should be made into an office, she says, but if the seller has a young child, it can be staged as a bedroom.

Moreover, Hamani says that staging things in an ‘L’ shape helps open the space up and “improves the flow,” as does glass furniture.

“It’s really important to have a breakfast area, even if it’s just two chairs at a small, round glass table. If it’s round, it doesn’t crowd the space and it keeps the flow smooth, and the transparency of the glass makes the space look clear and open.”

Neutral colours are preferable, too, but if the view from the unit’s balcony is another tall tower, Hamani uses more colours inside the unit to create pleasant distractions. If the view is open and sunny, neutral colours are advised, albeit with one stronger colour.

Kitchen

Hamani says that decorations should be congruent with the room, so while a portrait photograph may belong in a living room or bedroom, it has no place inside a kitchen.

“You put whatever belongs to the space—in a kitchen, it would be some food, something green,” she said. “Elegant things, like a very nice cutting board, a salt and pepper station, and a teapot work because you always go with three elements. You don’t put too much in the kitchen. If it’s L-shaped, you put three things to extend the island. An L-shape, which involves putting an item in each corner, shows how big the space can be.”

Bedroom

For many, this is the most important room inside a home, and Hamani says that everything inside the bedroom has to be straight and uncluttered.

“The bed has to be really neat and the pillows have to contrast it, either in colour or context, but I don’t put too much colour in a bedroom. On either side of the bed, there should be bedside tables with lamps and a small decoration, like a bird. You need small things to create more emotion in that space because it’s a very unique space in the home. Most women fall in love with the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. If they love these rooms, they can force their husbands to buy the home. I’ve seen this happen many times. You need feelings of luxury and warmth.”

Hamani says that artwork placed above a lamp or end table works well, but it can ruin a headboard if placed directly on top of it.

“If the ceiling isn’t high, it accentuates how low it is,” she said. “We don’t need to show this. Instead, create balance. A cow rug in the bedroom is also a good idea if there isn't already carpet inside.”

Bathroom

The theme in this room is water. Towels can be folded or stacked, and if the latter, why not place a starfish or a seashell ornament on top?

“It creates the feeling of luxury you would feel in a five-star hotel,” said Hamani. “You could put some artwork above the toilet, or anywhere with empty space, which is typically where artwork should be placed. It should be something related to water—something green, blue or white, or something abstract. You need to put things together the right way, because instead of just filling the space, it has to belong to the space.”

Living room

Hamani likes placing a mat on the living room table, and suggests careful consideration with the two tables on either side of a light-coloured sofa. She added that a cow rug in the living room “creates action.”

“A sofa without tables at the ends is like a head without ears. Unlike a bedside table, these tables shouldn’t have drawers, and the rug should be squared.”

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