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Staging for Sale in the Current Market Keep it Clean, and Know Your Buyer

Staging an apartment for sale has always been an important factor in getting the best price for your unit, but in the current market, it has become even more so. Many aspects of a condo or co-op unit are static, and while buyers are looking for the best value in terms of both individual units and building amenities, how you present that unit is dynamic - and can make a huge difference in how quickly a prospective buyer makes an offer.

Cleanliness Above All


Marilyn Sygrove, President of New York-based Sygrove Associates Design Group says that “Today, with COVID, it’s all about cleanliness.” She stresses that an apartment must be pristine. “Have the apartment professionally cleaned and keep it that way,” she says. “Declutter every room, even more so than before the pandemic. Empty the closets, leaving just a few items. Invest in decent storage for the duration of the sale cycle. A fresh coat of paint leaves the buyer with a sense of newness, even in older, prewar buildings. I recommend OC-17, also known as White Dove, as the preferred color apartmentwide, in a flat or satin finish. No glossy paints. Also purchase some simple, clean room scents to give the right feeling.”

Sygrove suggests that the truly optimal situation for selling is for the owner-seller to vacate the apartment while it’s being shown. If you are buying, or have bought your next place already, move - then sell. If not, edit down the furnishings to a minimum, keep the window treatments simple to let maximum light enter the apartment. Emphasize livability with an innocuous throw blanket and some cheery pillows on a couch, a coffee table book. Something anyone would have.

Who’s Buying?


Today’s is clearly a buyers’ market. To properly stage your apartment, you must balance the two ends of the buyer population most likely to be looking for a new place today: millennials starting new families or intending to shortly, and empty nesters looking to return to an urban lifestyle. They are looking at the same space through different eyes - so the trick is in staging your space to appeal to both.

“Millennials comprise 40% of our market today,” says Joanna Mayfield Marks, a broker with Brown Harris Stevens. “Most sales are happening under $1 million in Manhattan and Brooklyn as we are in an economic recovery and it starts at the low end of the market, then moves up to luxury.”

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