When it comes to preparing your apartment for sale, first impressions are everything. Thorough preparation ensures your property stands out from the competition, sells fast and for the best price – without too much hassle to you. In this article, we’ll cover how to add the most value to your property in the least amount of time, and with minimal outlay. The combined effect of many small things is what will have a dramatic effect on your sales price.
What is apartment staging?
Apartment staging is another word for preparing the property for sale. It’s like dressing your home for the sale, to ensure it appeals to the widest and biggest pool of potential buyers. Staging (also known as property styling or property presentation) is the art of setting up your home to look its finest. In all simplicity, it’s minimising any flaws and emphasising its best attributes.
Now, you could engage a professional to do this for a fee. However, it is something you can also undertake yourself and save a lot of money – just follow along the steps detailed in this article. The main purpose is to get the buyer to imagine themselves living in the apartment, creating a sense of urgency about making an offer before they miss out.
It’s a fact that staged properties bring in about 15% more revenue than those that aren’t. And what’s more – well-showcased properties sell 84% faster than those that aren’t!
Apartment staging: a step-by-step guide
There’s a lot more involved in preparing the property for sale than simply cleaning your apartment. Here are some other must-have components in your apartment staging to process, you can follow along step-by-step.
This is the removal of your personal belongings from the viewer’s sight, so the buyers can visualise their own belongings in your home. The normal clutter of a lived-in home makes a place feel unnecessarily busy and small. Remove family photos and sentimental trinkets, as well as other bits and pieces, as much as possible – at least 50%.
Cleaning is obviously a necessity during your sale, especially just before inspections. Your home should be spotlessly clean so it’s inviting to buyers. Dust, grime, stains, slime and spillages are some of the major turnoffs.
3. Re-arrange, remove and/or replace furniture
If your furniture is presentable, stylish and fits well within the room, then it will automatically give the room a welcoming feel.
If not, you have the option of renting suitable furniture to improve the look of the rooms. The key is to choose appropriate pieces and arrange them to give each room a stylish and welcoming feel.
4. Optimise the space
By optimising the space, even smaller apartments can present areas with specialised functions. One can easily create extra living areas, such as a home office or a study, without having to knock down any walls. To achieve this, take out any unnecessary furniture and fixtures. Optimising the space in this way helps the buyer visualise the potential. In short, turn unusable spaces into usable spaces by giving them a purpose!
The right accessories can add to the warmth and appeal of your home. Think cushions in modern colours and textures, contemporary bedding, or an elegant table setting. Neutral tones are the easiest to work with but do add some splashes of colour and texture with your soft furnishings. Theme rooms with one accent colour to keep it simple yet stylish.
6. Light it up
Feature natural light as much as possible – open the curtains, blinds or window coverings to let it in. Natural light gives the room a fresh and airy atmosphere.
Although artificial lighting can be used to enhance the interiors, it can sometimes leave a gloomy impression. Fluorescent lights especially can seem alienating. Downlights, lamps and studio lighting are better for creating a warm feel.
Make sure every bedroom has at least one, if not two, bedside lamps. These will frame the bed in photos, and send light upwards on the main wall, brightening the whole room.
7. Air it out
It’s essential to air out the entire apartment before an inspection. Poorly ventilated apartments will smell stuffy and have an unwelcome feel to them.
Air the apartment daily, or at least several hours before an inspection. You could also burn lightly scented candles just before showing the home to give additional fragrance. However, avoid using pungent incense sticks as they can alienate buyers with their overpowering scent.
You should have the contents of your walk-in wardrobe, drawers and pantry neatly arranged. Some buyers are nosy enough to want to look inside, partly to ensure a lack of wear or damage, but also to ensure there is enough room for their stuff. A well-organised home gives an impression of space.
9. Leave your home
Buyers want to feel comfortable when it comes to asking questions and thoroughly inspecting the home. Interested parties may not feel at ease discussing their interest in the property if the seller is within earshot. It’s an emotional time for both sellers and buyers, so it’s best for all if you are not present when inspections are being conducted.
What about repairs?
Before listing your apartment for sale, ensure all obvious and critical repair work is complete. The fact is, the more faults buyers find, the greater their bargaining position. Or, even worse, they may run a mile if there are too many repairs required.
A poorly kept home gives the buyer a bad first impression, which is normally imprinted in their mind within the first eight seconds. Convincing them otherwise will be almost impossible.
The only exception would be if the apartment is being marketed and sold as a “renovator’s delight”. This is typically when the location or view is the most attractive element of the property.
‘Repair or Replace’ Checklist
- Floors and ceiling – address any cracks.
- Bathroom and kitchen fittings – repair or replace old or worn taps, handles, towel rails and toilet roll holders.
- Lighting and ventilation – ensure all lights have working bulbs and fans and air conditioning units are cleaned.
- Doors and windows – ensure they open and close freely, and that any insect screens are clean and dust-free.
- Freshen up your paint. You can’t alter the paint on common property in your complex, however, you have full control within the internal areas, so make it shine!
If all the above checkboxes are ticked, and the apartment is well kept, then you can easily justify pricing your property at the top of its value.
Other things to consider when preparing the property for sale
Dogs and pets
Unusual or weird pets, such as snakes, spiders or rats, might not make the desired impression to most buyers – send them on a holiday while you are selling.
Dogs are also best kept off the premises during an inspection, just in case the buyer inspecting is allergic or does not like dogs or pets in general. Cat or dog fur on the furniture or around the home is also a big turn-off.
The stink factor
Nobody wants a smelly home. This can be the easiest and swiftest way to get rid of a potential buyer.
Blocked drains, smelly bathrooms, stale cigarette smoke permeating the furniture and curtains, overpowering food smells in the kitchen, mildew, staleness and dust… These are just a few of the unwanted smells in the home.
Spraying the whole home with a fancy deodorant won’t do it, either. If a pet spoils a rug or carpet, or there is a lingering smell you can’t seem to get rid of, it’s vital to deal with it. Trust us, it will turn buyers off your property.
For any repainting done on your home before selling, seriously consider sticking with white or another neutral colour. This creates a sense of spaciousness and light; the two most desirable factors buyers seek in a home.
Fresh flowers, ventilation, light and good smells are simple details that matter quite a lot in home staging. Such things make buyers want to linger and imagine themselves living there. It also helps in creating a good first impression that might very well influence the buyer to invest in your apartment.
Regular and critical check-ups on the presentation of your apartment are vital to see everything is in place for as long as it is on the market. Although maintaining the look of the apartment might be tiresome, imagine the feeling when it sells faster, at or above your goal price!
Step-by-step apartment staging checklist
When preparing the property for sale, no area should be ignored. This step by step home-staging guide will help you get the best possible result for a minor outlay. Different buyers have different tastes, wants and needs, but there are certain universal elements you can’t go wrong with.
We’ll take you through each section step-by-step with a checklist to ensure all grounds are covered for the best possible results. This is also what any professional would do.
If your apartment has a balcony, you must ensure that it becomes one of the key selling points by presenting it at its absolute best.
- Make it look and feel comfortable with the use of appropriate furniture.
- Create a cosy vibe by incorporating art pieces, wall hangings and textured cushions.
- Show off your BBQ, heater, and/or a Chiminea.
This is the introduction to your apartment and it’s what the prospective buyer will experience in the first few moments before they enter. The foyer is also the place where you can influence the first impression of the inspection. You have limited control of the overall appearance of the complex, but you can control the light, cleanliness and aromas in the foyer right outside your door. Use this control wisely and make that first impression a lasting and inviting one!
- Ensure the lift is spotless.
- Give the foyer carpet a quick vacuum if needed (don’t wait for the building managers or cleaners to do this).
- Check your entry door is in good condition, clean and opens easily.
- Clear all clutter from your foyer. This gives the impression of a clean, well-maintained space.
- Ensure any entrance lights have new bulbs and are in good working order. This is a Body Corporate responsibility, so get onto this well before your open house or inspection is due.
- Take a deep breath in and make sure that the foyer has a fresh, clean and pleasant smell. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the corners of the foyer if needed.
This is the area where your buyers will imagine themselves and their belongings. It should be fresh and inviting, encouraging enjoyment and relaxation with loved ones. Check that the furniture, cushions, throw rugs and paintings are appropriate and fit the current trend. Don’t add too much of your own personal touch!
Remember, if your furniture is worn out or not so on-trend, you can always cover it with neutral fabric covers, or even rent new furniture for a short time.
- Clear away personal belongings like photos, family portraits, magazines and newspapers.
- Pack up your CD and DVD collection.
- Encourage interaction using furniture placement to promote conversation.
- Paint the walls in neutral colours to open up the space and brighten the room.
- ‘Lift’ the area with stylish throw rugs, textured cushions and interesting artwork. You can add or remove floor rugs to either give colour or open up the area.
- Clear unnecessary furniture that crowds the room.
There’s nothing worse than an unclean kitchen. Untidy spots tend to show disorganisation and give the impression of a dysfunctional kitchen. Make sure the kitchen is clean and healthy-looking. This allows the buyers to imagine themselves preparing and enjoying meals together with their loved ones!
- De-clutter the entire kitchen – if you haven’t used it in the last 12 months, get rid of it!
- Clear benchtops to allow for working space. Store away appliances like the toaster, blender, juicer, mixer etc. in cupboards to make your kitchen look bigger.
- Organised and tidy up the drawers.
- Use commercial quality cleaning products and detergents so that all surfaces shine and sinks and taps sparkle.
- Ensure the handles are stylish and match.
- Ensure there is ample and attractive quality lighting in the room. Replace or repair existing light fittings if necessary.
- Have a simple dining table set up, or even bar stools to give buyers an easy casual dining option.
- Clean the inside and the casing of the refrigerator, the dishwasher, cooker and any other equipment in the room.
- Make sure the cooktop and surrounding areas sparkle and shine.
- Don’t forget to clean the range hood!
- Place filters in the dishwasher and ensure the light and fan works.
Bathroom and Toilet
This is the most sensitive area and needs special attention. Some of the things to consider include:
- Use commercial and quality cleaning products to remove scum stuck around the bathtub and any mould on the walls.
- Ensure your shower is scrubbed clean, using a de-scaling solution on the glass and door frame, hinges and tapware if necessary.
- To preserve the life of your shower, refrain from using cakes of soap and go for gels or soap-free liquids instead. Wipe it dry with a cloth or squeegee after each use and you’ll prevent build up on the screens and mould from forming in the grout between the tiles.
- If the grout is unable to be cleaned, there are companies who will come and grind out the old grout and replace it with fresh grout. Give this serious consideration as it will make a difference to the smell and look of the shower.
- If there are cracks in any bathroom glass or mirrors, make sure you have them replaced.
- Remove the washing basket and store it out of sight.
- Ensure the toilet is clean, the seat and lid are down, and a new white toilet roll is placed in the holder. Pack away toilet brushes and mats.
- Ensure all bathroom products are hidden away and place some simple accessories on the vanity.
- Lastly, display fresh towels and if appropriate to the space, add a plant or scented candles.
The bedrooms should give a feeling of peace and comfort upon entry. A neutral, spacious and airy effect is what you should aim for.
- If repainting, soft neutral tones are your safest bet.
- Make the beds with clean, fresh and crisp bedding. Stick to neutral or white bed linen, but add a pop of colour with throws, pillows and cushions.
- Don’t be afraid of using lots of pillows of different sizes – European pillows, standard pillows with cushions is not too many.
- Keep your wardrobes, shelving and drawers tidy and de-cluttered.
- Remove excess furniture. Where possible bedrooms should have beds, bedside tables and not much else unless the room is oversize and can carry it.
- Freshen up the curtains – a professional steam clean may be the best option here. Fix any broken blinds, keep windowsills clean and all soft furnishings smelling fresh.
It can be easy to forget and neglect the laundry room. Don’t leave dirty washing lying around or wet washing in the machine on a hot day!
- Have the laundry room well-lit and bright.
- Clean the outside of the washing machine and dryer – ensure there is no build-up of lint or dust on walls or in corners.
- Polish the tub.
- Pack the ironing board away.
- Put away any washing.
Ready to prepare your property for sale?
Everybody wants a good looking and well-maintained home. An apartment that looks good will sell faster and at a higher price than one that is not well maintained. Cleanliness will go a long way in encouraging potential buyers to consider calling your apartment home. With these points in mind, preparing the property for sale is completely possible to do on your own.
We hope this helps you in staging your home and achieving the highest price with minimal stress! However, if you are looking for help with selling your apartment, our specialist team will find you the right buyer, for the right price. Contact Amazing Apartments today for more information.