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Houston condos can be a great investment. They offer convenient living and, usually a ton of modern style. But they can also be a hard sell, as one is very much like the next in its ‘undressed form’. Which is where condo staging comes in.

In case you are not quite sure what that really means, condo staging – a ‘branch’ of home staging is the process of decluttering and styling a property in a way that allows buyers to see it’s full potential, without the usual distractions. But in order for condo staging to produce the desired outcome – a quick sale at a great price – it needs to be executed in just the right way

Being too cookie-cutter

Forget about any one-size-fits-all approach. The nature of the condo market means it’s possible for people to see the same staged aesthetic (e.g. beige couch, black and white art, and cream rug) time and time again. Buyer beware: style fatigue ahead.

How to make yours stand out from the crowd without screaming offensively? The trick is to creating an atmosphere (and experience) that appeals to the widest audience without being too generic. The way we do it as professional home stagers is by paring down excess furniture, adding texture through fabrics and materials and accessories and ensuring that the property is as clutter free as possible.

Skipping the essentials

“Clean, fresh, and bright” is the universal tenet of staging, and is always in style. Remember: Buyers have been bombarded with pristine, unlived-in condos, so you’ll need to step up your game.

There’s also what we call the “HGTV effect,” where buyers have been conditioned by that channel’s many shows – and Instagram’s many images – to expect picture-perfect apartments. As far as buyers are concerned they will already be taking on already a huge expense and they want to be able to move in without taking on sweat equity. Meaning: They want an apartment that’s turn-key ready.

Painting is a must. Nothing does more to improve your home than this one step. You can even freshen up tired kitchen cabinetry with a coat of paint. Floors are a big deal too. Carpets should be cleaned and hardwood floors polished or refinished. If that happens to be your condo association’s responsibility get on them quickly to get the work done.

The same is true of little repairs. If you have been too busy to remember to call maintenance to come in and deal with them now is the time. Even something as small as a slightly leaky faucet that does not really bother you could put off a potential buyer.

Finally, clean every last inch of the space, including the windows. Odors in particular are the kiss of death. Doggy smells, kitty litter, bathroom odors and lingering cooking smells are all common culprits. Nip these in the bud. (As Moss was taught, “if you can smell it, you can’t sell it.”)

Personal effects

Staging 101: Any home sale begins with an emotional connection, and that won’t happen if buyers see too much evidence of you rather than being able to project their own hopes and dreams onto the space.

People who decide to buy a place have to imagine how amazing living there will be, and they don’t want to live with other people’s family, so those happy couple shots and family snapshots have to go.

The same goes for anything that’s potentially off-putting, such as religious or political paraphernalia—and anything that could be construed as off-limits to all ages. Houston is one of the most diverse markets in the country, and you don’t want to be dismissive of anyone.

Color misconceptions

No matter how immaculate your living room may be, the consensus is to stick with one of the countless shades of white when it comes to attracting buyers. However, to keep all that white from coming off as too stark or sterile, incorporate pops of color to draw the eye around a room or even down a long hallway.

Whichever accent color(s) you choose, use it (and any patterns) selectively and sparingly with throw pillows, artwork, and rugs.

Inadequate lighting

As professional condo stagers we find that more people forget about lighting than any other element of staging, yet it can make the biggest impact in bringing a space to life.You can use lighting to create intimacy in a larger room and to spotlight artwork or some other focal point, for that “wow” factor.

If you have a darker apartment, you’ll especially want to pull out every trick in the book to brighten things up. Swaps out stark white LED bulbs for warmer toned light bulbs but make sure there are an adequate amount of them. In short, dark corners ANYWHERE in the space are a no.

Clutter (enough said)

If ever there was a time to declutter, it is now. Once your property is on the market, you have to stop thinking of it as a home and more as a product. Granted the process is rife with emotion, band can be a long, hard to get started undertaking, which is why we recommend working with a professional home organizer to at least get things started the right way (and we happen to have one of the best on our team by the way)

You should not clear everything away though, the decluttering needs to be strategic. Take closets for example. Even if you don’t have California Closets you can make them feel that way with canvas and woven bins to hide your stuff to make them inviting. People want to see how organized their life will be in their future home so your condo staging when it comes to storage should be as aspirational as possible.

Poor use of space

Space is often limited in a condo, at least when compared to a single family home. One big mistake is not having a delineation of space, especially in an open floor plan, where everything can bleed into each other. As they tour homes buyers have a mental checklist: Entryway? Check. Kitchen? Check. Eating nook? Check. Use furniture and focal points to control the flow.

That said, avoid the urge to put a bunch of chairs in a massive living area to create different seating areas to indicate, for example, that’s where I have tea, that’s where I have wine with friends, that’s where I watch TV. Really all people want to do is sit and enjoy the space their way, and don’t want to be told how to do that! Too-dark furniture is another no-no as are too small rugs that shrink rooms.

Foregoing staging entirely

Here’s a frustrating (for us) fact about home staging in general. Most sellers see the value of staging but many still don’t want to pay for it.

If that sounds like you, there are affordable ways to work with a condo staging expert. Perhaps you just need a professional eye to come and help rearrange and edit what you already have, or give just one or two rooms a thorough redo. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

And make no mistake: Empty apartments don’t sell. They seem too small and lack personality. Staging takes away the guesswork for buyers and lets them envision how their life will be.

Ready to discuss staging your Houston condo for sale? Contact us today, so we can figure out the best way to stage your space to sell fast at the best possible price.