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We all know that the real estate market is in a major slump. Nothing seems to make that grim point more real then when one takes a short drive through any neighborhood. For it is there we see, dotting the front yards of so many homes, a multitude of For Sale signs. But while looking at a sign in a front yard makes a tangible point of reference for what is happening with the sales of single family homes, what is taking place with regard to the condo market is sometimes harder to see. Because often there is no sign, it is easy to overlook the fact that there are many many condominiums for sale too.
In some ways selling a condo is harder then selling a single family home. First, it is not uncommon, especially in larger developments, for one condo in a building to be selling against another condo configured with the exact same floor plan, features and finishes. And, except for slight differences in the exterior façades, it is also not unusual to find one building full of condos to be pretty much the same as another building full of condos in the same neighborhood.
Sellers need to understand that with so many condos to choose from, they all start looking the same to the buyer. In the buyer’s eye, without much distinguishing one from another, they become just another Vanilla Box.
While there are many configurations of the Vanilla Box, the typical Vanilla Box of today has the door in the rear, sliding patio doors to a balcony in the front, and a kitchen in the middle with stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and an island that separates the kitchen space from the open dining/living room area. All are pretty much the same…floor to floor, building to building, neighborhood to neighborhood.
With so many condos being relatively the same, the chance for a sale is quite competitive. Plus, if you are a home seller that is currently living in a Vanilla Box, in a neighborhood that offers similarly priced NEWLY constructed Vanilla Boxes… keep in mind that a shiny new Box is much more appealing to a buyer, than a scuffed, scratched, and worn used Box.
Good news is that the hope for a sale of your Vanilla Box is not a lost cause… for either the independent owner trying to sell their unit, or for the builder trying to sell one or more units. Both, for different reasons, can benefit from hiring an EXPIRIENCED home stager.
Stagers will help individual seller trying to sell their unit in a number of ways. First, they will point out the problem areas that make a used home look used, and then offer low cost ideas and solutions that make the condo feel new. Next, while it is a fact that a furnished property is easier to sell then vacant; sellers need to understand that due to size constraints of the home (typically condos are more compact) furnishings in the condo needs to be set in a way that they actually help the condo show and flow for touring… and a stager can help here too. Good staging is a balance between adding the right amount of visual appeal, without having the interior décor distract the seller’s eye from the property they are considering buying.
For the builder, a Stager can also be of great service. Who hasn’t been a bit surprised to experience a builder’s empty vanilla white unit after touring their lush and lovely model? For this reason large builders have for years had model properties for buyers to first tour. Today, the opportunity and benefit of having a model unit need not be a selling advantage reserved only for the larger builder. Smaller builders can hire a Stager who can provide low cost, yet beautifully designed staged-model solutions. PLUS, if the builder is selling multiple units in one building, should the staged unit sell, the staged model can be moved from one unit and re-set in the next. The added flexibility of a “rolling” model offers yet more flavor and appeal to the Vanilla Box.
So yes, without a doubt this is a tough market, especially for condo owners. But properties are selling. Fortunately, builders and owners of Vanilla Boxes can change the flavor of their offering from FOR SALE to SOLD… with the help of a Home Stager.
As the founder of Real Estaging, I am proud to say we've become Chicagoland's premier company for staged homes. We are committed staging professionals who pride ourselves in knowing how to combine the business of marketing with the art of staging... so that when we merchandise a property it sells. That's why we say, "we don't just DABBLE in staging we do it!"