How to Stage Your Apartment Before Renting It Out
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How to Stage Your Apartment Before Renting It Out

Hanson O'Haver
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Anyone can spruce up an apartment for guests, but presenting your home to someone who might pay to live there is often left up to professionals. If you need to rent out a room or apartment that you live in, you know you need to prepare the space for viewers - but what does that mean? We all know the obvious: declutter and clean your space, but what are the tricks that professional space stagers use?

We asked a few professionals - including some top residential sales brokers - and here’s what they said.

1. Make your floors dazzle

“When people stash books under couches or chairs — none of that leads to a feeling of openness,” says Kelsey Hall of Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales.

Remove as much as you can, so that potential buyers can understand the true scale of the apartment and project their own belongings into the space. The more floor you can see, the more space you feel.

2. In your description, make your place feel unique

Give every room it’s own experience and true order. Highlight the different amenities in every room and try to help the potential buyers see themselves living in the space. If you discovered that your living room is also a great place to host dinner parties, then point out these advantages.

Never detract from the original charm of the space - if there is any. If it’s an older, antique building, Hall recommends highlighting the bones, molding, and original floors. “You want to show how much character is actually there.” Find any and all unique attributes and play them up.

4. Depersonalize

Sure, you may love looking at your family reunion photos, but potential renters don’t care how much fun you had at Aunt Jackie’s 50th birthday party. They want want (need!) envision themselves living in the space if they’re going to book it. “Personal photos and tchotchkes get in the way of someone being able to imagine their own personality in the space,” Hall warns. Stick to simple decor and flowers, instead.

6. Highlight what comes with the apartment

For rentals, you want to accentuate what comes with the apartment. You may have some super trendy throw pillows and a show-stopping chandelier, but unfortunately for the potential buyer he doesn’t get to keep those. (Unless he does — in which case highlight that). So instead of focusing on your beloved personal belongings, emphasize the apartment’s sleek stainless steel appliances or dazzling granite countertop - and include photos of all this good stuff

7. Understand your target renter

You have two options - stage your apartment for everyone and anyone, or hone in on the type of person who wants your space.

Stage your apartment for everyone and anyone

You’ll have to picture trying to sell the place to both your grandmother and crazy college roommate. And at the same time. This makes the target zone a lot larger and on more of a generic scale, but on the plus may increase your chances of finding someone.

Hone in on the type of person who wants your space

If it’s an amenity-rich studio in Chelsea that’s available for the summer, then a consultant on a short-term project might be a good option. Watch out though — as Hall say: “People sometimes hone in on one kind of tenant,” Hall says, “and they get too carried away in making something stylistically specific.”

8. Invest in a photographer

Before buyers see the space, they would (most likely) have seen pictures. You know what they say about first impressions, so invest in high-quality images. Blacque-Belair recommends hiring a photographer. “You have to take multiple exposures of a place. Around the windows, for instance, you can’t capture the view with an iPhone camera; you need multiple exposures or else it won’t show.”

9. Consider a staging the rooms

On average, staging companies increase a sales price by 10%. If you have an expensive rental you’d like to get off of your hands it might make sense to bring in a professional.

Using high-res photos of the space, virtual stagers enhance the coloring and add furniture. This can cost around $200 per shot — a justified cost, according to Pascal Blacque-Belair of Douglas Elliman, “It’s a good way to make sure the palate and presentation is in keeping with the value of the apartment.” You can find people with these skill sets on freelance websites like Upwork.

In home-staging, all that seems simple and intuitive has to be fully and painstakingly considered. “You have to offer something unique,” Parks adds, “It’s like old-fashioned courtship.”

Seem like a lot? If you follow just one of these tips, make it number four. Photos with personal items strewn about (and, the worst, an unmade bed) get less views, clicks and messages when posted on Flip. And we understand why!

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