High-End Developers Create Custom Model Units

by The Mark Company

Understanding buyer demographics is key when staging new condominiums.

Staging can help a home sell faster, attract more offers, and ultimately command a higher price, so it’s not surprising that some new luxury condominium developments are taking this practice to a whole other level.

As The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required), new luxury condominium developers across the country are creating model units with high-end amenities and furnishings to woo potential homebuyers. These luxury touches can include custom closets, chef’s kitchens, unique artwork, and custom bed headboards.

When creating model condominium units, developers design them to target certain demographics. Millennial homebuyers who are purchasing a smaller unit gravitate toward modern, minimal furniture and vibrant colors, while baby boomers who are downsizing from a single-family home to a large condominium prefer a more traditional aesthetic.

The Mark Company Founder and President Alan Mark agrees that it’s important to know a unit’s likely buyer when designing or staging model units.

“Make sure to discuss demographics and psychographics of the key target buyer(s) with your stager,” he says. “It’s not just about making a residence look great. The design has to appeal to one’s target.”

Well-staged model units can help buyers overlook a unit’s potential flaws, such as street noise, unconventional layouts, and small sizes. The Wall Street Journal spoke with a San Francisco couple who downsized from a single-family home to one of the 76 units at The Pacific in Pacific Heights. Although the couple initially thought that a condominium might feel too cramped, they became convinced when they toured a model unit that was designed with upscale materials and touches.

“They all felt like home despite being smaller spaces,” real estate professional Rebecca Schumacher, who purchased a three-bedroom unit at The Pacific, told The Wall Street Journal.

Besides buyer perception, staging can also have tangible benefits for sellers. Earlier this summer, Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp analyzed more than 3,200 of the San Francisco-based brokerage’s transactions and found that and found that staged homes sold for about 45 percent more than those that were not staged.

Hepp’s analysis found that staged properties also sold faster — an average of 36 days – than unstaged ones, which sold in an average of 59 days. Finally, staged properties attracted an average of 3.4 offers, compared with 2.2 offers for those that were not staged.

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