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  • Writer's pictureMMI


Some of the most important things renters consider include neighborhood, pricing, and the ability to live with pets. Once they check those requirements off the list, what is the next most important aspect contributing to their ultimate decisions? Apartment models might be more important than you think.

Model Living Room at The Ellington - Pasadena, CA

Model Staging: Make your Communtiy Stand Apart

We’ve all heard how important amenities are when it comes to standing apart from the competition. But, what about your model? Properly staging a new apartment could mean the difference between signing a new lease, or losing a prospective renter to your local competitor.

When your prospects step inside your model apartment, are they able to picture living there? Apartment staging is a necessary and important investment for any community looking to win potential tenants over from the competition.

Model Staging and Memorable Storytelling

An article by Multi-Housing News states, “One of the first things prospective residents like to see in a property is the model units. They look at models to picture themselves living in the apartment or to figure out if their furniture will fit in a unit at the property. Naturally, developers/owners/managers look to designers and merchandisers to stage model units in the most attractive way possible. While it seems like an easy enough job to do, designing a model is a bit more complicated than running to the closest Bed, Bath and Beyond and picking things that might look good in the unit."

As Interior Designers, we evaluate the area demographics, as well as the size of the unit. “Typically, we will do two units (one and two-bedroom) for a property that’s 180 units or more. Depending on what’s going on in the area, we capitalize on location and the area amenities to reinforce the overall property marketing plan. For a new development, the interiors team designs everything from leasing centers to pools, to corridors to site furnishing and often consults on the exterior so that the property has a consistent design. Our main goal is to help the developer, owner or manager close the deal, to get the lease and have people re-sign leases.

It's Not You, It's Your Model: Staging to Increase Occupancy

The Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends found that 4 out of 5 renters (82%) place importance on taking in-person tours to get a sense of the space. In addition, most renters visit an average of 3.2 apartments before making their final decisions. So, what does this mean for you?

Staging an apartment is a must whenever you are marketing a community. Without it, you’re simply showing a blank canvas to prospects when you could be using a unique staging strategy to reel in qualified renters.

Here are the top benefits to apartment model staging:

  • Reduces time on market by 30-50%

  • Increases qualified prospects with stylized furnishings based on target audience

  • Helps your community stand out in an increasingly competitive market

  • Increases relevant traffic from ads and listings

  • Generates higher and premium prices

  • Demonstrates use of space to inspire prospects

  • Highlights the best features of your units with decor and high-quality furnishings … and the list goes on.

There is a clear return on investment when staging any apartment model.

You Never Have a Second Chance at a First Impression

Whether prospects first see your model online or in-person, you only have one chance to make an impactful first impression! The impression really begins with the overall branding, ties to the curb appeal, and is greatly expressed in the amenities, models, and signage. The most effective models are never an afterthought. Typically, a model unit should be refreshed every three to five years on average to keep up with trends. But if it’s staged correctly, a full makeover won’t be needed in that short length of time and will continue to make an impact on potential renters.

But no matter how much money goes into the unit, developers need to be smart about picking the right unit to model, and avoid careless mistakes in execution. Lower-level units and those in the back of a building are a hard sell; a unit that shows off the natural light of an apartment will drive renters instead. “The biggest mistake that I see developers make in staging an apartment is not paying attention to the basics, such as lighting and scale of furniture,” says Linsey Isaacs from Multifamily Executive

The scale of the furniture is often an overlooked aspect - something too big for the apartment will easily make the space feel too small. A professional model apartment interior designer can help you design a model apartment for your ideal target resident. With experience in both Hospitality and Multifamily, Max Michelle Interiors has the expertise to create dynamic spaces that make potential renters ready to move in!

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