The vast majority of co-ops and condos that are put on the market are not in picture-perfect shape for a rapid and high-priced sale. Prospective buyers, who view those apartments, often cannot see beyond the superficial defects and so fail to appreciate an apartment's potential. It is essential, therefore, that before an apartment is put on the market, it is made to look as attractive as possible. This is called staging, an essential step toward ensuring that an apartment does not stay on the market for an inordinately long period of time and is sold for the highest possible price. There are two categories of staging: primary and secondary, and each contains five subcategories, all of which are prerequisites, if staging is to achieve the desired results.
Cleaning: There is nothing that turns off a prospective buyer faster than an apartment that is dirty and has a foul odor. Even if an apartment has been lived in for many years, it can still be presented as clean and fresh. That means that the floors have been cleaned and shined, the rugs have been vacuumed and shampooed, sinks have been scoured of stains, beds are beautifully made with appealing covers, and mirrors are cleaned. It is also critical to have spotlessly clean windows, even if an apartment does not have attractive views.
Unclutter: Have you ever walked into an apartment and felt that you had to navigate carefully amidst the clutter of strewn about toys; piled up magazines, books and boxes; and furniture that seemed out of place? Prospective buyers should not have to feel as though they need maps and compasses to navigate around an apartment. Not only should toys, books, magazines, boxes and rubber dog bones be put away, but counter tops should be cleared of clutter, magnets should be removed from refrigerators and bathtubs should not be used as storage bins. In other words, an apartment should look as tidy and presentable as a showroom.
Lighting: "Let there be light" should be the motto of every apartment owner. Lighting is the key to making an apartment seem larger than it actually is; it adds brightness and helps to create a cheerful environment. When staging an apartment, one should be prepared to replace low wattage bulbs with high wattage ones, and if necessary, add new lamps to brighten dark corners.
Window Treatments: Window treatments are another crucial element for proper staging. If an apartment has wonderful views, one must allow those views to be stars of the show. In addition, even the most exquisite window treatments should be pulled back so as not to obstruct vistas and light. It is important to use sheer, translucent shades or curtains that attractively camouflage unappealing exposures, but still allow as much light into an apartment as possible.