The Importance of Multi-Family Model Staging

Professional staging: a great first impression

How professional model staging gets more signed leases

A completed multi-family complex that’s ready for residents isn’t quite ready for the public eye until you’ve done some professional staging. This all-important step is too often overlooked, as owners and property managers want to start showing units and signing leases as soon as possible. But the right staging ideas can go a long way in making model units feel more like home — their home.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss:

What is Model Staging?

We define model staging as the strategic use of furniture, art, decor, and other homey elements to “stage” a model for showing to prospective tenants. Property managers fill the space to create a vision for the future. It’s an excellent way to highlight the space and all of its features, giving prospective tenants an idea of the space’s potential and how it might feel to live there.

Model staging can be done in physical or digital forms. In physical model staging, you’re bringing in real furniture, photos, dishes, vases, and other elements to create a home-like atmosphere. Tenants that visit the property in person will see these elements for themselves.

Pro Tip: We encourage all properties to style their models in the same aesthetic as their clubhouse and common areas. This will give a cohesive feel to the entire property.

With digital staging, designers generate a 3D mockup of the model and include digital elements to make it look staged. The purpose is to create images for your apartment listings that prospects can explore online on their own and get a feel for the community and the quality of your housing complex.

Why Bother Staging a Multi-Family Model?

Why do we stage a model? It’s not like anyone will actually use all that furniture, but spending time and money on staging can produce a pretty ROI.

For starters, staging is all about inspiring others to see what could be. Potential renters can envision themselves there. They can get ideas for where they might place their own furniture. The colors you choose can bring out the space’s natural beauty and shine a light on unique features. The use of colors can evoke specific feelings or emotions while they’re touring the space, which could help to encourage them to make a deposit on the spot.

In fact, nicely staged pictures are essential for promoting your rental properties online. Research from CoStar found that rental listings with a photo of a living room as the primary photo receive 110% more clicks than those that use exterior photos as the main image. In real estate, staged homes spend 90% less time on the market compared to non-staged or empty homes. Photos are an essential part of marketing your property online and encouraging visitors to come to take a look in person.

Staging a model also gives you an opportunity to increase the unit’s perceived value. Use this opportunity to create an upscale vibe that commands the rent price you’ve selected. A space that looks immaculate or well put together gives off an air of sophistication, style, and class. It shows you value the property enough to create the best first impression possible, which will make your potential residents care about it, too.

You can use staging to point out features that might not be immediately obvious. By strategically placing furniture and accessories, you can draw attention to architectural details or outdoor spaces that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Ultimately, it’s all about creating the right first impression. You’re not just staging a model unit; you’re presenting a viable future for your prospective tenants. It creates a picture that helps them envision daily life — and want to live their life in your multi-family complex.

How to Maximize Your Space with the Right Design

Model staging allows you to get the most out of your space and show future tenants how they can do the same. You’re providing the layout inspiration not just for tenants but also for other commercial property managers and owners.

There are a few ways to go about this.

First, it’s helpful to develop a resident persona. This persona will represent a specific type of resident, which will enable you to design a space that caters to that persona’s interests. For instance, your persona might be a female Millennial who has a dog, loves to cook, and enjoys pool time when she isn’t working. Having a specific persona in mind will help you to choose design elements to fill out your space and play to their interests.

Next, you’ll also want to think about spatial planning in your space. Whether you’re doing physical or digital staging, you’ll want to ensure plenty of “white space” within the room so that it doesn’t feel crowded or confined. This is also a must when creating accessible spaces. This means choosing furniture that fits well within the space, not just furniture that has an attractive color or style.

Also, don’t neglect the power of fine details. Small elements can do a lot of the selling for you. It’s those little things that make a house feel like a home — table settings, bowls of lemons, dish towels hanging on the oven door handle, books and magazines on the coffee table, and pops of greenery that bring nature indoors, for example. You don’t just want the space to look aesthetically delightful; you want it to feel like a home, not a staged model (even though that’s precisely what it is).

The Best Path to Model Staging: Work with a Professional Designer

Commercial interior design firms are ideal partners for model staging. With knowledge of color psychology, an eye for innovation and creativity, and access to staging technology and networks of suppliers, owners and property managers can get turnkey staging that makes their properties stand out. The more thought and intention behind a staged model, the more likely a property is to close deals (and quickly).

At SouthPark Interiors, our designers bring experience and intention to model staging with the goal of maximizing your space’s most unique features and selling points. Contact us today to learn more.