On a recent episode of HGTV’s “Selling New York,” real estate group CORE took over the marketing and sales of a historic building in Chelsea. While visiting the model units to assess what was needed to sell the units, the realtors noticed an inconsistency in the current marketing efforts with the building’s overall theme. In their efforts to rebrand the marketing, they needed to transform the collateral’s “white” campaign and real estate staging to align with the context of the building creating a warmer, more traditional feel. This included applying a darker stain to the hardwood floors, stripping paint from an architectural column, painting the walls, rearranging the floor plan, and completely revamping the design style.
This brings us to the point that I regularly say that “make it look pretty, don’t sell it”. During their tour of the larger model unit, one of the comments made was that the furniture was nice, but it didn’t reflect the building. It looked more like Miami than Chelsea.
This is a key observation, because the most important thing to understand in order to set the stage for a successful sale is understanding who the buyer is and enabling your marketing campaign, which includes staging, to connect the dots to these buyers. For example, the way you market and sell a bachelor pad in the city will be different from the way you market and sell a family home in the suburbs. The experience you create for each of these campaigns will determine the actual success of that sale.
Understanding who the buyer is is extremely important for all parts of the transaction to consider. Real estate agents must have an in-depth knowledge of the neighborhood and the profile of the potential buyer. Staging professionals should also know this information and incorporate it into the staging design plan. The goal is to leave very little to the buyer’s imagination and create a lifestyle that helps them quickly identify themselves as the future owner of this property. Remember, if qualified professionals come in and “don’t get it,” chances are your buyers won’t either.
The most commendable lesson of this episode was that real estate agents were not afraid to make necessary changes. It was clear that the investors had already spent a significant amount of money on the original marketing efforts and asking them to spend more money can be daunting, but the real estate agents trusted their expertise in the neighborhood and knew what would attract the buyers. When it goes wrong, it’s our job to fix it to get the results everyone is looking for.