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  • Rebecca and Gary B.

Staging: Is It Worth It?

The answer is, emphatically, Yes.

Warburg recently listed an apartment at $1,025,000. Without cleaning, painting, or furniture, we think this would have sold for around $1,000,000. Our favorite stager, Gary Brown of Gary Brown Interiors, got his hands on the space and with a budget of only $8,000, he transformed the apartment. The accepted offer is $1,300,000. A front-end expenditure of $8K yielded $300K more in purchase price. You can’t argue with those numbers. We recently sat down with Gary to find out more…

Why is staging an apartment so important?

Life is so fast-paced in New York City. It takes only seconds for a potential buyer to develop an opinion or attitude towards a space, and that emotional connection is what helps them make their final decision. Many buyers cannot immediately visualize how a space can suit their needs, especially if it is a cluttered, unorganized, or unappealing room. When it feels like a home, they can see themselves living there. Plus, it’s well documented that staged homes sell quicker.

What brought you to the business?

I used to be a real estate agent, I have many friends in the industry and I was always noticing and hearing about the lack of options for staging. I felt that there was a gap in the market. It was either rent directly from a furniture rental company and most likely end up with a sterile, corporate looking space, or use an expensive designer and go high-end, which scares off most clients.

Always having had an interest in design and décor, I decided to create Gary Brown Interiors to fill that gap.

How do you stand out in the industry?

I think my services are different because I hand select the rental furniture and compliment that with pieces from my own diverse inventory to create a more balanced, lived-in look. I like to mix new and old, using vintage pieces where I can: most people don’t have an entire apartment full of brand new furniture. I think the best spaces are built over time and you just can’t get that directly from a furniture rental company.

Do you have a philosophy or rules you follow when staging an apartment, things you make sure you do?

The first thing I do when seeing a space for the first time is to figure out what are the best and worst features and how can I highlight the former or mask the latter. If there are awkward spaces that may give people pause and not know what to do with them, I like to find a creative solution to show them the possibilities. I also think about what neighborhood I’m in and who the potential buyer would be. What can I do in the staging to show them how great their lifestyle would fit into that apartment?

Would you share some general design tips for someone wanting to freshen up a space?

The easiest and usually cheapest way to freshen up any space is with a coat of paint. For staging, I like to stay neutral and then add some color with artwork or pillows. I love color, but finding a balance is what’s needed for staging, nothing too bold or too specific or personalized. You need to appeal to the broadest market of potential buyers.

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