As virtual tours are now an expected part of the sales process, it is important to make sure your senior living community stands apart. However, unless you have been given a budget to showcase a specific floor plan or two in your newly built community, you may find yourself staging your senior living apartment with furniture that may have been left behind or gifted to your community. When you’re looking to wow a prospect and build value from the first visit, in person or virtual, it’s important to give careful thought to the impression your apartment gives a prospect from start to finish.
Think of the last time you walked into a space that evoked an emotion in you? Where were you and what was the emotion? Maybe it was a luxury hotel? Maybe it was your mother’s kitchen? Perhaps it was a nice restaurant you waited months to dine in. My point is that all spaces evoke some emotion in you. Most of the time, spaces are not impactful enough either way for you to even recognize it, but science proves
that spaces can either improve your mood or diminish it. So, when a prospect tours your community and what could be their apartment home, your goal is to leave them able to visualize themselves living in that space.
Findings in the 2019 National Association of Realtors Research Group
, states that 83% of buyers said it is easier to visualize themselves in a staged home. The layout of a senior living apartment may not differentiate itself much from one community to another, but the emotion that your staged apartment will leave a senior prospect and their family with is what will set your community apart. Here are three ways to stage a vacant apart to sell by helping your prospective residents feel at home.
Home isn’t just where you are, it’s the backdrop of your life
As much as moving out of one’s home can have some negative associations for people, there are a lot of great benefits to moving into a retirement community. There are more people to socialize with, a dining room that takes care of some or all meals, activities that you can walk to and caring, compassionate staff to make sure your quality of life is well maintained! So, use your staged senior living apartment to play up those features for prospects. As they tour the space, allow them to see vignettes of life happening. Put a calendar up in the kitchen or kitchenette that has fun activities and programs listed. Maybe a Chef’s demo and tapas tasting is written in and circled in red. Perhaps an invitation to an outing is laid on the table. Create not just a sense of life, but of living. Set out cards from friends and families, have a puzzle out on the table that is halfway put together. Have two wine glasses and a bottle of wine out on the coffee table with a photo album open. Put photos out of seniors enjoying themselves around the community on the refrigerator. Hang a few beautiful pieces of well-tailored clothing and shoes and accessories in the closet. Make sure the bed looks especially comfortable and inviting with a fluffy comforter, pretty pillows, and comfy throws. Not only will these things help prospects get a feel for the lifestyle your community offers, it will take the focus away from just evaluating another living space on their list of options.
Home isn’t just where you are, it’s who you are
Who you are goes beyond your décor, but it can also influence décor. It’s about taking things you love and making them a part of the visual space of your life. For example, if you love to read, finding a way to incorporate bookshelves into your personal space personifies who you are and evokes a sense of familiarity and comfort. If you love board games, incorporating board game themed art is another great way of personifying your personality in your décor.
So too with your vacant apartment. It’s important to pay attention to the aesthetics of the space. Color has a huge impact on a space and can really help a space feel personal. Offering a curated selection of paint colors so that seniors can add one to two accent walls with a color they love in their space goes a long way in selling a unit. It’s an inexpensive and easy way to offer prospects a say in what their space will look like and it makes it feel like their home.
A study from Vrije University in Amsterdam
found that the colors yellow and green have a positive and happy impact on our mood and outlook. Pick one of those shades for your staging. Some other ways to create a warm and inviting apartment is to add well-appointed and affordable touches like nice bedding, curtains, throw pillows and blankets that add a sense of luxury. Be sure to have lamps on when you walk in and plants to add life. For prospects who can tour the apartment in person, add a room diffuser with warm scents like vanilla or happy scents like lemon. All these things translate a blank space into a beautiful, inviting apartment that feels like home.
Home isn’t just where you are, it’s what you put in it
Be thoughtful and be sure to pick furniture that is appropriately sized for the space. Most seniors will be downsizing, and the space will feel small compared to their current home. Moving a parent out of a home they’ve lived in for years and going through belongings deciding what to keep or not to keep can be rough. And then storing it all in a way that makes it feel at home can also be a challenge. If you pick items that are smaller in scale, you can make a room seem bigger. In a senior living apartment, how do you make smaller spaces work while reducing the stress of contemplating downsizing? The answer lies in storage.
You want to make sure you fill the space appropriately but do not over fill it, as too much furniture will have an adverse effect and make the space feel smaller. The right storage units can be extremely helpful. From California Closets to the myriad of options offered by The Container Store, smart storage solutions are something we all look for but don’t always figure out on our own. We need a visual. Showcase built-ins with closed storage, install closet organization features like drawers, shoe racks and double rods. Drawers on the lowers in the kitchen are much more functional when you have mobility issues and can’t bend low to peek into the back of cabinets. If you can show your prospect the best way to use a space, you’ve taken care of half the battle for a senior and their family as they plan their move.
A bit of investment in staging up front will make your selling easier, your closure ratios higher and help your community achieve your targeted occupancy rate. Some good planning and investing in a beautiful space can pay off dividends over time! So, pay attention to the emotions your staged senior living apartments are evoking in your prospective residents and help them see themselves at home at your community!
About: Jana Crane is the owner and designer for Chrysalis Interiors. She has had a passion for design and beautiful homes since she was a girl and has helped friends and family with their homes for more than 10 years. Interior design is a passion for her. She passionately believes that a beautifully decorated home that is warm and inviting is an important part of our identity as people. There is something about having a cozy haven from a harsh world or an inviting space to connect with friends and family that lifts the spirit. Beauty really does restore the soul and comfort us.
Jana’s goal is to partner with her clients to understand their vision for their home and work with them to create it. She wants everyone to love their homes.