modern living room
November 1, 2017

High-End Developers Create Custom Model Units

Understanding buyer demographics is key when staging new condominiums.

Staging can help a home sell faster, attract more offers, and ultimately command a higher price, so it’s not surprising that some new luxury condominium developments are taking this practice to a whole other level.

As The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required), new luxury condominium developers across the country are creating model units with high-end amenities and furnishings to woo potential homebuyers. These luxury touches can include custom closets, chef’s kitchens, unique artwork, and custom bed headboards.

When creating model condominium units, developers design them to target certain demographics. Millennial homebuyers who are purchasing a smaller unit gravitate toward modern, minimal furniture and vibrant colors, while baby boomers who are downsizing from a single-family home to a large condominium prefer a more traditional aesthetic.

The Mark Company Founder and President Alan Mark agrees that it’s important to know a unit’s likely buyer when designing or staging model units.

“Make sure to discuss demographics and psychographics of the key target buyer(s) with your stager,” he says. “It’s not just about making a residence look great. The design has to appeal to one’s target.”

Well-staged model units can help buyers overlook a unit’s potential flaws, such as street noise, unconventional layouts, and small sizes. The Wall Street Journal spoke with a San Francisco couple who downsized from a single-family home to one of the 76 units at The Pacific in Pacific Heights. Although the couple initially thought that a condominium might feel too cramped, they became convinced when they toured a model unit that was designed with upscale materials and touches.

“They all felt like home despite being smaller spaces,” real estate professional Rebecca Schumacher, who purchased a three-bedroom unit at The Pacific, told The Wall Street Journal.

Besides buyer perception, staging can also have tangible benefits for sellers. Earlier this summer, Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp analyzed more than 3,200 of the San Francisco-based brokerage’s transactions and found that and found that staged homes sold for about 45 percent more than those that were not staged.

Hepp’s analysis found that staged properties also sold faster — an average of 36 days – than unstaged ones, which sold in an average of 59 days. Finally, staged properties attracted an average of 3.4 offers, compared with 2.2 offers for those that were not staged.

About The Mark Company

The Mark Company is one of the nation’s premier urban residential marketing and sales firms. Founded by Alan Mark in 1997, The Mark Company provides a full range of core consulting services including analytics, design, marketing and sales for urban high-rises and suburban attached properties throughout the Western United States. The firm is a trusted partner to global leaders in residential development and finance, providing buyer-driven sales and marketing strategies that produce industry-leading results. The Mark Company has represented more than 10,000 residences and generated over $5 billion in sales for some of the nation’s most notable and successful developments including The Infinity in San Francisco, Evo in Los Angeles and The Martin in Las Vegas. Current projects include 181 Fremont Residences and The Austin in San Francisco and Cavalleri in Malibu. The Mark Company is a subsidiary of San Francisco-based Pacific Union International, the eighth-largest residential real estate brokerage in the U.S. based on 2016 sales volume of $10.15 billion. Pacific Union merged with Los Angeles-based brokerages John Aaroe Group in December 2016 and Partners Trust in August 2017. This strategic business collaboration links four of the strongest residential real estate firms on the West Coast, supporting combined 2016 production of $12.6 billion by 1,400 real estate professionals in 47 offices throughout California. For more information, please visit