In resale condos, do empty rooms have the same appeal?

55 E Erie St #5201 55 E Erie St #5201

The existing interior design or staging of a resale property can increase or sometimes decrease a home’s desirability, but it always leaves an impression. Check out this 52nd-floor penthouse at 55 E Erie St in Streeterville. According to broker Rubloff, the condo has recently been “completely redone” with $2 million in upgrades and finishes by design firm Gregga Jordan Smieszny. Judging by these mostly empty rooms, do you think this pad has the same jaw-dropping effect it might have if it were all decked out in expensive furniture and art work?

The three-bedroom condo has 4,165 square feet, 11-foot ceiling heights, Terrazzo floors, a kitchen by Bulthaup, Gascogne Bleu French limestone countertops, heated bathroom floors and three terraces. The $3.8 million price tag includes two deeded parking spaces.

55 E Erie St #5201 55 E Erie St #5201

55 E Erie St #5201 55 E Erie St #5201

55 E Erie St #5201 55 E Erie St #5201


  • This issue haunts me. I think price point matters in this too. If a listing is in the $300,000K range, I will ask the owner to make the most obvious and cost effective improvements: Paint, carpets, caulk the bathrooms, etc… But staging is a tough one. The investment for staging varies, but usually can be exspensive to the seller and Realtor without proven results. If it is minimally staged, wouldn’t that money be better spent on repairs to the unit or replacing appliances… that sort of thing?

    I think a nicely decorated unit helps… that’s my inclination. But the numbers are not there to prove it to a seller. I would like to provide the staging in some instances if it’s cost effective relative to the commission, market placement of the unit, etc…

    I have been through this. I had a unit where the sellers moved out. At first…they had a cute place with the furniture in it, but they listed 20K over what I pleaded with them to list at.
    When they moved out, they were slow to paint the place and do some improvements I asked for. Then, they finally did some stuff, but after I had a ton of showings.

    Now, they are using another agent who has “staged” (minimally) the unit… they are 10K under what I asked for in the first place in the spring and the unit is still on the market! Maybe it’s the no deck, no parking, on a busy street thing and not the staging.

    I currently have another empty listing, but it has been painted and is tip top shape. Tons of showings. Would staging help it? It would be $1000 at least to make it worth it. Would sellers want to split this cost without proof it will help?

  • anon 11 years

    To Stage Or Not To Stage…I’m really ambivalent about this. Some buyers like to see furniture in a room because it helps them imagine how it could accommodate their stuff. Others prefer seeing bare rooms because the furniture “gets in the way” – especially if it’s not to their taste.

    I think some minimal furnishings in basic sizes can frequently help – especially beds in smaller bedrooms – but then again, seeing a knockout city view from an unencumbered living room is a good selling incentive, too.

    As I said, I’m ambivalent.

  • In many instances, condos do not show well when empty. This one looks fantastic in photos without anything inside; owing probably to the rich and varied materials throughout. If this was a beige box – not so good.