It’s always interesting going into a new apartment community and seeing the model for the first time. There have been countless times where I have been blown away by the attentiveness to detail, the collaboration of colors and the clever placement of furniture. On the flip side, there have been times where the apartment has not been setup according to their target market.

A model apartment home should be designed, as Jeffrey Spanke put it, “with some reality and the feel of a real home”. There is a 30 second threshold once the prospect walks through the model apartment doors in which they will make their decision on whether or not they want to live at that community. Therefore, it is very important to take advantage of extraneous factors (use of space, decorative setup, etc.) to sway the prospect’s decision.

  • If the living room looks like it is meant to only have one couch, then do not try to squeeze two couches inside of the apartment, because it’s going to make the room appear smaller and cramped. If a bedroom only has enough room for a queen size bed, do not put a king size bed in the room. Put the bed size that the room was intended for and just make      sure your leasing agents are prepared with three solutions for each potential objection that may follow about the size of the room.
  • When it comes to figuring out a decorative theme be careful not to over or under price your model.  It is appropriate to have a model with all the “sizzle and sparkle” of a high end apartment if you are on an A to A+ property.  However some of these items can appear very expensive on a B or C property and can make your prospect overly price sensitive.  If your community is made for student living, then design the apartment in a way that a college student will feel as if the apartment was designed for students to live there.
  • Some people like the look of fake food, but other like me are not a fan. Fake food can date an apartment and tend to weather poorly over time.  Be careful as to the food you choose as it might not appear appetizing to the prospect.  I shopped a property  where they had plates of sushi in the bathroom.  Personally, I love sushi but in the bathroom?  Fake food can oftentimes take the prospects attention off the physical features of the apartment and lead to the leasing agent having to spend the remainder of the tour trying to regain the prospect’s focus on the actual apartment.

These are just a few key pointers to keep in mind when it comes to decorating a model apartment. The prospect needs to immediately think, “this is an apartment that I can see myself living in.” Consider size, target market and appeal to all 5 senses when decorating your model and you will create a great representation of the type of home your community can deliver.