St. Louis Condo: Market Prep

Whitney VredenburghCheck out the before and after photos below to see how a little market prep can make a big difference!

Buying property is typically the largest investment a person will ever make. And, let’s face it, it’s part of the American Dream.  Being a first-time home buyer is exciting but can also be a stressful process. My first home was a 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom condo in St. Louis in 2007. I was single, early in my marketing career, earning a master’s degree, and enjoying city life.

It also became the place where I lived with my husband, Steve. We lived there until 2011 when I became pregnant with our first nugget, Ainsley.  We needed more space for our family but the market was still weak from the ’07 recession. Renting out the property was our best option…for about 9 years! 

Condo Pre-Renovation

Fast forward to this past summer, we decided that the market was strong enough to sell.  The condo complex was originally built in 1938 and renovated in 1979. The property has a lot of charm – a beautiful fireplace surround, built-in bookcases, original flooring (and it’s even listed on the National Historic Register!) – but it needed some work to get it market ready.

Below are some before pictures. As you can see, there were some things that needed updating. Putting your best foot forward as a homeowner is the BEST investment you can make.

Condo Preparation and Reveal

So, in order to prepare the condo for the market, we did the following:

  • Refinished all the hardwood floors
  • Put in a new bathroom vanity, mirror, and fixture, and painted it Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams
  • Installed new light fixtures throughout the rest of the unit
  • Painted all the walls White Dove by Benjamin Moore and accented the built-in bookcases in the living room with Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams
  • Hired Hometenders to stage the property
  • And finally, we hired a realtor to sell our condo. It pays to work with a professional. (I am not a fan of FSBO.)

The pictures below reflect an entirely new, refreshed space.  We invested $5,500 in the condo (staging was $2,000, contractor was $1,500, floors were $1,000, vanity, lighting, and mirrors were $1,000).  And received a cash offer for $148,000 the first day it was live ! (We had it listed it at $155,000.)


The main takeaway is that preparing a property by making smart updates really did pay off. Homes sell based on location, price, and condition. In our case, the condo was in a great location at a competitive price and the market prep we did made it feel like a new place.

Focus on the areas that will make the biggest impact and accentuate what makes it unique. In this case, the beautiful restored original floors combined with a fresh new coat of paint alone did wonders. By painting the unique, built-in bookcases with a bold, dark color, it makes them pop and become a more noticeable, beautiful feature. And, with only one bathroom, it was important for it to be updated, so we focused on the vanity, which made all the difference. It also goes to show that you don’t always have to do a complete demo to make a space like a bathroom beautiful again. We left the classic flooring, shower and the stained-glass window feature alone.

While it was a bittersweet moment to sell my first property, I’m happy the new owner will enjoy it for years to come. If you find yourself in a similar situation of wanting to sell your home, but are wondering how to go about it, please contact us today for a consultation. We’d love to help you make the most of your investment!