It goes without saying that the most crucial factor in selling a property is how the property is presented to potential residents. A home staging gives buyers a cohesive idea of the space’s character, allowing them to explore the property and envision their lives there. The smallest things can have a major effect on the reception of a home, even the inclusion of an instrument. PianoPiano CEO Sarah Binder Mehta understands this, which is why she’s expanded her piano rental business into the realm of real estate, where more and more brokers are using her service to incorporate these elegant pieces into their stagings. Mann Report Residential sat down with Mehta to discuss the expansion of Piano Piano into real estate and the effect this has in a home showing.
Mann Report Residential: Where did the initial idea to incorporate your pianos into home showings come from?
Sarah Binder Mehta: This is a business that grew organically for us. We were always in the long-term piano rental business—but mostly for home use by either professional musicians or families with children taking piano lessons. We had a reputation for renting new and like new pianos, and so real estate agents and stagers began contacting us to provide pianos for apartments and homes they had on the market. As our reputation grew for providing perfect pianos that always looked amazing, more and more stagers contacted us. Now, at any given time, we have 25 or more pianos out on staging rentals.
MRR: How does the process work? Do you collaborate with the brokers and sellers to find the right piano for each individual staging?
SBM: Many times the stager is an interior designer or is working with a designer. We’re able to provide photos and dimensions to the stagers and designers so they can understand how the piano will fit into their space and what it will look like. We also have a showroom where some designers like to come view the pianos and finishes that are available. And, if all else fails, we’ll switch the piano as many times as necessary until we get it right. We’ve even done deliveries with two or three pianos on the truck so the designer could see them all in the space and choose the one they like best.
MRR: How do you think this affects potential buyers? What is it about a piano that exudes this air of sophistication?
SBM: I think incorporating a piano into staging has several beneficial effects. First, it gives a real impression as to the scale of the space in photos. Many people shop for and view apartments online, even at the high end, before they go to view the apartment in person. Having a piano in the room really gives a sense of how large the space is—everyone knows a grand piano is pretty big, so having one in the space shows just how large that space really is. Second, pianos are a sign of education, upward mobility, and sophistication. Having one in a space really sets the tone for the kind of apartment this is and allows the potential buyer to identify with the type of life they could live there. We’ve even seen stagers beginning to use uprights in family type apartments to give that feeling of having younger children taking lessons and everyone gathered around the piano.
MRR: Do buyers ever inquire about purchasing a piano when they see it in the staging?
SBM:We have had some buyers who inquired about purchasing the piano with the apartment, which is something we’re always willing to do. Of course, it’s easier for the buyer because the piano is already there. We’ve also had buyers who continued to rent the piano from us—as I mentioned earlier, our main business is long-term rental for home use, so we’re able to easily switch the rental contract from the stager over to the buyer or renter of the property.
MRR: In your opinion, do you feel that the inclusion of a piano in a home staging leads to quicker and easier sells?
SBM: A piano in home staging helps to create an impression of elegance and sophistication in the home and allows buyers to picture their lives in the apartment. Anything that inspires buyers to see themselves living in the property will help to sell an apartment quickly and more easily—and a piano definitely falls into that category.