Home Staging: is the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money. (Definition from Wikipedia)
When I first started, Estate Agents were using real photographs on property details, the internet didn’t exist and mobile phones were attached to briefcase sized batteries. Now, every property program shows you to some degree how to stage your home, you can garner information from thousands of sources on the internet or even hire your own home stager.
Over the years nothing has really changed, if you want to sell your home, quickly and for the highest possible price, you have to do more than just plonk a for sale sign on your front lawn and keep your fingers crossed.
If you are thinking of selling your home, then this is the time to start, by the time it is on the open market for sale and all the photos have been taken it is generally to late.
Why: The more purchasers that want to buy your home, the higher the price and you get the choice of the buyer that is in the best position for you.
Cost: This can range from just time and energy to thousands of pounds dependant on what is needed.
Time Scale: This is not a five minute job (unless you live in a show home and have no kids) and can take some planning. If you opt to undertake this by yourself, then your time scale will change due to inconveniences such as work and life.
Does It Work: When we sold our last home, we had four Estate Agents come to value our house, the valuations ranged from £325,000 – £365,000. We spent the next four weeks decluttering, repainting, re-varnishing, scrubbing, cleaning and changing over the kitchen work surface and sink. I called one Agent back and placed our home on the market at £400,000 (One Agent actually laughed at me when they chased me up). On the first day we had a block viewing of 11 potential purchasers, followed by 6 offers, two days after going on the market we accepted an offer of £405,000 – not bad for a layout of £1,965.
If you decide to use a home stager and their preferred contractors, then put your feet up and let them do their job, if however, like us, you decide that you can tackle the task at hand then here is how I advised my clients what to do.
Start: You have to remove the familiarity that you have with your home and look at it with fresh eyes (or a straight talking family member or friend), look from the outside and then at each room inside, taking pictures as you go. These photos are exactly what the potential purchaser will see when they come to view your home, look at them and look at them again and again. Externally you may need to trim back those shrubs and trees and dig over the flower boarders, find a place for the wheelie bins and remove dead leaves etc. (weather permitting). Internally your first objective is to declutter and depersonalize, box it all up and pop it in the loft or in storage.
Middle: Although you don’t quite have a blank canvass to work from, you do have the ability to look deeper at your home and find all those imperfections that you have lived with for many years. Go around each room in your home and write a list of exactly what needs doing, start at floor level (carpets and flooring), skirting boards, walls (look for holes, dents, cracks, look at your curtains/blinds, light switches and plug sockets) and the ceiling (look for cracks, patches and light fittings). Go through the list you have made and complete all the repairs/replacements that are needed. By decluttering you have made your home look more spacious, but I recommend that you go the whole distance and repaint, using light yet warm colours to further increase that spacious feeling.
Finish: At this point you my feel that your home has become nothing more than a house, that’s fine, your trying to sell it and the most important people in this transaction will be pouring through your door to view it. But you are not finished yet, you still have some hard work to do. Let us start with cleaning and I don’t mean a run around with the vacuum and polish, I mean a deep clean (purchasers love to touch things and open cupboards and giving them greasy dusty/fingers together with pungent smells is not the way to entice them to buy). Now it’s time for the fun bit, jump on the internet and look at images of Home Staging or Show homes, dining tables are always set, flowers are fresh, coffee tables are clear, each cushion has its place and every light is on, so have some fun and create your very own eye candy in your home.
25 years ago my clients initially though I was trying to make my job easier, but when they achieved higher prices and moved before their on market competition they soon changed their tune.