There are a lot of reasons why property sellers are eager to secure a fast sale. They may need to relocate for work, or move into a catchment area to get their child a place at a top school. Whatever your reason for wanting a quick move, there are many actions you can take to increase interest in your property and in turn, speed up the selling process.
In addition to quality brochures, professional photography and property advertising in local and national publications, it may be a good idea to ensure your home looks its best.
Homestaging is a great way to do this. Professional homestagers are experts in interior design, with specialist knowledge of how to sell a house. They work within a client’s budget to make the interiors more appealing to buyers.
To give Fine & Country readers a taste of what homestagers can offer, some professionals from across the world have shared their top tips.
1. Empty homes don’t always work
Trish Pead of House In Order says it’s important to start with the basics. Before you think about the positioning and style of your furniture, it’s important to have some in the first place. “Always furnish and dress an empty property. Up to 85% of people are unable to visualise how a room will look if it’s not furnished, and it will also appear soulless and cold.”
2. Distance yourself
Trish says a seller needs to distance themselves from the house and look at it through an outsider’s eyes. “This can be very difficult for the seller as they are surrounded by all their beloved personal items, but it can be the biggest stumbling block. Personal clutter needs to be packed away and put into storage. This includes family photographs, collectables and ostentatious ornaments to name just a few. Decluttering makes a property lighter and brighter and allows the potential buyer to visualise themselves living there.”
3. Evaluate absolutely everything
Anita Richardson, HouseWow CEO, says that every single part of the house must be evaluated when trying to distance yourself from the sentimental value of a property. “Try to take a fresh look at your home as new buyers will see it. Stand in each doorway and really, truly take off the rose tinted glasses of familiarity and sentimentality.”
4. Keep the warmth
But at the same time, Anita warns, it is important that homeowners don’t take this to extremes and strip a property of personal warmth. This could discourage potential buyers from getting a positive feeling during their visit to the house.
5. Less can be more
To maximise the use of space, Trish says: “Less is more when presenting a property. Too much furniture or very large pieces can make a room look small. Too many pictures or bookcases spilling over can make a room look enclosed. The right presentation and small stylistic changes can highlight the positive aspects of a property and minimise the negatives.”
Suzy Maas, who founded interior styling company The Final Touch in 1999, says it’s important to think about the impression that décor is having. “Harmonise and neutralise colour schemes to appeal to the majority of viewers. Make displays of pictures and ornaments neat, but try to inject a bit of creativity whenever you can.”
Kimberly Ducate, Luxury Home Staging, says that a fresh coat of paint will give home owners a 150% return back on their investment, making it a sensible and easy change to make.
7. Find the balance between neutral and boring
Michelle Roberts of Homestaging Bath adds that neutral doesn’t have to be boring. “Although neutral tones undoubtedly sell, it doesn’t mean your home has to be dull or, at the other extreme, over coordinated. The eclectic look is very much in, so find your inner creative and use accessories, lighting, textiles and artwork to add interest and colour, choosing a simple but striking palette to work within.”
8. Splash of colour
Kimberly has a few ways to make a room come to life. “Accent pillows are a quick way to update a sofa, bed or chair. It’s a good idea to use a pop of colour to bring the design of a room together, and a bright coloured cushion can work well.”
9. Let there be light
Another tip is to maximise the light coming into your property. Michelle says: “Light is well known for helping to sell a home, so take down big heavy curtains or blinds. If you need privacy, buy a few metres of gorgeous voile and drape it over the curtain pole.”
10. Soft mood lighting
Make sure indoor lights are turned on, even for daylight viewings, to give the feeling of warmth. “In dark rooms, invest in lamps or floor lights and avoid harsh overhead lighting when showing buyers around,” Michelle Roberts says.
Suzy adds: “Side lamps rather than overhead lighting to give a room a softer, more welcoming feel. Soft glow bulbs help to add to this effect.”
11. Give rooms a function
With regards to spare rooms without beds in, Suzy says there are a few ways to make them more appealing to buyers. “Always think about what sort of person will be buying your property and prepare it accordingly. A large family house may benefit from an area designated as a play area, whereas a small bachelor pad may benefit from an office area. If you have a room that is just used for storage, put a bed inside so it has a clear function.”
12. Dated homes can be dreary
For those who haven’t had a major refurbishment of their property in several years, Michelle has a suggestion. “Dated homes, however big, can be off-putting to affluent young families seeking lifestyle appeal, so if you want to sell at a premium to this audience, consider storing larger items and renting a few contemporary pieces to instantly transform the look and feel of your home. It’s easy, hassle-free and relatively cost effective.”
Accessories can have a big impact on making a house seem like a home. “It’s worth investing in a few healthy plants, fluffy towels and crisp bed linen to give the impression of a loved and cared for home,” Suzy advises.
14. Remember the garden
Don’t forget about how the outside of your property is styled. It’s the first thing that a potential buyer will see, and first impressions really count when selling a property. Suzy has some tips: “In the outside space, remove weeds and dead leaves and cut back overgrown plants to create a pleasant garden. First impressions count, so have your front door freshly painted and polish the knob and knocker.”
15. The outside view
Likewise, don’t forget that some of your interiors can be seen from outside your house, so make sure it looks tidy from both viewpoints. “Think of how your curtains look from the outside of your property, and make sure they are arranged neatly before a viewing,” Suzy says.
16. Leave space for dining
Separate dining rooms have become less common now that open plan living is popular, but a home should still contain some form of dining space. “Even if you personally wouldn’t use it, give your home a clear dining area as it gives the feeling of communal living,” Suzy advises.
17. Set a realistic budget for renovations
Be reasonable about how much you are willing to spend. It can be easy to get carried away when a property isn’t selling, but it’s important to always weigh up the cost of work against the chance that it will sell your home. Michelle says: “Although new en suites can add value, it’s generally not worth putting in a new kitchen if you hope to move shortly.”
18. Spring clean
Even when the interior of a property is perfect, do not underestimate the importance of a thoroughly cleaned property. “Clean, clean and clean some more,” Kimberly says, “A clean house portrays a well-maintained home in great condition, which will make buyers even more likely to make an offer on a property.”
19. The biggest spend doesn’t always make the biggest impact
“If you decide that replacing things in your home isn’t cost effective, there can be a way around it. It is often worth painting cupboards and tiles in a neutral tone to create a more airy space. Similarly, if floorboards are in reasonable condition and therefore don’t need to be replaced, clean and varnish or paint them,” Michelle says.
20. Inspire viewers
It can be a good idea to show viewers where any untapped potential lies. “You may not have converted your loft into another bedroom, but maybe a neighbour already has. Ask if you can go around and take pictures, and then show them to potential buyers to illustrate what they could do to the property. You could also take it a step further and ask the local authority for advice on planning permission, or do some drawings to give viewers ideas,” says Michelle.
21. Steal inspiration
Anita has some clever sources of inspiration. “Go to view a new development show home for a house of similar value to what you’re selling. The up-to-date luxurious furnishings and finishes mesmerise buyers to dream about what they could have and how they could live. The doors, architrave, carpets, flooring, bathrooms and kitchens are all brand new. You may not be able to achieve the brand new finish but you can update and refresh key areas of your home to attract buyers and achieve a sale at the best price.”
22. Quality of interiors reflects on the perceived quality of the house
She also believes that buyers can tell if finishings are of good quality or not, and low-quality finishings reflect poorly on the property. “Master bedrooms must be hotel quality finish with new pillows, duvets, bedding, colour co-ordinated scatter cushions and floor length curtains,” Anita advises.
23. Hire ahomestager
If you would like more guidance, Trish has a solution. “Having a property professionally staged will give it a ‘wow factor’, so I encourage sellers to give it a go and I’m sure they will be pleasantly surprised by the results.”
For more information on the homestaging services offered by the designers featured in this article, please visit their websites:
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