You never get a second chance to make that all-important first impression. It will take prospective buyers just a few seconds to decide whether or not they are interested in your property. So it is vital to present your home in the best possible light.
Buyers may have several properties of a similar size to choose from, so you need to ensure that yours is the one they fall in love with instantly. This is where home staging comes in. Home staging is the task of decorating and presenting your property to highlight its most impressive features and help prospective buyers to imagine themselves living there.
1. Focus your attention on the rooms with the most influence
In our experience, the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and master bedroom appearance has the most potential to win buyers over. You will be most rewarded for focusing on these rooms when staging your home.
Don’t worry as much about less influential rooms such as children’s bedrooms, guest bedrooms and studies.
2. Target your buyers
Tastes vary as do buyers’ priorities. Before staging your property for sale, you should identify who your buyers are likely to be and what they would be looking for. A city centre apartment would probably be most attractive to young professionals, favouring contemporary décor, a minimalist look and all mod-cons.
3. Depersonalise the space
Your personal items, including photographs and collections, could prevent your buyers from visualising themselves living in your property. On the other hand, a wholly depersonalised interior could feel cold and unwelcoming. Strike the right balance by removing your bits and pieces, but leaving a few appealing details, such as a vase of flowers or bowl of fruit to create a lived-in feel.
4. Get rid of clutter
The longer you own a property, the more clutter you acquire. You might even be selling your property because you need a larger home to accommodate your possessions. But you don’t want your buyers to worry about space. Clutter makes rooms look smaller and suggests that your home lacks storage. Your bits and pieces could even prevent buyers from imagining how they will use the rooms.
Clear your flat of everything you don’t need, at least while selling the property. If you don’t have anywhere to hide it, ask family and friends for help or rent a storage unit until the flat is sold.
A clean home shows buyers that the property has been cared for. Make sure you clean your home thoroughly from floor to ceiling. If you haven’t cleaned the fridge and oven in a while, now is the time to do it. Your aim should be to make everything look brand new.
Smells are a big turn-off so, avoid cooking anything too pungent before a viewing and always air your house before a viewing. Avoid using artificial air fresheners; your home should smell clean because it is clean.
6. Tackle DIY jobs
Buyers will never fall in love with your home unless you demonstrate that you love it too. Poor maintenance is always a red flag and will leave buyers wondering what else they will have to deal with after they have moved in.
You should tackle any little blemishes, such as cracked tiles, dripping taps and damaged paintwork.
7. Go neutral
Neutral tones will enhance the sense of light and space in your flat while ensuring that the décor appeals to the widest possible audience. Your sophisticated neutrals may not be everyone’s favourite look but won’t offend anyone either. Those neutrals will also create a unified feel and a pleasing flow from room to room.
8. Curb appeal
The front of your house is the first thing that buyers will see, so it is important to make a good impression.
If your front door is looking tired and worn, give it a fresh lick of paint and update the door furniture. Replace the doormat and add a potted plant or two. Make sure any flower beds are tidy and weed-free and if you have a driveway, consider power washing it.
9. Enhance the light
Buyers vary in their priorities, but you can be reasonably sure that most will value light and airy rooms. Maximise the natural light, which floods into your rooms, by replacing heavy drapes with lighter curtains or blinds. Fully open curtains and blinds before viewings and hang mirrors to reflect more light into darker spaces. If you remain concerned about the amount of light, leave the lights on when you or your agent show people around.
10. Define every space
You will find that many buyers lack the imagination to see beyond your homes current layout. There may be rooms or areas that you don’t currently use or use unconventionally. For instance, a spare bedroom might be your sewing room. It is important to present that hobby room as a bedroom and clearly define every space.
Demonstrate that there is room to feature a dining table, even if you don’t need one, and dress any recesses or spare spaces as useful study or seating areas.
If staging your property requires the addition of furniture, you can save money by borrowing or renting the pieces you need.
11.Spruce up your kitchen and bathroom
Buyers’ priorities will vary, but as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, many will be seduced by great kitchens and bathrooms. Fitting a new kitchen can be expensive, but you can achieve a similar effect by replacing the doors of the units. The latest appliances will appeal to young professionals and research consistently demonstrates that granite worktops are on most buyers’ wish lists. You can give your bathroom a swanky face-lift by simply replacing the wall tiles and flooring.
12. Make it look pretty
While too many items will make your home look cluttered a few well-placed items can make your home more appealing help your buyers imagine themselves living there. Place a vase of flowers or a bowl of fruit in the centre of your kitchen table. Add an indoor potted plant to your living room and new cushions for the sofa. Freshen up your bed linen and add scatter-cushions and a throw.
13. Rearrange your furniture
Creating a feeling of space will help your buyers visualise their furniture in each room. Too much furniture or furniture that is too big for a room will make it look small and cramped. Remove any dark and imposing pieces of furniture or any furniture that doesn’t match. Put these in storage until you have sold your property. Rearrange the remaining furniture to make the room look as spacious as possible.
14. Remember the outside space
Whether it is a roof terrace, patio or full-blown garden, make the most of whatever you have got. Make sure it looks well-kept and is not cluttered with children’s toys or garden tools. Create a simple seating area to show the potential for alfresco eating and entertaining. Add bamboo screens or trellising to create privacy from neighbours and use pot plants, window boxes and hanging baskets to give colour (you can always take these with you when you move).
Plaza Estates are one of the capital's leading independent specialist agencies. If you would like expert advice on selling a flat in and around Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Kensington get in touch with us today.