With so much competition around these days, it is essential to show your Mayfair, Knightsbridge or South Kensington property at its most impressive. Research shows that people make up their mind whether or not they want to buy a property within seconds of entering it.
And 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.
Doing this well can result in your home being sold much sooner than it would have ordinarily. Not only that, but it can also boost its price – especially if more than one buyer falls in love with your layout, décor or home’s general ambiance.
There are a number of ways of staging a house for sale to make it look more appealing. You can do this yourself or, if you’re pushed for time or ideas, get in a professional home stager to do it for you. In the meantime, if you’re opting for the former, then here are some initial ideas for you to consider below.
If, on the other hand, you would rather get in a professional home stager then you can expect to pay around £300 a day. There will usually be an initial free consultation when you can find out exactly what the home stager can do for you. If you are looking for a total make-over then expect to pay upwards of £5,000. Those costs are for research (ie sourcing fabrics and furniture hire), transportation and styling.
Yes, it can be a lot of money for a specific purpose, but if your Belgravia, Marble Arch or Hyde Park home sells for a lot more than it would have otherwise, then bringing in a professional with the main purpose of dressing your house for sale, is well worth the money. One recent report, for instance, calculated that home staging can actually increase your home’s value by as much as 10 per cent. Another, by the company Mattresses Online, put the value slightly higher – at 17 per cent. That means the more valuable your home, the more potential there is for profit when you employ some home staging techniques.
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 way to make a property look smaller than it actually is, is to have lots of clutter lying around. Experts agree that the length of time you’ve had your home for, is in direct correlation to the amount of clutter you’ll have lying around. Another reason having lots of ‘stuff’ lying around looks bad when it comes to a property viewing, is that it tells any potential buyer that there can’t be a lot of storage (otherwise surely you wouldn’t need to leave everything lying around).
Get rid of the junk somehow – even if that means storing it in a friend’s home or paying for it to be in storage until you manage to find a buyer for your home.
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 generally most prefer a space to be light-filled, bright and spacious. The way to achieve this is obviously to allow as much daylight into the room as possible. That means changing thick curtains to lighter ones, or even removing them altogether. If your viewers are coming in the evening or in the winter when it gets darker earlier, then make sure have lamps on in dark corners to ‘widen out’ the space. Another good trick to make a room appear brighter (and larger) is to hang a mirror opposite a window.
10. Define every space
You will find that many buyers lack the imagination to see beyond your home’s 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. If your sofa is looking a bit worn, for instance, then hire a plush version for a few weeks until you get the house sold. You can also hire works of art and accessories to brighten up what at first glance appears to be a rather dull space. Just a word of caution though – it may be that you have to stay in your home while it is staged – so make sure you put away all the expensive artefacts during the day when there are no viewers (or at least know you won’t accidentally knock anything over and find yourself thousands of pounds out of pocket.
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 West London home look cluttered a few well-placed items adds to its appeal by helping 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. Boost your outdoors
Use your outdoors space well and it can have the feel of another room in your Central London property – especially when the weather is warm, such as in the summer and spring. Having decking, a patio or a terrace all add to the appeal of a property. Set up seating so you can eat outdoors, lay out plenty of greenery and even a water feature. What about a fire pit or even a barbecue area? Some home owners can’t see past their outdoor pizza oven when it comes to entertaining with friends alfresco.
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.