With so much competition in the property market, it is essential to show your Mayfair, Knightsbridge or South Kensington property at its most impressive. Research shows that people decide whether or not they want to buy a property within seconds of entering it. And this is where home staging comes in.
What Is Home Staging?
Home staging is decorating and presenting your property to highlight its most impressive features and help prospective buyers imagine themselves living there. There are many ways to stage a home, from quick, inexpensive tricks like applying a fresh coat of paint to more significant changes requiring more effort and money.
The Benefits Of Home Staging
There are two significant benefits of home staging, they are:
Do staged homes sell faster? Yes - high-quality home staging can result in your home being sold much sooner than it would have ordinarily. Enhancing your home's interior design will give a better impression to potential buyers and allow them to imagine themselves living in your home. Any small home staging techniques that can help your home sell faster will be particularly important if properties are taking longer than usual to sell in your area.
Boost The Price
Even some reasonably basic home staging can help increase the price you achieve for your property. One recent report, for instance, calculated that home staging could increase your home's value by as much as 10 per cent.
Another report by 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.
Painting over marks on walls, fixing any maintenance issues, decluttering rooms and displaying tasteful ornaments are small details that can help achieve a higher price.
How To Stage Your Home
There are several 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. Expect a professional home stager to cost around £300 per day plus any costs for items, repairs etc. Your estate agents will usually be able to recommend professional home stagers in your area of London.
If you want to opt for the more cost-effective option and do the home staging yourself, then here are some initial ideas for you to consider:
14 Tips for Staging Your Home
1. Focus your attention on the rooms with the most influence
In our experience, the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and master bedroom have 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 interior design look and all mod-cons.
3. Depersonalise the space
Your personal items, including family photos and collections, could prevent your buyers from being able to imagine 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. Vacant homes will feel bare and unhomely unless you have some items to make the living space feel like a home.
4. Get rid of clutter
The way to make a property look smaller is to have lots of clutter around. Experts agree that the length of time you've had your home directly correlates to the amount of clutter you'll have lying around.
Having lots of 'stuff' lying around tells potential buyers that there can't be a lot of storage (otherwise, 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. 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 natural light and space in your flat while ensuring that the décor appeals to the broadest possible audience. Your sophisticated neutrals may not be everyone's favourite look but they 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 buyers will see, so it is essential to make a good impression. Curb appeal is all about making your property as appealing as possible from the moment someone arrives outside.
If your front door looks 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 most prefer a light-filled, bright and spacious space. The way to achieve this is to allow as much daylight into the room as possible.
That means changing thick curtains to lighter ones or removing them altogether. If your viewers are coming in the evening or winter when it gets darker earlier, make sure to 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 you don't use or use unconventionally. For instance, a spare bedroom might be your sewing room. Presenting that hobby room as a bedroom and clearly defining every space is essential.
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 a practical study or seating area.
If staging your property requires the addition of furniture, you can save money by borrowing or renting the pieces you need. If your sofa looks a bit worn, for instance, hire a plush version for a few weeks until you sell the house. You can also hire works of art and accessories to brighten up what, at first glance, appears to be a rather dull space.
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 central London home look cluttered, a few well-placed items add to its appeal by helping your buyers to 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 any potential buyer to 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 outdoor space
Use your outdoor space well; it can feel like 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 adds 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?
What Is The Average Cost To Stage Your Home?
If the idea of doing your own home staging sounds like too much hard work and you would rather hire 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 want a complete make-over, expect to pay upwards of £5,000. You can read more about the costs of preparing your home for sale in our blog - Cost of selling a house in London.
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, bringing in professional home stagers is well worth the money.
Plaza Estates are one of the capital's leading independent estate agents. If you would like expert advice on selling a flat in and around Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Kensington, contact us today.