Your home is a stage, now put on a show!
If you live in America and want to sell your property for “top dollar” in the quickest time – you call a home stager.
Invented by an American, Barb Schwarz in 1972, home staging is now a multimillion dollar industry which revolutionised the U.S. real estate industry and the way in which Americans sell their homes. Put simply, it’s the act and art of preparing a home for sale to make it more appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling it quickly without dropping the asking price.
The staging trend has recently taken off in the UK as sellers have become savvier, realising that nine out of 10 viewers fail to see the potential in property, but a well-presented home will attract more attention, more viewings and quicker sales at the asking price or even add value.
Not everyone has an eye for interior design, but a home stager is an expert in the best way to present a property. By working with what you already have, removing what doesn’t work and adding “props” like lamps, cushions, throws and art work, they can transform a room in just a couple of hours.
We spoke with home staging expert Molly Marshall of Molly Marshall Home Staging to get an expert opinion on the home staging craze.
She said: “If you’re looking to sell your home, home staging really is a no brainer. For a relatively small cost – usually around 1% of the property value – you can increase your return by up to 15% by simply presenting your home in the best way possible.
Staging your home will always cost less than the first price drop you may have to consider if you are not getting enough viewers. Today, 97% of homes are sold as a result of buyers looking at them on the internet and if the property looks dull, dark, cluttered and untidy then buyers will simply move on to the next property. In most cases, our home is our most valued asset so why wouldn’t we want to get the very best price we can for it?”
Molly, who trained in the both the UK and extensively in the U.S. with a team of successful estate agents and stagers, gave an example of a property she has recently staged.
“My client’s home had previously been valued at £349,000. I was called in to stage the property at a cost of £1,000 to ensure a quick and easy sale. When the valuer returned to take the photographs, he re-valued the house at £385,000. Increasing the property’s value by £36,000 in just a week. With a great set of photographs we were confident that the newly presented and appealing property would make a quick sale - and it did!”
Molly’s top staging tips to achieve a sale:
Cut the clutter! De-clutter then de-clutter again. Get boxes and tape and start packing. Have a place for everything. Make sure anything that’s not on display is tucked away and neatly organised – shoes, coats, papers, pots and pans.
Depersonalise. Take down and store personal family photographs, birthday cards, fridge magnets and children’s artwork. This will make it easier for viewers to imagine themselves living in your home.
Create kerb appeal. Cut the lawn, trim bushes and trees, put some nice pots or a hanging basket outside, paint peeling doorways with a fresh coat of paint and polish letter boxes and knockers until they gleam. First impressions count and buyers will scrutinise everything while waiting for you to answer the door.
Look down! People walk in and wipe their feet. One of the first things they‘ll notice is the condition of the floor. Stained carpets, ragged rugs and scratched floors are easy fixes. Rent a carpet cleaner for the weekend if necessary.
We all dread the words “what’s that smell?!” Buyers associate musty smells with mould or disrepair so banish pets, smelly trainers or last night’s garlic spaghetti and use an air freshener, scented candle or Oust to eliminate any unwelcome smells.
Scale back your furniture. When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate your room sizes by removing one or two pieces of furniture and store them out of sight.
Clean then clean again. Knock down cobwebs, scrub grout, mop floors, wash light fittings, polish the oven, fridge, microwave, sink and any other appliances. A really clean property gives buyers the impression that it has been well maintained.
Let the sunshine in! Clean windows inside and out, wipe sills, raise blinds to the top and pull back curtains. Today’s buyers want light