Decluttering, cleaning windows and cutting the grass is all good practice when you're selling up. But what about going one step further by 'staging' your home?
The appearance of your home once it's on the market is entirely up to you. But it's generally a case of maximum effort, maximum results. You'll get more prospective buyers and potentially sell more quickly.
What is property staging?
Property staging involves giving your home a face lift to make it more desirable to potential buyers.
Although this can begin with new kitchens and bathrooms, makeovers for staging can also be very simple and affordable.
The objective of staging is to make changes which help viewers imagine themselves – and their belongings – in your home.
By taking steps to ‘dress’ your property and transform your space, you could end up getting not only a quicker sale, but potentially even a higher price.
While many sellers are happy to do some research and ‘stage’ their homes themselves, you can also opt to pay for a specialist company to come and stage your home for you.
When would you need it?
Home staging can be particularly useful in a slow market, as it could help clinch a sale.
Rather than slash your asking price if your property isn’t attracting offers, you could look at getting your house in tip-top shape instead.
In a stronger market, home staging can help you get a higher price.
Is staging an American thing?
In the US, homeowners have known for years that it makes sense to create the right look and feel for their property, as ‘showing off’ their property gets their homes sold – and fast.
And professional home staging – where you sell a lifestyle to potential buyers – is very popular across the pond.
Is it worth it?
Here in the UK, lots of homeowners like the idea of getting an interior designer to help create their dream home when they’re living in it, but can be less enthusiastic about home staging when they come to sell.
Many question whether it’s worth the money and disruption, given they are about to move out. However, you may find the cost and effort of staging is small when compared to the returns and benefits it could bring.
Who does home staging appeal to?
By making your home fresher, smarter and more universally appealing, home staging will appeal to almost anyone viewing it to potentially buy and live in.
Who would home staging benefit?
While property staging is often associated with sellers, it can also be used by landlords to attract tenants, bolster rent and reduce void periods (times when the place is not let).
If your home is currently empty, staging from scratch can make it feel much warmer and appealing.
However, investors and property developers are more likely to see past staging to the footprint and potential of the property.
How do you go about staging your home?
Staging is about getting your home up to scratch which doesn't always mean major improvements such as new kitchens or bathrooms.
It's about making the most of what you have.
If you're planning to stage your home yourself, here are some ways to go about it:
- Replace cupboard handles, and give the walls a lick of paint
- Update the bathroom taps, re-grout the tiles, or clean up the grouting
- Paint walls a pale, neutral tone
- Give every room a clear purpose. Consider turning the upstairs study back into a bedroom, for example
- Cut back and tidy the front garden, sweep the front drive and put the wheelie bin out of sight
- Declutter and show as much floor and shelf space as possible (including inside wardrobes). Store items such as dog beds and children’s toys in the garage, shed – or, temporarily, even in your car
- Use mirrors to open up spaces and reflect light. This can work particularly well in narrow hallways
- Hire professional cleaners, paying particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom. Deep clean carpets too
- Keep kitchen surfaces clear, and remove fridge magnets and other personal effects
- Clean windows and open them to let in fresh air
- Switch on lights and keep the home at a comfortable temperature
- Make all beds with neutral fresh matching linen, add blankets and plump cushions
- Buy new matching towels which can be folded and displayed
- Set the dining table with as many places as it seats with matching mats and crockery
- Buy fresh flowers
- Make sure your home smells good
- Use apps such as Pinterest for inspiration and ideas.
How much will a professional home staging firm cost?
If you’ve got the budget, you could consider splashing out on a ‘staging professional’ or a ‘home staging’ company to help you get your home looking its best.
This type of service might appeal if you are too busy to make your home buyer-friendly, or it's just been languishing on the market for too long.
Generally speaking, a home staging firm will offer a free initial meeting to discuss your options.
If you are happy to take their advice, and put their suggestions into action yourself, costs will depend on the work you decide to undertake as a result.
If you go ahead and commission the company, expect to pay anywhere between £20 and £75 an hour.
Services include anything from painting, to improving lighting and hiring more neutral up-to-date furniture and accessories from the staging company.
If your property is at the higher end of the market, you could consider hiring artwork for your wall as it helps viewers 'buy into' a lifestyle.
Can you still live at the property when you’ve staged it?
While it may be easier not to live at your property once it’s been staged, you may have no other option.
If this is the case, be as disciplined as you can about keeping the place meticulously clean and tidy.
Always remember to put out any particular bedding and towels that you have bought specifically for viewings.