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Home staging: Is it worth it?

If you are selling your home, you will have to prepare for viewings when prospective buyers visit your home to see if it’s right for them. Obviously you want your home to be seen at its very best to tempt people to buy. Enter home staging, a way to prepare your home professionally for sale.

What is home staging?

Home staging companies will help you to make your home attractive to as many buyers as possible. The price for these services varies and some offer different levels of staging. Staging involves moving furniture, using art, flowers, and accessorise to style the rooms, and improving the design or layout of a space to maximise its potential.

Home staging is an easy way to make sure your home is at its best, it’s very hard to detach yourself from your own home and notice clutter and mismatch, but unfortunately, it’s the first thing that buyers see. Of course, you live in your home, and it is yours to style as you wish, but to make as much money as possible, sometimes it’s best to get it looking more attractive to a wider audience than just you and your family.

How much does home staging cost?

The price you pay for home staging is relative to the amount of time and money involved, but it may be one of the most lucrative projects you ever undertake.

You can choose to only stage certain rooms if you wish, which may be more cost-effective. Although every room should be looking its best, the living room, kitchen, bathrooms, and outdoor living spaces are all important areas to focus on when staging your home. These can be expensive to change, so people will want them to be in a ‘ready to live in’ condition where possible.

What does a home stager do?

Before the professional photographer comes in to take pictures, a team or single home stylist/stager will visit your property and optimise its appearance through furniture, mirrors, artwork, plants, and soft furnishings.

They may remove some personal items, so try not to be offended by this. Children’s drawings on the fridge or too many family photos may not work with a more neutral pallet, so they might replace them or leave them out altogether.

Although they will tidy up a little, don’t expect them to clean your home. If you are worried about dirt or larger mess, hire a professional cleaner beforehand or take some time to do it yourself.

How can you stage your home?

So how exactly can you stage your home if you don’t want to pay for someone else to do it? Well Gordon Roberts, a broker with Sotheby’s International Realty says

“Good staging is a form of visual merchandising that draws on some of the fundamentals of interior design. The object of staging is to flatter the property but not be too obvious about it, like being dressed without drawing particular attention to what you’re wearing.”

Your home needs to allow potential buyers to imagine themselves in the home, shows off its good features and hides its flaws. With all of this in mind, here are our tips and tricks to home staging for yourself:

1. Clean up

A clean home shows potential buyers that you've taken good care of the property. Ideally, you should clean every part of the house, from the floors to the ceilings and everything in between. Pay particular attention to bathrooms and kitchens where nastier smells can linger.

2. Declutter

Clutter distracts buyers from your home's features and can make it seem like the home has less space. Box up and put into storage the things you don't need on a day-to-day basis and try to show off your home’s storage spaces as empty as possible to show their potential. This is a great time for that pre-move clear out!

3. Depersonalise

Buyers need to be able to envision themselves in your home. It might seem odd, but too many personal items can be distracting and not help someone picture their own belongings in the space. Keep clothes hidden away as much as possible, and make sure the bathroom counters and shelves throughout the home are as clear and neutral as you can.

4. Plants

If you have a lot of plants, space them out strategically so they don't overwhelm any one area. Dead and dying plants aren’t very appealing so try to keep the healthier ones to the forefront of any displays. Plants or fresh flowers always make a home seem inviting, so if you don’t have any it’s good to invest.

5. Smells

Pets, last night's dinner, a damp bathroom, none of these smells should be lingering as people view your home. open a window if the weather is good or use a lightly scented air freshener or candle beforehand. Again, a strong cleaning product smell isn’t attractive, the aim is for fresh and clean scents. Essential oils, herbs and flowers, beeswax candles, and air purifiers are chemical-free ways to freshen the air in your home.

6. Define the space

Make sure that each room has a single, defined purpose. It helps your potential buyers to see what they can use the space for and how to maximise the home. If it is usually an empty spare room, pop a chair, side table, and some books in there so it still shows potential.

7. Lighting

Take advantage of your home's natural light, open all curtains and blinds when showing your home. Fix broken fixtures where necessary or add shades to any naked bulbs. Make sure all the switches are clean too.

8. Furniture

Furniture that's too big will make a room look small, while too little or too small furniture can make a space feel cold. Make sure it all fits in the room so there’s space to move and relax and arrange it in a way that makes each room feel spacious and easy to navigate. Make sure it’s clean with pillows fluffed on sofas and beds made.

9. Outside

The exterior and the entryway are the first things viewers are going to see, which is why it’s called ‘curb appeal’. Head outside and take a good look at your home. Tidy any front gardens or place pots with flowers to add interest if it’s a bit plain outside. Wash windows and, if you can, power wash your home's exterior walls. This can make it look almost freshly painted but with much less effort.

The garden should be as tidy as you can. And if you aren’t green fingered that’s ok as long as the plants you do have aren’t overgrown and your fences are upright and secure. Any outdoor furniture should be clean too and arranged to look inviting.

10. Final touches

Just before any open house or showing, put fresh flowers in vases, let fresh air into the house for at least ten minutes, light a few candles (soft and subtle fragrances only), and put new, plush towels in the bathrooms. It’s these little details that can make all the difference to your home.