If you are considering selling your property, you may have been wondering whether it’s worth staging your house in order to present it at its absolute best. You may have found yourself watching one of the many ‘house improvement’ shows on the TV and thought to yourself, ‘How do they do that?’ and more to the point, ‘How do they make it look so easy?’.
Home staging, in a nutshell means ‘cleaning, repairing, and updating the decor and furnishings of an older home to make it more attractive when shown to potential buyers’.
It doesn’t have to involve huge expense as some people may think.
We have put together a list of some of the best ways you can improve the ‘saleability’ of your home and so increase your chances of an offer at the price you want.
Have a proper look around your home with ‘objective eyes’. Imagine you are the viewer in your own property. How does your furniture look? Sofas and armchairs are particularly important as they can either make or break a room. If your sofa is shabby and tatty, it makes the whole room seem that way. Maybe it’s a bit dated, or damaged by pets or kids. Sound familiar?! It’s worth spending a bit of cash here; a new sofa or 3-piece suite can literally bring a room to life. There is no need to spend a fortune – have a look in the sales, or buy a showroom model at discount. If you want the same effect for less, use one of the many ‘seek and sell’ pages on Facebook, or try eBay. There are bargains out there.
Are your carpets letting down the look of your home? Are they a tad worn and grubby? Sometimes, particularly in houses where animals or kids live (most of us will understand this first hand!) the flooring can become worn and tired. Invest in a full-house carpet clean with a professional company, or better still, replace all the carpets for new ones. Not only will they improve the photographs, they will also help during viewings, when people make quick choices and decisions about your home.
We don’t recommend that you pick up your paint brush and paint everything cream or magnolia, but you do need to create a feeling of cleanliness and space in your home. A good way to do this is to paint walls in light, neutral tones; this way your viewers will have a better chance of envisaging themselves and their ‘stuff’ in your home. Bold, bright feature walls are fantastic, but are best painted over if your house is up for sale. Otherwise, you risk alienating your potential buyers. Stick to neutral colours which tend to appeal to everyone.
Lighting is extremely important when presenting your home, yet some people forget to invest in good lights. Downlighters and table lamps can help to create a cosy atmosphere in your bedrooms and living rooms, whilst up-lighting can add a splash of drama, and can accentuate any interesting ceiling features. Overhead lights can have a negative effect on the ambiance, and can come across a bit clinical. Lamps, downlighters and picture lights, however, can change the look of a room instantly. There are so many stores that can offer you some great lighting choices, for example, Dunelm Mill, Next, The Range, and B&Q. Good lighting looks fabulous on photos too. Always make sure you turn on lights during viewings, even in the daytime.
There is nothing worse than a dark, dingy home during the daytime, with curtains half closed and hardly any daylight. It gives the impression that the rooms are smaller than they are. Open curtains fully and if it’s a lovely day, open windows too. Make sure blinds are all fully open, particularly if there is a great view from the window.
If you want the ‘wow’ factor in your living room and bedrooms, invest in some new cushions, or cushion covers. They can add a splash of colour and drama to a room for very little cost.
Again, have an objective look at your home and ask yourself this – are the accessories enhancing your home or cluttering it? We see our homes every day, and become used to the growing amount of unnecessary surface clutter, sometimes to the point where we hardly notice it any more. We recommend that you pack away any ornaments or ‘bits and bobs’ that are not adding to the look and feel of the room. De-clutter and only leave the best items on display.
if your walls and surfaces are covered in personal family portraits, it’s time to take them down, and box them up for your move. Our advice is to keep any wall art fairly neutral; the kind of pictures you see in hotels – nothing too personal, or you risk alienating your viewers.
A living room or sitting room should be a relaxing and welcoming space. Your viewers should be able to visualise themselves ‘chilling’ after a hard day at work. We recommend that you rearrange the furniture around a focal point, such as the fireplace, or a picture window (rather than around a huge TV). It looks much better on photos and sells a lifestyle. Also, tidy away any clutter and make sure your coffee table is attractive and polished. A bunch of fresh flowers will make the photographs look amazing and finish the room off nicely.
The kitchen is considered to be the most important room in the house to most viewers. If you have an attractive new kitchen, you may only need to clear your worktops and clean all the appliances and cupboards. If, however, your kitchen is tired and dated, it may be worth investing some money here. We don’t necessarily mean a new kitchen – there are plenty of ways of sprucing up your kitchen on a budget. Paint the cupboard doors, add new worktops, fit new appliances or invest in some improved lighting. Even little touches, such as new tea towels can make a difference.
Your bathroom should be two things in particular… clean and hygienic. It’s probably worth investing in some new towels and a new bathmat solely for viewings. Make sure any mirrors are completely spotless. Polish your chrome taps and shower head. Bleach the toilet and clean the floor. Add some attractive accessories and a green, leafy plant to freshen it up.
Does your home feel calm and relaxing or cluttered and busy? If it is the latter, it’s important that you address this, as your viewers will pick up on this. How your home ‘feels’ is just as important as how it looks. If you have pets or children, make sure they are out of the way for any viewings. Your viewers want to view your home without any distractions. Little touches such as lighting candles, lighting the fire, switching lamps on and putting the fresh coffee pot on – these will all make a huge difference.
Finishing touches are very important. Before you have your photographs taken, or book a viewing, take a last look at your house with a critical eye. Hide anything that doesn’t improve the look of any room, like bins or piles of magazines or paper bills. Place a vase of flowers in each downstairs room, and voila! Your home is ready.
A tidy garden is a must, particularly a front garden as this is seen by anyone driving by. If your house is soon to go on the market, or already on the market, you must mow the lawns, keep on top of the weeding, and tidy any borders and bushes. It’s also worth investing in a couple of pots for either side of the front door to add to kerb appeal. Perhaps add a hanging basket outside the front door too – all these little touches make the home appear loved and cared for. Lastly, move any bins or recycling boxes out of sight!
If you have pets, this is particularly important. Pet owners often become immune to the smell of their own pets, but your viewers will notice. Invest in some plug-in air fresheners and place some vases of fresh flowers around the house. If it’s a nice day, open windows to add an extra airy feel.
This is an absolute must. If it’s winter, or cold weather, light the fire or turn the heating on (even if the property is empty). There is nothing more unwelcoming than a cold home. Heat = warmth and comfort. A real fire will also look great on photos.
We recommend that viewings are done by your agent, however, if you are doing your own viewings, make sure you look tidy and presentable.
We hope this guide has helped you to prioritise some areas of your home that may need some TLC before you market your home.
Do you have any tips of your own you would like to share with us? Have you ever staged your home for sale? What was the outcome? Would you like any further advice on this topic? We would love to hear from you…
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give one of us a call on 0161 371 0700