THE home staging industry has been booming in recent years, with high competition for buyer attention and prices expected to continue rising.
A surge in buyers during the first few months of 2022 is anticipated, with Rightmove reporting last month that they saw a 19% jump in the number of people requesting estate agents to value their home via the website, compared with the same period last year.
With more sellers hoping to move, Elaine Penhaul – interiors expert and owner of award-winning, national home staging company Lemon and Lime Interiors – shares her top five secrets to staging your home for a successful sale in 2022.
When a buyer chooses a home they want to envision their own belongings placed within it. While selling a home can be an emotional process, depersonalising it can assist a seller to start that process of ‘letting go’. Tidying away children’s toys and play areas, ornaments, family photographs and portraits, plus any other collectables that might not suit another buyer’s taste, is an important start to the moving process.
We’ve learnt the hard way never to underestimate a seller’s obsession, nothing is quite as strange as when a buyer once told us that they turned up to a house with a strange fixation on Labradors – they counted 438 ornaments, paintings and cushions – there was even a Labrador loo seat!
2. Make Smaller Rooms Bigger and Bigger Rooms Smaller
Carefully curated light sources, mirrors, paint tones and plants can make a small room feel much bigger. Placing a mirror opposite a window can help lengthen a room and the reflection causes more light, brightening darker and smaller spaces, and to the eye of the viewer, the room appears elongated.
Likewise, bringing the outdoors indoors is a surefire way to bring a feeling of serenity to any space, as by finishing off the room with indoor plants you can make the viewer feel like they are surpassing the space they are situated within. Furthermore, clever storage solutions such as multipurpose seating such as ottomans and footstools can tidy away any unwanted items out on display usually such as magazines.
If a space is too big it can often overwhelm buyers. Look to fill the space with statement furniture that fits and looks cosy and inviting to the buyer.
The space should always showcase the dynamic of the room, for instance, an open plan living room could have a cosy corner with a convertible shelving unit that is perfectly set up with a functional desk and seating set up for the user when working from home which is much more common these days.
3. Remove Unwanted Pets aka Pests
You may ask, why could man’s best friend have an impact on me selling my home? It pays off to remember that not all of us are keen on our furry friends, so getting them off the premises when a viewing takes place is advised as some buyers might be nervous around the animal, and the animal might well get distressed by strangers entering their home.
Our pet pals aren’t all as cute as we might think. On one home staging project, we had to find a suitable residence for a pet rat, while one buyer once told us that she entered a house to find eight tarantula’s in enclosures taking up the entire spare bedroom wall. Safe to say they did not put in an offer.
Bad odours is another potential put-off for buyers. Nothing says ‘Don’t buy this house’ like Eau de wet dog. When you live with pets day in and day out, you become accustomed to their scent, and might even have not cleaned out their litter tray or doggie droppings on your garden lawn for a little while. So, getting rid of the evidence of a pet, rehoming them for the duration of your house on the market and giving your home a deep clean to get rid of any bad smells are recommended.
4. Fix It Up
A little cost-efficient DIY could help your sale move faster and even get your home the price it deserves.
While a new bathroom suite would be out of the question for many people looking to sell their home and appeal to buyers, refreshing things like stained or discoloured grout in between tiles can easily be done with a bit of bleach and a grout pen.
Little would you think, but many buyers, particularly with more of us working from home are looking to see how lighting can shape a space, so replacing any blown bulbs with energy-efficient ones, taking down out-of-date shades and replacing them with new ones, or adding lamps or corner lights to rooms that lack natural light can really transform a room’s appeal.
Also, if you live in a period property be sure to highlight any original features. An original tiled floor or a stone fireplace for instance creates charm, intrigue and heritage to the home, this can offer something unique to a potential buyer and make your property stand out from the competition.
Finally, don’t forget those all-important fixtures and fittings, ensuring cupboards doors are screwed in tightly, refreshing the skirting with a lick of paint and even changing outdated door handles could all improve your properties appeal and value.
5. Let the Estate Agent Do the Talking
Latterly, it is crucial to let your (can we please add local estate agent do the talking. Personal encounters about your home and the time a neighbour tried to ‘steal an inch of your garden with their new fence’ is certainly going to put off a buyer. And, while DIY stories are albeit charming, one seller’s pride and joy about building a kitchen cabinet 20 years ago that still stands today, is a potential buyer who realises that the kitchen needs a complete re-fit – automatically knocking £10K off their offer price in a jiffy.