The housing market seems to be in the news constantly at the moment. The London bubble and the regional suffering shows the complete spectrum of issues home sellers have to deal with. In this difficult scene it is even more important than ever to ensure your home is attractive to potential buyers. Home staging first came into our living rooms with the TV programme house doctor. Ann Maurice scolded and taught us how to present our homes ready for sale. We don’t all have an Ann Maurice to ask for advice so whom can we turn to? I asked estate agent Graham Lang from Chewton Rose his advice on home staging. Hi Graham, thank you for taking some time out of your day to talk to us about home staging. Can you explain what the term home staging means to you? Home staging is basically ‘staging’ your home for sale. It’s very simple, the more cluttered or fussy the interior, the more difficult it is to sell. Many people think it is painting all your walls magnolia and having your home clean and tidy, but there is more to it than that. What you are creating is a dream, what I mean by that is that you want buyers to walk into your home and be able to visualise themselves living there. We call it creating a lifestyle. If we are not painting everywhere magnolia, what are we supposed to do to create a lifestyle? Firstly you need to de-clutter your home. If we are being honest, we all have far more ‘stuff’ in our homes than we actually need. I advise my clients to start packing your belongings into boxes, either store in your garage or a temporary storage facility. Not only does this help you de-clutter but it also helps you to move. Once you have de-cluttered, freshen up you home. You may have a wall that could do with a fresh coat of paint, or a cupboard that needs mending. You need to keep personal photos to a minimum, remember you want people to imagine themselves in your home, this is difficult if they can only see you. [caption id="attachment_2993" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Fascinating Farmhouse, For Sale with Chewton Rose[/caption] What do you think is the biggest mistake that vendors make when home staging? Assumption! Vendors always assume buyers can see past their clutter or a mis-represented room. This is not always the case, in-fact these things can put buyers off completely. What do you mean by a mis-represented room? Our family’s needs and lifestyle mean that we use our homes rooms for what we need them for and not necessarily what they are designed for. A potential buyer will want to see for example, a bedroom as a bedroom. They will want to see, not just be told, that yes it does fit a double bed comfortably. Is it only the inside of the house that we need to stage? Not at all, the outside of your home is just as important. As potential buyers approach your home for the first time, they will already be making an opinion. You want your home to have Kerb Appeal. For every person who views your home, 3-5 people will drive past to see what your property and the neighbourhood actually looks like. It’s important to step away from your home, walk to the kerb side and view your home as potential buyers would. Also check what your neighbours properties are looking like, an un-kept garden next door can be critical. Ok, so what if your neighbours’ garden was not up to scratch? Although it may not be easy, you really need to have a conversation with them, offer to help. Remember the first impression of your home from the outside can determine whether a viewing takes place. What about your garden or patio? In this wonderful weather, its a great idea to display your garden furniture, your buyers can then picture what it would be like sitting out in your garden. Again you are creating a dream for your buyers to fall in love with. Take for example the property below, we placed a bottle of champagne, glasses and lantern on the table, we want people to think “I would love to be sitting there”. [caption id="attachment_2994" align="aligncenter" width="620"] A Village Dream, For Sale with Chewton Rose[/caption] My home is de-cluttered, clean and tidy, is there anything else I can do? Yes you can add some finishing touches. Finishing touches can take a room from looking good to looking great. Can you give us 3 examples of finishing touches please?
- Fresh Flowers, there is nothing like vases of fresh flowers displayed in a home. You don’t have to look like a florist or spend a fortune, it is always great to see flowers grown in the garden displayed in the home. [caption id="attachment_2995" align="aligncenter" width="413"] Spring Glass Vases, Berry Red[/caption]
- Cushions, invest in a few luxury looking cushions that will enhance your furniture. I think soft furnishings can transform a room, you can’t beat well made bed with co-ordinated pillows and cushions. [caption id="attachment_2996" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Bandhini Cushions Yellow, Eco Chic[/caption]
- Lifestyle scenes, e.g. set the dining table with your best dinner service.