How to stage your home to get the best price when you sell

We’ve all seen the effort and expense that goes into ‘staging’ one of the multimillion-dollar homes for sale in hit Netflix TV show Selling Sunset. The show has introduced us to the most glamourous estate agents – or realtors as they are known in the States – in the business and the equally glamorous homes they are selling to the highest bidder.

Whilst it is unlikely that we will all be resorting to a “Botox and burger” open house any time soon, staging your home – whereby you style the house to show off its selling points and make it as appealing as possible to potential buyers – can speed up your sale and even net you a higher offer when you do sell. Indeed, according to property portal Zoopla, staging your home can clinch the sale three times faster and add as much as 10% to the sale price. Given that the average sold price in the UK is currently £273,751, that means an increase of around £27,500. Certainly food for thought.

Given the way property prices have skyrocketed in the UK in the last two years, many buyers are also expecting to get as much bang for their buck as possible now, and don’t want to pay over the odds for a home if it isn’t in turnkey condition.

So, how do you go about staging your home to show it off to its best advantage? Read on for some top tips!

  • First impressions count

Kerb appeal is key when it comes to selling your property. De-weed that driveway or front garden and cut the grass. You could also consider repainting the gate, front door and house number – or invest in new ones if yours are past their best. Make sure front windows and guttering are sparkling clean too and always move the bins!

  • Declutter

It may sound obvious, but decluttering is essential when it comes to staging your home before you even think of adding any decorative touches.

You want to give your property a spacious feel and let buyers see the lifestyle that could be theirs if they were to buy the house so give excess clutter the heave-ho. Clear the pile of coats and shoes from the front hall, make sure toys are tidied away and if you have a lot of belongings, or big bulky furniture, consider moving them into storage or leaving them with a willing friend or neighbour temporarily while you are doing viewings. Getting rid of unnecessary clutter now will also make your own house move more straightforward when the time comes.

  • Tackle those DIY jobs you have been putting off

Loose door handles? A window that doesn’t open? Missing lightbulbs? These may be a quick fix to put right but can make a lasting impression on buyers viewing your home if you don’t.

Make sure that everything is in good working order to give the impression of a home that is well-loved and cared for. Even if you have long since dealt with a damp issue for instance, if buyers spot old marks on wallpaper or peeling paintwork they will immediately be put off.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew though, and if a DIY project looks like it might not fall within your own skill set, always hire a professional!

  • Freshen up the place

This doesn’t mean installing a brand-new kitchen or bathroom suite. Painting, regrouting or changing tiles, cupboard doors and tired or unmatched towels, soap dishes, bins and other essentials can all have a massive impact and make your home look like new.

A fresh lick of paint can also work wonders on walls, doors and skirting boards and some new scatter cushions, an interesting throw or a table runner can add interest to existing sofas and dining tables – and cover up any marks or scratches!

  • Deep clean

They don’t say cleanliness is next to godliness for nothing! If you’re not the best with a dustpan and brush, get a professional cleaning company in to really make the place sparkle. If you have pets (or young children!) deep cleaning the carpets and fabrics is time and money well spent.

Heavy use areas such as kitchens and bathrooms are also the places which really sell (or not!) a home and buyers will be put off by a house which doesn’t seem clean, making an assumption on the overall condition of the property based on how neat and tidy it is. Don’t forget hardworking but often neglected areas like bathroom seals or extractor fans.

  • Demonstrate how to use a tricky space

If you have a room which is an unusual shape or rather on the bijoux side, make sure you are making the best use of said space so that buyers can immediately see how they would use it. Installing a tallboy rather than a wide sideboard for storage can give the illusion of more space, as can furniture with exposed legs or a square or rectangular extendable dining table in place of a round one. Mirrors also provide a quick fix for making a room feel more light, bright and airy, especially if you hang them opposite a window.

Make sure the furniture fits the age and style of your property too. Now may be the time to say goodbye to Grandma’s old dresser if it dominates your living room and doesn’t tie in with the rest of your home or décor.

  • Consider your target market

Think about who is most likely to be viewing your home and stage it accordingly. If you have a three- or four-bedroom home with good schools and recreation space on the doorstep then it is likely that a family will be interested in buying it. A two-bedroom apartment close to town with sea views and a lift? Perhaps older buyers looking to downsize will be keen to view it.

If you are marketing your home to families, make sure bedrooms that are suitable for children are clearly allocated and include single or bunk beds and other child-sized furniture rather than a large double bed and not much else. Consider adding a few small touches like a bookshelf of classic children’s books, a small easel for creating those mini masterpieces and some bright pops of colour on bedding and textiles. Little steps in the bathroom or a stylish wooden highchair at the dining table can help a family envision themselves in your home, so don’t remove every hint of children in your home.

If you are trying to appeal to a downsizer or a buyer without young children, highlight the flexibility to use the space in a second or third bedroom as a guest room or hobby space by including a foldaway desk or reading nook and have a good clear out of the garage to show how spacious it really is.

  • Neutralise your décor…

You are looking to appeal to as many buyers as possible – unless your target market is extremely small – many of whom are likely to have quite different tastes to your own. Your walls don’t all have to be white, but consider toning down that bright red feature wall with a more neutral or on trend colour.

You’re not offering a tour of your own life when you sell a property, so if you have lots of family photos and mementos on display, or any particularly ‘out-there’ artwork, remove this temporarily and replace it with something a bit less contentious.

Engage with current patterns and trends – apparently mid-century modern is the trend du jour! – with the odd scatter cushion, small piece of furniture or artwork so your home looks contemporary but there is no overpowering ‘theme’. Changing Rooms may have returned to our TV screens but don’t be tempted to emulate Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen when it comes to your décor!

  • …Whilst also setting yourself apart

Conversely, if you live on a new development or a street which is home to identikit homes, you will want to stand out from the crowd. Especially if there are other homes on the market locally at the same time.

Add interest with decorative but inexpensive items from the likes of Dunelm, Zara Home and John Lewis and go the extra mile by dressing the dining table or setting up an al fresco dining area in the garden if the weather permits.

Little touches such as fresh flowers, fresh baked goods and lush, green plants dotted around the place will really give your home that cosy, house proud vibe which buyers love too. Make sure the temperature inside your home is also comfortable for the viewing. Throw open doors and windows in the height of summer to keep things cool and ensure it is a warm and cosy retreat in the depths of winter.

  • Get the professionals in

If you really have no vision when it comes to staging and home décor, or no time to complete the job yourself, there is also the option of hiring a professional home stager. Of course, this will eat into your profits, but if budgets allow and time does not, then hiring a professional could be beneficial. You wouldn’t be alone either, the Home Staging Association UK & Ireland have confirmed that homeowner inquiries in 2021 were up five fold in comparison to 2020.

Depending on their qualifications and expertise, you will be looking to pay anywhere in the region of £20 – £75 an hour for a home stager. If you don’t need help with your whole house, they can just advise on specific rooms or areas too.

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