Home staging may not be a term you are familiar with, but it is a popular home selling technique in America, and it is quickly making its way to the UK.
What is home staging?
Home staging is the act of preparing your home for sale by strategically presenting your property in a certain way for your prospective buyers. In short, a professional comes to your property and makes it look like a show home.
The process of home staging may involve removing some of your personal possessions and replacing them with hired furniture, artwork or other home interiors to create a certain mood. The theory is that this will present your property in the best possibly way and maximise your chances of a quick house sale. A home stager will strive to make your home as attractive as possible to the widest range of potential buyers. The concept capitalises on the idea that ‘first impressions count’ and potential buyers will make a decision within the first few minutes of entering your property. The aim of home staging is to create the perfect image; not too sparse and minimalist, which can make a property feel soulless, and not too cluttered or personal, which can make it difficult for prospective buyers to envisage themselves living there. Home staging will make your home feel warm and inviting, highlighting the property’s best assets.
Why stage a home?
If you are struggling to sell your property, or if your property has a lot of competition from similar homes in the area, home staging can be a great way to make your property stand out from the crowd. It is also a fantastic option if you are trying to sell a vacant property. Potential buyers will often find it difficult to picture themselves living in a property, or imagine how they might use different rooms and spaces, if it is void of furniture and other interiors.
Professional home stagers suggest that using their services can increase the price you achieve for your property by as much as ten per cent. For some it may seem like an unnecessary additional expense on top of the already costly process of selling a property, but if the suggested ten per cent increase is achievable, especially on higher end properties, it could be a worthwhile investment. For vendors with a more expensive house to sell, spending a few thousand pounds staging your home to sell quickly is likely to be a more favourable option than offering a significant reduction in the asking price.
How much does home staging cost?
Home staging can vary vastly in price, depending on several factors. The size of your house and how many rooms require staging, the suitability of existing furnishings, and your target market will all play a role in dictating the budget required to stage a home successfully. There may be a number of changes you could make to your property, but a home staging consultant will help you to identify the right changes to make in order to get maximum impact for your budget.
According to HouseWow, who describe themselves as the UK’s leading property styling professionals, you can expect to pay between £120 and £295 for an initial 2-3 hour home staging consultation appointment and a simple report with recommendations. The report will include a quote for the recommended staging to be carried out. Hourly rates after the initial consultation are likely to range from £20 per hour to £75 per hour, depending on the home stager’s experience, qualifications, portfolio of work and client testimonials.
How to stage a home
If you are looking to try a bit of DIY home staging, these are our top staging tips to sell your home quickly and achieve the best price possible:
Make your bathroom feel like a spa:
Bathrooms, especially in family homes, can become hectic, cluttered places. Prospective buyers will, of course, expect your bathroom to be clean and tidy, but where home staging can be used to really help your property sale is in making your bathroom feel like a luxurious hideaway, rather than a dull functionary room. Add a display of soft, luxurious towels, a basket full of spa products and beautiful scented soap for an instant transformation. If your bathroom is beginning to look dated, retiling, or simply re-grouting the tiles you have, will have a big impact and help to make your bathroom feel fresh, clean and inviting.
Do not neglect the bedroom:
Bedrooms can often be neglected. A quick freshen up with a lick of paint, some modern accessories and new bed linen will get your boudoir feeling show home ready in no time.
To help potential buyers picture themselves living in your property, you need to de-personalise it a little, and that will involve a significant declutter. This will also help your property to feel larger, so is definitely a worthwhile exercise. If there are items you think it would be beneficial to remove for the house sale, but that you are keen to keep, consider hiring a small storage facility for a few weeks. Be ruthless though; it is a costly exercise to pay to store items that you no longer want or need.
Get an objective perspective:
It can be tricky to view your own property objectively, which is why a professional home staging expert can be a real asset. If you are determined to do it yourself, however, you may want to ask a friend or family member to objectively come and critique your property and give you an honest appraisal of areas they think need addressing. You can also take photographs of your own property and compare them with the marketing photographs from similar properties available online. This will help you to address any weak areas.
Use your kitchen to sell a lifestyle:
Kitchens can make or break a house sale. Many prospective buyers say they would not be willing to buy a property that required a new kitchen or a new bathroom, so make sure you spend a good deal of time giving your kitchen some pre-sale TLC. When selling a home, you are not just selling a property, you are selling a lifestyle, and the kitchen is the perfect place to do that. Ensure your kitchen is spotlessly clean, but also make it clear that beautiful meals are prepared in the space. Well-organised kitchen utensils, an inviting eating area, an (uncluttered) range of herbs and spices, and a couple of carefully selected cookery books will all suggest that your kitchen really is the heart of the home.
Do not underestimate the impact of a fresh lick of paint when it comes to staging your property to sell. It is often the first step in staging a property, and a relatively inexpensive way to create that ‘show home’ feel.
Small changes can make a big difference:
Door handles, light switches and sockets are small and inexpensive things to change in your home, but they can provide an instant update that can subtly transform the feel of a property.
Invest in a deep clean:
Cleaning in preparation for a home viewing needs to go far beyond a normal dust and vacuum. Prospective buyers will undoubtedly be put off if the home is not spotless, so if that is not something you have the time or inclination to do, it is worth considering paying a professional cleaning company to come and do a really thorough clean.
Treat your garden like another room:
Gardens are an area of the home that can often be neglected when it comes to a home sale, especially in winter. Keep your garden clean, tidy and well attended, and then accessorise with potted plants to give a manicured, professional look. The bonus of potted plants is that they are easy to maintain and can be taken with you when you move to your new property. It is also important to ensure you clearly define different areas of the outdoor space to demonstrate how it can be used to its full potential, including an outdoor dining area, and a separate area purely for relaxing if you have space for both.
What is virtual staging?
Virtual home staging is a fairly new concept that is quickly gaining in popularity. Ideal for selling vacant properties, virtual home staging can help potential buyers to imagine the potential in your home. A home staging expert will take a photograph of an empty room and use an online design package to create a new photograph showing what the room could look like. The virtual home stager can easily change the colour of the walls, furniture and other décor with a few clicks on a computer, to take into account the style preferences of different potential buyers. Virtual home staging is significantly cheaper than the more traditional approach, which will obviously appeal to home sellers. It is not a technique generally used in the UK at the moment, but if the trend for home styling continues it could be something we see commonly in the next year or so.
Home styling UK
If you are considering staging your home for a quick sale and would like to hire a professional, there are a number of home staging companies currently operating in the UK.
Home staging consultations can either be carried out in person, or online using a range of photographs and detailed information provided by the homeowner.
Below are some UK-based home staging consultants and companies: