Everything you need to know about home staging

Ned Browne

According to businessdictionary.com, home staging is “the act of making an unfurnished house appear lived in to entice buyers to purchase the property.”  That was definitely it’s origins, but it’s now much more than that.  Home staging is big business, and it’s easy to see why—it could mean you sell your property faster and for much more than you anticipated.
 

What does it involve?

Home staging is something anyone can do, if they are willing to do the legwork. However, there are professional home staging companies too. These companies will have or rent their own furniture and accessories that they will use to stage your home.  If you just want ideas, Google “home staging” and you’ll find dozens of websites and images.

Typically, home staging will involve a lot of decluttering, deep cleaning, artworks and making awkward spaces, such as under the eaves, look useful. The end result should be similar to a showhome that you often find in new developments.

Home staging can be especially valuable if you decide to sell a rental property that’s starting to look a bit tired.

 

The dead cat bounce

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ recent survey suggests the strongest property price gains since 2002, as demand continues to outstrip supply and the Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday continues to run its course.  Yet, many observers worry this recent spike is a “dead cat bounce”—in other words, when there’s a temporary recovery of property prices followed by a longer downtrend.  

This does make sense, especially as unemployment starts to rise. Continued Brexit uncertainty could play a part too. Again, most economists think a no-deal outcome would negatively affect property prices.

 

So, is now the time to sell?

It depends on your circumstances. Are you trading up or trading down? Are you leaving the city or are you moving into the city? The rising interest in more rural dwellings, for example, has been noticeable. So, everyone’s circumstance is different.

Research is key—talk to your local estate agent. Look at the government’s land registry data, which allows you to see property price trends split, for example, by borough. If the time is right for you, you need to maximise your likelihood of selling and the price you sell for.

 

All the world's a stage

And that includes your property.  Property staging may cost you money, but the returns should far outweigh the costs. Jane, who works as a property stager in London, agrees: “If I am not making my client money, I am not doing my job well”. She does, however, caution about unrealistic expectations: “Sometimes I turn down work as the price the client wants to achieve just isn’t going to happen.”

Sheree, who is in the throes of selling a property in Wimbledon, recently employed a home stager and kindly shared her thoughts.  

“Ask your estate agent for recommendations. Most will have worked with home stagers in the past and should know who’s best for the property you’re selling. Also, consider your position. If you aren’t time poor, a hybrid model may be the way to go - employ a home stager on a consultancy basis. Pick their brains for ideas and then do the work yourself, or employ a non-specialist to do the work. After all, there are plenty of people looking for work right now.”  

Sheree employed a small independent home stager, “She was super flexible and did not mind that the flat was partially furnished, something the larger companies don’t seem to like.”

 

To stage or not to stage

Every seller wants to sell for the highest price possible. If staging means that will become a reality, this is an easy question to answer. And the answer is “yes”.

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