It’s a question I often hear. The concept of staging a home for sale originated in the US where it has become part of the selling process. It has been in the UK for some years now but is still not widely known about, which is a shame because I believe that it should be a crucial part of the way in which we sell our homes. For me it is all about maximising the potential in your property which, after all, is normally your biggest asset so it makes sense. Estate agents in the UK are beginning to realise the benefits that staging a property can have for their clients. However, not all agents are familiar with the concept or understand it.

I would always recommend preparing your home as soon as you have made the decision to sell, before instructing your agent. If you stage your house first then you know that the house can be marketed straight away and it enables you to “hit the ground running” as it might be said. Staging is also an option to be considered if your property has been on the market for a while without selling – it’s an alternative to a price reduction or change of agent.

If you are new to the concept of home staging you may have some questions so here are some of those that you might have.

Is It Value For Money?

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You may worry that the recommendations won’t be value for money. If I am asked to advise on staging a property for sale (or rental) I will always consider what is likely to be achieved. What is the ceiling price for the property? You may imagine that I am going to suggest that you spend money on a lot of stuff that you won’t be able to use in the property you are moving to or perhaps you aren’t buying another property.

If we are moving house it is understandable that we are reluctant spend money on preparing it for sale. We feel that any money spent is “wasted” because we won’t see any benefit from it. I always explain that any time or money spent on staging is an investment. It’s worth it to achieve that goal behind your move. It is also true that the costs are likely to be less than that of your first price reduction. If you reduce your price then that reduction has to be significant in order to have any impact. For example, say your property is marketed at £400,000. Even a 5% reduction is £20,000, which is a lot of money.

What Is It All Going To Cost?

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There is no hard and fast rule about how much you should spend on staging a property, it all depends on the property. However, as a very general ball park you could say between 1% and 2% of your sale price which is obviously a lot less than 5% or even 10% which is likely to be the amount of your first price reduction.

It isn’t all about going out and buying a load of new stuff. The starting point is always a declutter and a thorough clean. Decluttering offers the opportunity to sell items and actually make a bit of money. I will look at what is already in situ, can things be used to better effect elsewhere in the property or recycled? There are a lot of steps that you the homeowner can take yourself if you are able and willing to get stuck in. Any element of expenditure is carefully considered to be cost effective. It is also worth bearing in mind that, if there are things to be changed, buyers may walk round and mentally tot up what they think they need to spend and either not proceed or base their offer on this figure. Their calculation is likely to be more than the actual cost. So get any DIY done, it gives your buyer less excuse to knock you down on price.

I appreciate that everyone’s circumstances are different and you may have a very limited budget. If that is the case then I will prioritise those steps that I have identified that will have the maximum impact and use budget friendly options.

Are You Going To Criticise My Home?

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The objective of staging is to present your property in a way that is likely to appeal to the buyers who are most likely to buy your property. We are all individuals and decorate and furnish our homes in a way that suits us. It’s not that our tastes are good or bad but they are OUR taste and we have to acknowledge that not everyone shares our taste. It’s a bit like coffee or tea, we all have our preferences.

We are (on the whole) fond of our homes. We have become comfortable in them and they reflect us, a bit like that comfy pair of slippers we put on when we get home at night. It is understandable that the idea of employing a homestager raises a vision of a stranger coming in to our home and immediately telling us that we have to change x, y and z which can feel like a personal attack on us and our taste. It isn’t like that.

If I make suggestions for changes to a property then I am always respectful of how I do it and will explain why I am making the suggestion. However, I am not doing my job if I am not honest with the homeowner. I never want to upset a client or offend them and so, if on my initial visit, I think that might happen I will suggest that perhaps that this isn’t the right moment for the client to use staging.

Identify Your Reason For Selling

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Hopefully, I have answered some of the questions you might have so how do we start? Ultimately, it is the reason for your move that matters. When we sell a property, there is always a reason – positive or negative.

  • You have formed a new relationship and are going to live together so you are selling one property and moving in to the other or perhaps you are selling two properties in order to buy a new property together.
  • Your family is expanding and you need a bigger property.
  • You, or a partner, have had a promotion or got a new job and can afford a bigger/ better property.
  • You are separating and need to sell the family home.
  • A family member has died and their home has to be sold.

There is always some form of emotional attachment to a property and it can be hard to say goodbye to a property. This emotion can get in the way when selling so it is important to focus on the next chapter in your life. What is the next chapter going to look like and keep that at the forefront of your mind. I often advise clients that the moment they decide to sell they need to change hats. You need to cease thinking of the property as your home and treat the sale purely as a business transaction.

I Need To Sell Quickly

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There can be many reasons for wanting a quick sale.

  • Being in a position to proceed when you find your dream property.
  • Perhaps you or your partner have relocated for work and you don’t want to be apart or you are paying two lots of outgoings.
  • Minimising the period of uncertainty. Having moved several times myself, I know what’s like being on the market. Living on tenterhooks waiting for the phone to ring with news of a viewing or an offer.

You are in limbo until you sell. Again, it comes back to being able to move on with your life, start that next chapter. Yes, if you stage your property this may involve some changes to your normal lifestyle e.g. getting rid of that extra chair, not using the spare room as a laundry room or dumping ground but it’s worth some short term inconvenience.

I Need To Maximise My Pot

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Most sellers have one of two priorities – maximum sale price or quick sale. OK, if I’m honest they probably want both but usually, if pressed, either one or the other wins out. So why do you want more money, what would it enable you to do?

  • You’ve found that dream house but you need to squeeze every penny from your sale in order to afford it.
  • You could buy a bigger house or buy in a better location.
  • You could reduce the amount of mortgage you need and with it the monthly repayments, giving you more cash to spend on other things – go on that dream holiday perhaps.

The other point, and this really matters to me, is that you maximise your property’s potential. Your home is generally your biggest asset. You may well have spent money on the property as well as paying a mortgage and it’s only right that you should benefit. It’s surprising what even a small amount of time, effort and yes perhaps a little money can make. Would you rather make a few changes and achieve a higher selling price or not make those changes and let the buyer make them and reap the rewards?

I Need Some Help

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If you have not come across home staging before, you might not know what sort of things need to be done. You could be quite happy to get stuck in but you need guidance on what to do. Or you might be someone who is busy and doesn’t have the time to undertake the things that are necessary whether that is decluttering, decorating or shopping for any items that are needed. You may not live locally to the property which makes undertaking tasks difficult.

Whatever your situation I can offer a solution. I will be talking more about the packages available below.

Why Choose Me?

Good question!

I spent a number of years working in estate agency. Initially, I worked as a part time viewing representative. This role involved showing potential buyers round properties. As part of this process I would listen to people and try to help them see how a property would work for them. I subsequently worked as a sales negotiator which involved registering applicants, taking details from them of what they were looking for and helping them to find the right property for them. Undertaking these roles meant that I heard the comments that potential buyers were making as they viewed (what they liked and what they didn’t), I saw how they would look inside cupboards and basically got a very good idea of buyers’ thought processes. 

This background means that I have a very good understanding of the sort of issues around presentation that do actually matter to potential buyers and some of these might surprise you. Remember, most people are polite so if a viewer gives a reason for not proceeding they will probably relate it to something neutral such as location rather than an issue that might be regarded as personal such as neglect or decor.

What Is The Process?

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My process when I stage a property for sale begins with sitting down with the homeowner (hopefully over a coffee) to get to know them and about their reason for selling, what they are aiming to achieve. I then do a room by room analysis of the property. This includes the exterior of the property and the outside space both front and back. The exterior and outside space is very important, it constitutes what we call “kerb appeal” and it’s important because when people are conducting a property search online , generally the first image they see is one of the front of the property. Kerb appeal, or lack of it, can result in potential buyers dismissing your property without giving it proper consideration. Your outside space is actually an extra room.

The room by room analysis includes identifying any aspects that might potentially put off your target market but, equally, those aspects that are a positive and which should be highlighted. Home staging is not just about avoiding the negatives but about highlighting the positives.

Are There Different Levels Of Help?

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 I understand that when you are selling your house every penny counts and you do not want to spend unnecessarily. I also understand that everybody’s circumstances are different – some people don’t have time, some aren’t interested in being hands on, and some have other priorities.

For these reasons I have a variety of packages that range from a simple walk round appraisal with the home owner taking notes, to a written report detailing the analysis I have undertaken (so you don’t have to worry about the note taking) or hands on where I undertake (perhaps in conjunction with other professionals as necessary) all the steps that are required to present your property for sale. The latter option is particularly appropriate if the property is empty and/ or you do not live locally to the property. Click here for details of the packages.

And Finally …

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One of the most important reasons for staging is the impact on your marketing materials, the online listing of your property, video tour, the brochure. The images that buyers see when they are scrolling through the property portals need to draw people in and entice them to view. When buyers do actually view the experience needs to be enjoyable and get the buyers imagining themselves living there. Sell the lifestyle.

If you are thinking of selling your property and would like to know more or you know you want to stage your home then call me on 07745 876182. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire, North West and North Wales.