Have you ever wondered what the benefits are of staging a home for sale? Do you ever wonder if it’s just for property magnates and established estate agents? The truth is that if you have a property to sell or to let, then home staging is for you. Why? Because staging a property can give you a significant return on investment and sell your property faster. That’s less time on the market and more money in your pocket.
For many, home staging is something we see predominantly on American TV. However, it is becoming an increasingly popular tool in the UK property market. The reason? Home staging works. It works whatever the property size or value and whoever is involved in the selling or letting process. Properties fetch, on average, 8-10% more when staged and spend half the time on the market. Being ahead of the game is more crucial now than ever, considering the current economic climate.
1. You can compete with the rise in home staging competition
With the popularity of property and interior decorating TV programmes at an all-time high, the surge of home decorating ideas and property images now available on social media platforms, the UK home buying audience is becoming increasingly discerning in its taste for aspirational, well-presented homes. Gone are the days when you could put your house on the market with no preparation, confident in the knowledge that it will sell or let for a good price, whatever the appearance. You are now up against homeowners investing in home staging. The competition just got fierce!
2. Prospective home buyers want a home they can imagine themselves living in
What determines if a prospective home buyer wants to buy a property? It isn’t dependant on whether it is in the right location, at the right price and has the right number of bedrooms because they’ve already ticked those boxes by choosing to view it. The deciding factor is an emotional response to the property and whether they can see themselves living there. The cleaner, warmer, tidier, brighter, more spacious and more inviting the property, the likelier a home buyer is able to imagine it as their home.
3. Home buyers want homes that are easy to maintain
Unless you’re lucky enough to be marketing a ‘Mary Poppins house’ (one that’s practically perfect in every way), staging your property is the best way to highlight its strengths and detract from its weaknesses. Other than the things you can address, such as those niggling minor repairs we only notice the minute we return from holiday, then promptly learn to live with again, most of us live in homes that are far from perfect. Purchasing a property is an expensive activity and many buyers will be looking for a home that needs minimal work and is easy to maintain. Beware – they will be keeping an eye out for potential costly outlays from day one. Staging your home will show it off at its best, accentuate its strong points and encourage viewers to assume it will be easy to keep that way.
4. Home staging is simple but effective
There are huge benefits in staging a home for sale and it doesn’t have to be either a complex or expensive process. There are a number of ways you can prepare that will produce excellent results. Firstly, ask a friend to tell you honestly what would put them off as a potential buyer. Check out the Houzz website for home staging ideas and inspiration. Secondly, you could hire an experienced home staging professional who will visit your property and provide a list of clear and detailed recommendations. You then have the choice of carrying out the recommended improvements yourself or hiring a home stager to do it for you. They normally charge an hourly rate and will indicate what the total cost will be before they start.
5. People buy homes, not houses
First and foremost, buyers are looking for somewhere that speaks to them, a place that is warm and inviting, where they can visualise their belongings and imagine themselves living. If buyers can’t picture themselves living there, it’s unlikely to be their dream home and you may have to lower your price significantly before they make an offer.
6. Staged rooms appear bigger
If you are a landlord and you are trying to sell a new-build or a refurbished property, everyone wants to buy a spacious home with space to fit their furniture, space to live with their loved ones and space to breathe. Because of the way the eye perceives space, empty rooms always look smaller without furniture – unless, of course, they’re crammed with oversized furniture. A beautifully staged room will look and feel bigger and proves to buyers that their double bed really will fit!
7. Staged open-plan living spaces make more sense
Demand for open-plan living has increased over the past decade and developers are continuing to respond to this demand. They too understand that there are benefits of staging a home for sale. Yet, these large, empty spaces can prove challenging for buyers struggling to envisage where to put their furniture or how the room will feel once their furniture is in place. Staging a show home with carefully placed, well-proportioned furniture and accessories will help viewers see how to divide the areas into zones and how well their furniture can fit. With 97% of us not being able to imagine what we don’t see, asking a buyer to make sense of a large, empty space is proving impossible.
8. Helps your property stand out from the crowd
So, if you are a developer and your empty property is up against a staged property, guess which one is going to sell first? Following the rise in popularity of home staging in the UK over recent years, there is now plenty of evidence of its success, both in terms of increased price paid and reduced time spent on the market. What’s more, with the fall in demand from overseas buyers and the surge in properties bought off-plan hitting the sales market, it’s never been more crucial for your property to stand out from the crowd.
9. Turns tired ex-rental properties into dream homes
As a landlord with an ex-rental property to sell, the ideal is to wait until the existing tenants have vacated before putting it on the market. Unfortunately, that’s not the end of it. Tenants have a habit of leaving broken furniture, unwanted clothes and old toothbrushes behind as unsavoury mementoes of their stay. Not to mention the damaged walls, stained carpets and ripped curtains. Sound familiar?
Understandably, once tenants have left and the rental income has dried up, time is ticking to get the property sold, but marketing the property in an unappealing condition will make very little economic sense. Whatever the potential cost to clean (or change) the carpets, apply a lick of paint and remove the curtains, a buyer will double it and deduct it from their offer price, assuming of course if its unappealing condition hasn’t put them off completely. Worse still, there will be no viewings because the online images are so atrocious.
A home staging professional will transform that tired, unloved shell of a property into somebody’s dream home. They will bring it back to life by arranging your own furniture or rental furniture appropriately and introducing soft furnishings to stage it for maximum appeal. Some home staging professionals will even undertake the whole preparation process from clearing out unwanted furniture, carrying out remedial and redecoration works, cleaning and gardening.
10. Adds real value to rental properties
Whether the property you live in is owned or rented, it’s still ‘home’, and everyone wants a home that feels warm, inviting and well cared for. No wonder then that the best-presented properties will get snapped up the fastest, attracts the highest yields, have the the fewest rent-free periods and results in the longest tenancies. A home staging professional can dress your rental property with the option to remove or to sell you the furniture and accessories, depending on yours and your tenants’ preference.
11. The better the property, the better the tenant
Finding the right tenant for your investment property can sometimes be challenging. Tenants can have a poor reputation when it comes to their treatment of a rental property, but they are unlikely to be inspired to care for a property that has seen better days. The converse is also true. If presented with a well-maintained and beautifully dressed home, the tenant is far more likely to treat it with the respect it deserves. Furthermore, the more effort you put into the presentation of your rental property, the more likely you are to attract a tenant for whom having and maintaining an attractive home is important.
12. Helps avoid probate properties falling through the gap
The sale of a probate property can be a complicated and drawn out process that can put a strain on families both emotionally and financially. Clearing and preparing the property for sale, while potentially dealing with the loss of a loved one can feel like an overwhelming task, especially if family members have differing views on the best way to proceed. In an attempt to draw a line under such discord, or through a lack of available funds, research has shown that many probate properties sell below their true market value.
A home staging specialist can help, not only by ultimately achieving the best sale price but also by offering useful information to help family members reach consensus on the best way forward. They can recommend the remedial works required for the best return, which they can either arrange themselves or hand over to you. Assets are often tied up in a probate property, so some home staging companies will agree to take a small deposit to start the works and the rest of the payment once the property has sold.
13. Home staging reflects a home buyer’s dream
Media coverage has transformed the home buying experience in recent years and, with it, the expectation of how a property should look and feel at first glance. Home buying has become an aspirational pursuit and buyers are looking for the property that best reflects their dream, as informed by the latest design divas. Buyers are busy folk and the less they have to do to create that dream, the better! The more aspirational the property feels to them, the more they will want to live there. Research by the Home Staging Association has shown that staging a property for sale can achieve 8-10% more for the vendor and a far quicker sale.
14. Helps build trust between estate agent and vendors
With the recent shifts in the UK property market, those who have a property to sell are naturally concerned about choosing the right estate agent. As an estate agent, you need all the fairy dust you can muster to gain and maintain the trust of your potential client. Competition is tough, and the more creative you are and the more you can show that you are thinking ‘outside the box’, the more likely you will be to gain their instruction.
Furthermore, vendors often feel vulnerable and inexperienced in how to navigate the real estate market. They rely on their agent to advise on all aspects of selling their property, from which surveyor to hire, to whether or not they should landscape the garden. Knowing your agent is working in partnership with trustworthy service providers, can offer tremendous peace of mind.
If yours is not the agency thinking ‘outside the box’ and working with those partnerships, are you in danger of losing the instruction to the agency that is?
What have you got to lose by recommending a home staging professional?
Now that you know what the benefits of staging a home for sale are, you’ve got nothing to lose! You get a fabulously presented property to market and sell with none of the hassle and none of the cost. When a property falls short of buyer expectations, some homeowners just don’t see it. Others recognise there are improvements to be made but have no idea where to start. As agents trying to gain the trust of a new client, you don’t want to take the risk of insulting your client’s most prized possession or recommending improvements that may not hit the mark.
That’s where home stagers come in. Most UK companies are happy to work as an independent service provider. So rather than ‘recommending’ them to your client, you are ‘suggesting’ they might want to consider a home staging service that has worked well for others. Home stagers can work in partnership with you. They take advice on the requirements of the target audience based on your local expertise and feedback from viewings. They then illustrate to homeowners what can be achieved through a range of home staging options. Where a home stager provides a bespoke and personal service, they can quickly gain the homeowner’s trust and be a valuable asset to your team and the marketing process.
The benefits of staging a home for sale cannot be overstated. Wherever your position in the property market and whatever kind of property you are trying to sell or let, home staging experts can offer a valuable resource. Their expertise can significantly increase the value of your property and decrease the length of time it’s on the market.
Janine Shalev is a professional property and home stager at JS Property Staging. She transforms empty properties into spaces that prospective buyers or tenants would love to call home. Call or message Janine if you would like to discuss home staging tips and strategies for your property.
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