What is home staging and is it effective?
- By: Ashley Saunders
- April 2018
If your home has been sat on the market for a while, your agent might recommend staging it. But what is home staging?
Very popular in the US, home staging is a not so secret weapon amongst estate agents and vendors who want to sell properties quickly and for more than asking price.
Thankfully it’s easy to answer the question: what is home staging? Simply put staging a property is the process of making it attractive to the widest possible amount of buyers.
You don’t need to be an interior designer to effectively stage your home and usually the process usually requires more effort than money. However, if your not the most creative person, then many interior designers offer a home staging service.
The (boring) data behind home staging
You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Rightmove, Zoopla, et al measure the time you spend scrolling through the search results. What may shock you is, on average we spent around 27 seconds on each results page.
Typically, each results page has the details of 10 properties. So we spend less than 3 seconds looking at each property. Read that again!
Your potential buyer will begin a life-changing decision after a 3-second glimpse! Unbelievable but true.
It’s critical that your 2 to 4 photos and the teaser description to grab the attention of your potential buyer while communicating all the benefits of buying your property.
It’s a tough challenge to accomplish in under 3 seconds.
Making each second count
If you’re anything like us, you probably spent way too much time “researching properties” or more likely lusting! And while it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes one property stand out over another, there are a few common tips and tricks.
Our first tip is to photo your property on a sunny day. Work with your agent to pick a day where it will be fairly sunny as this should translate into good photos.
It’s worth taking more photos than you need. This allows you to use ones with best composition and lighting. Bare in mind buyers will scroll past dull-looking images. So, invest some time into getting fantastic pictures.
Start with Kerb appeal
Shakespeare famously said, “apparel oft proclaims the man”. Think about kerb appeal as your property’s outfit! Is it currently making a good first impression? If not, you want to incorporate some of our home staging idea.
If your front garden sits on a busy road, you can instantly improve its appeal by tidying it and adding a bin store. If you have some money to invest then create interest by using box hedges or rows of small plants. You might even consider adding a sculpture, such as a large sundial.
There’s no point putting a bench in this space as it’ll lack context and could make the viewer focus on the road noise.
However, if you have a paved driveway, start by fixing any cracks or missing tiles and then tidy it. Next, create a more harmonious feel by adding some small potted plants under each window.
Once through the front door
Now that your property has a strong introduction, you can turn your attention to the entrance.
As home staging is about making the space attractive, it’s worth removing all the clutter from your hallway. There’s no reason to display your whole coat collection! Instead, sort and store all but the coats that you need for daily use.
The same rule can be applied to umbrellas, walking sticks and the like. A few placed in a basket often looks like a curated collection.
If you have a thin hallway then consider mounting four or five small picture frames in a light colour in a row along one wall. Display personal photos or interesting artworks.
Staging the living spaces
As part of home staging is de-cluttering your home, start cleaning your living and dining rooms. Aim to remove as much clutter as possible. When a room looks bare, then you can start to add a few pieces back in. Consider how each piece works in the context of the space and keep experimenting.
When you have a curated collection on display, consider adding some accessories. For example, in the living room, layering a few cushions on a chair will add depth and make the room feel lived in.
If you already have a fair amount of cushions, then adding a cashmere throw over one sofa will add further interest.
A few simple changes to a dining room can make the space inviting. Start by moving the table into the centre. You might have pushed it to one side for practicality, but this can make the room look smaller.
You don’t need to lay the table. However, some fresh flowers and maybe a table runner will make the room spark the viewer’s imagination.
Do you need to redesign your kitchen?
A popular myth is that you need to redesign your kitchen in order to achieve the maximum price. However, there are a few home staging tricks we can use instead.
You might be tempted to upgrade the cabinet doors, however, repainting is just as effective. That said it’s worth spending money on updating the handles.
Our cheapest idea is to clear the worktops of everything, then add a few essentials back, evenly spaced over the kitchen.
In each bedroom consider simplifying and a fresh lick of paint. Use a website like eBay to sell unwanted items to boost the cash you have to invest in home staging.
Think about how you can improve the natural light in each room and use the current more effectively to hide clutter. Also, don’t be afraid to add a few, select photos in each room and to the hallway.
In the master bedroom consider adding fresh flowers as they add something living and a pleasant smell.
Creating a relaxing bathroom
Much like with the kitchen, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on your bathroom. Instead, focus on a good clean, repaint and touch up.
Again, it’s perfectly fine to have a few toothbrushes and bottles on display, but you don’t need to have ever shelf filled.
Beautify the garden
Spend your time making the transition between house and garden feel natural and seamless. Usually, all this requires is trimming plants around the house and replacing a few potted plants.
You don’t have to be a great gardener to have an inviting garden, you just need to spend some time working on key tasks. If you want more advice on outdoor staging then here’s our top tips.
It’s worth spending some of your time on your garden as viewers are likely to walk into the garden and turn back to look at the rear of the property. Of course, don’t forget the basics such as mowing the lawn and keeping your shed tidy.
Tips From An Estate Agent
One of the best estate agents’ in the world is Barbara Corcoran. While most in the UK won’t have heard of her, she’s an investor on US version of Dragon’s Den – called shark tank.
She has also helped to sell billions of dollars of properties in her career. In the short video below, she guides you through a property and explains how to properly stage the home.
Interior Designer’s Ideas
While much longer than the first video, it’s worth watching as she goes into more detail on home staging. As well as showing before and after shots. It has a lot of valuable ideas and most of her property staging tips cost little or no money.
Staged vs Bare
Estate Agent, Marc Lyman walks us through nearly identical two properties. One is bare and is quite hard to imagine how you might live there. The other is staged and feels much more like a home. It’s likely that the staged property will sell faster and for more money.
How To Stage Your Home Like a Pro
In this short run video through, we are reminded of the all the home staging basics. While these might seem obvious, it’s always good to recap!
What is home staging?
When it comes to home staging, it’s all about the detail. Remember that by placing your property on the market, you no longer live there.
Your task now is to re-imagine your property to make it attractive to the most buyers. Start by listing all the jobs you need to do and then get cracking.
Whether you end up tweaking your interior or completely re-do the garden, all of our home staging ideas will help towards getting maximum value for your property.
The more money you make when selling, the more you have to spend on your next home!