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How to sell a house - and why home staging makes the difference

Are you selling or renting a house? Home staging could be the key to your success.

If you are trying to sell a property you want to secure a sale quickly and for the best possible price. This applies whether it is the home you live in, or an empty property that you are trying to sell.

The first priority is ensuring that the property stands out in the listings - when a potential buyer is scrolling through Rightmove or looking in the estate agents windows, does it look appealing and inviting enough for them to want to view?

The second priority is making sure that when they do view it, it lives up to their expectations. When they walk in, do they say "wow" or do they say "no"?

For most people, buying a new home is an emotional decision. They have to connect to the property, it has to feel welcoming, and they have to be able to imagine themselves living there.

When viewing a property, most people's minds are made up within the first few minutes (or even seconds) of stepping inside - it really is true that first impressions count. And the truth is that most people simply lack imagination - if a house is cluttered, is poorly laid out, or looks shabby, they will not be able to see past that.

And the longer a house stays on the market, the harder it will be to sell. As the weeks go by and you have not secured a sale, it can be tempting to drop the price, which can be very demoralising. And when potential buyers see price reductions, they may start to assume that there is something wrong with the property, and feel even less inclined to view, which becomes a downward spiral.

However - there is another way, which is home staging. Home staging is well established in the US and Australia, and while it is less well known, it is becoming more common in the UK. Estate agents are increasingly becoming more switched on to the potential for home staging to help them sell their clients homes much more quickly and effectively - which is after all, a win win.

So what is home staging?

Essentially, home staging is the art of presenting a property at its best. You could think of it as like someone getting ready to go to a ball - the hair, the dress, the shoes, all the little details that makes someone look amazing for their day in the limelight. Is that the way they look every day? No, but would you go to a ball in your leggings and hoodie?

With an empty home, it's easy to see how furnishing the rooms and adding artwork and accessories can make a property look more inviting. Think about how property developers use show homes to sell their houses – an empty box, no matter how lovely, will not sell as well as a stylish, beautifully presented home.

However, home staging can work just as well for occupied homes. Simple changes to the layout and decor, decluttering, perhaps adding some carefully chosen touches can make all the difference to how a property looks and feels. It's giving your home a "glow up" - so it's your house, but better!

It's important to remember that professional home staging is much more than just giving a place a spruce up and keeping it tidy for viewings. Essentially what we are doing when we stage a house is creating a vision. It’s not just about the house, it’s about the lifestyle. And that lifestyle is aspirational – so when you see the house you see yourself in it living the life you would really like to have!

So how does home staging work?

The first step in home staging is to do a walk through the entire house or apartment, starting outside, coming in through the front door and then literally through every room in turn. When we look at a property in this way we are seeing it for the first time, with totally fresh eyes. So we will notice all the little things that you may not notice just because you live in it all the time.

We can see what needs decluttering, what needs rearranging, what could be disguised and what could be emphasised. We look at each room in turn, does it have a clear purpose, is it appealing, could it be better presented?

We then provide you with a written report of all our recommendations, which is yours to keep whether you decide to use our staging services or not. If you choose you can DIY the staging based on our suggestions, or if you prefer we can manage the whole process for you, from organising cleaning and decorating, to shopping for accessories, right the way through to working with your estate agent and photographer.

One client said:

“Sue and Claire…were a great help in getting me to focus on what to keep and what to throw, how to store stuff I did want to keep and what to do with things surplus to requirements. They also helped me present the house in its best possible light, so the photographs in the house sale brochure showed it off at its best”

Is home staging worth the money?

Think of home staging as an investment, rather than an expense. For a relatively small outlay, you can secure a speedy sale, at a higher asking price - so much more effective than dropping the price.

For example, we recently staged an empty retirement property for sale, which had been on the market for over a year. The price had already been dropped by 100k, and the family were paying hefty service charges monthly. We staged it for sale using attractive furniture, artwork, and accessories, and it was sold for the full asking price within just a couple of weeks. The owner was delighted with this outcome.

When staging occupied homes, the focus is less on bringing in new furniture and accessories and more about making the best of what you already have. And while it might sound expensive, you would be amazed what can be achieved for very little cost.

Although sometimes we might suggest a coat of paint or a new carpet, often it’s easy to make a room look totally different just by rearranging the furniture, perhaps repurposing items from other rooms, changing the accessories around, and so on.

Does home staging still make sense in the current market?

At the time of writing, it's quite an interesting time in the property market in the Cotswolds. In recent years, prices have been largely flat or even falling slightly. Rising interest rates, inflation, and the cost of living crisis have all made people more cautious about moving, and at the moment we have all the uncertainty of an upcoming election.

In a slow housing market, the value of home staging becomes even more apparent in creating interest and enhancing the saleability of a property, as well as ensuring that you secure a sale at or above your asking price.

What experience do you have?

We've been helping people in the Cotswolds make the most of their homes since 2015. We've helped style and stage occupied homes, empty homes, rental properties, and holiday lets.

All of our staging projects are bespoke - we enjoy putting a personal touch onto all our staging assignments so that they don't look like they have been furnished from a catalogue. You can see highlights from some of our favourite projects here.

Next Steps and a Gift for You

If you would like to find out more about our home staging services, just get in touch to book your free, no obligation call.

As our gift to you, we would also like to offer you a copy of our free, downloadable home staging checklist. Just use this link to sign up and it will be sent right to your inbox.

Thank you for reading, and we hope to catch up with you soon.

Best Wishes

Claire & Sue

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