Thinking about selling your home in Orakei, Glendowie, St Heliers, Kohimarama, Mission Bay or Remuera and wanting top dollar? Of course you do. Other than unique marketing strategies that your real estate team should possess, what you need to focus on is to present your house in the best possible light.
Why? Because your house needs to S T A N D O U T from the competition. Buyers have choices – especially in this market where there is no longer any fear of missing out. You want them to feel like such a good house may not come onto the market any time soon.
We absolutely know your home has a lot of great qualities – including fantastic sea views or the proximity to Madills Farm or the popular Eastern Bays’ beaches or the seamless flow to the outdoors. Whether it’s a stellar kitchen, a pristine lawn, or a luxurious master ensuite – you want potential buyers to love these features as much as you did!
Any real estate agent worth his or her salt will advise you to clean your house and make sure all appliances are working and lights turn on. We often get questions on whether you should stage your home to sell, and often times we hear from owners that the other agents have advised them to stage without any regard for cost.
But the right real estate agent will advise you WHETHER and HOW to stage your home to achieve top dollar without breaking the bank.
Basics first – what’s staging?
Staging is the process of creating the best “image” of your home to impress buyers. You want to go for a “model home atmosphere” – where it’s easy for them to picture living in it.
As such, staging seeks to achieve a neutral look, highlights the existing features and potential, and ‘de-personalise’ the home. First impressions are critical.
Whether you should professionally stage your home?
Some factors to consider when deciding whether to professionally stage or not include the following:
- What is the selling point of your home? Are you selling it as a do-up, developmental potential or an executive / family home? If it’s the first two, then perhaps staging it might be attracting the wrong crowd. This is because your furniture and photographs might do a splendid job of making the house look so beautiful and attract all the buyers thinking the house is gorgeous only to find out that the house requires alot of work. And it might put off those people who are looking for a project because they think that the house does not offer them enough room to add their own touch. But one word of caution: just because your house is not newly renovated does not mean it is a do-up. Houses in good condition are where staging will be extremely helpful in bringing out the potential of the place and covering any flaws.
- What’s the interior condition of your home? If your home has been recently renovated and refreshed, then there’s less of a need to professionally stage, provided your furniture actually matches the standard of your finishings. Imagine spending all that money on that expensive imported Italian Marble benchtop and American Oak floors only to have furniture that do not match your renovation. You would have wasted all your money as buyers would not be able to appreciate it. We have seen that happen before where vendors spend a bomb on renovation but because they have inherited their grandmother’s set of sofa that made people think their houses needed work.
- Still not sure? Ask Your Real Estate Agent. Your real estate agent, having seen so many houses, would be able to give you a better steer on which direction to proceed. This is going to sound silly but some houses are too small to be worth staging and some houses have small rooms such that they need professional staging. Let me explain. We sold a two bedroom house in Orakei that had a floor area of 80m2. We did not encourage our vendor to go for professional staging because a small stage is often expensive (at least $1500). Instead, we asked her to self-stage (see below for more tips) as she had good furniture that just needed rearranging as well as some new linen to do the trick. On the other hand, some houses have slightly smaller rooms that the vendors’ own furniture (because they own a massive king size bed or have heavy sofas) may make the rooms look more cramped than they are. In such cases, professional staging would help in making the room look more spacious.
We do recommend professionals to help in conceptualizing the entire staging process and decide if a full-stage of your home is necessary or a partial staging (where they would make use of existing furniture and add to them) would suffice.
If you are self-staging, here are 10 tips to help you stage your home to sell.
1. Style the bookshelves
If you’ve stuffed your bookshelves to the brim, chances are that it looks cluttered. Put those old novels in storage and instead choose neutral colored accessories spread out throughout the shelves. Don’t be afraid to allow space.
2. Let in the light
Buyers LOVE rooms that feel bright and open. They look great on photos and videos too and attract buyers to the open homes.
So don’t be afraid to add a few more lamps, change all your warm yellow lights to white LED ones and break open all the curtains. It also helps to have bright colored paint on the walls to improve the lighting conditions.
3. Present a Purpose
Maybe you didn’t use all the upstairs bedrooms as bedrooms – instead you had a craft room, sewing room, etc. But this is likely to confuse buyers.
Try to create a strong purpose for a room – decorate bedrooms as bedrooms, a bonus room downstairs as an office, etc. Smaller rooms can be turned into a study or nursery, or even a media room.
A deck or outdoor area can really hook a buyer in, especially if you are selling the luxury lifestyle. If you have nice outdoor furniture, then use them. If not, consider having a dozen large plants in big pots rather than lots of little ones.
4. Bump Up the Curb Appeal
The home’s exterior determines whether a buyer will decide if it’s even worth a look inside. Just think about the gorgeous mansions along Victoria Avenue in Remuera or the seaside villas in St Heliers. Maybe all you need to do is to trim your hedges.
Updates don’t have to be expensive to grab attention – planting a few new flowers, making sure the house numbers are easy to read, and repainting the porch will go a long way!
5. Spruce Up the Dining Room
Staging a dining room table can feel daunting – you can’t exactly put out food! But leaving it blank will appear drab.
Try buying some small arrangements you can spread out to avoid looking too formal while still being appealing. Fresh flowers of varying colours and fruit bowls work wonders. But make sure they do not become the focal point of the dining room by being too large or ‘outstanding’.
6. Switch Out Personal Photos
Earlier we mentioned making your home like a “model home.”
That means you DO want decorations on the wall – but not personal ones. So please take away the family photographs or those that relate strongly to religious, political or controversial themes.
Instead, go for landscape or floral images that would appeal to the largest number of buyers. We are trying to go mass market here.
7. Don’t Hide the Closets!
You might be tempted to stuff all your clutter into the closet and shut the door.
But think about it – of course your buyer is going to be curious about the storage space! Clean out the closets, arrange your clothes and belongings neatly and space out strategic items, similar to the bookshelves strategy.
8. Replace Bathroom Towels
You might enjoy a mismatch of colors throughout your bathroom linens. If you want to create the “spa-like” feel, take those towels and washcloths out and try bright and fluffy white. An extra step would be to replace the mats and shower curtain with white versions as well.
These are often very cheap at Kmart or Briscoes – so look out for a sale.
9. Add some scents
A potential buyer isn’t just going to look at your home- they are also going to smell it!
Make sure all garbage is disposed of, there is no more mouldy smell in any room and invest in some fresh flowers and candles to create a pleasant atmosphere for ALL the senses.
10. Remove existing furniture
Consider selling or throwing out furniture that is old looking or clashes with your staging efforts. Such furniture can also remind buyers about the age of the home – you’ll be surprised how modern furniture and renovations can lift the overall look of a really old house significantly. Sure, this can take more effort but just think of this as decluttering. Get rid of stuff that you do not need anyway in your new place.
But it goes back to the original point – if your house is old and the interior condition is tired, and you have got no plans to refresh the interior condition, then there may make no sense in staging the home using new furniture because the stark contrast may not reflect favorably on your property.
Every home is unique and needs to stand out. Your staging needs may not be the same as someone else – even if they are located on the same street! That’s why working with the right real estate agent is so important.
Focus also on the basics such as tidying up, cleaning and decluttering.
A dedicated real estate agent will give your home individual attention, advise you on whether and how to stage it, and then use cutting-edge, unique marketing strategies to SELL it for top dollar.
Nothing is more wasted than having spent money on staging, and then for all that money and effort to be wasted on mediocre marketing strategies that everyone else uses and terrible photography.
Found this post useful and have more questions?
Work with a team with a unique marketing campaign to maximise your chances of success.
Do not hesitate to contact us for a no-obligation discussion over coffee on your future plans to either buy or sell.