Home staging is becoming increasingly important

It is, says Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of ‘staging’ a home attractively when it is up for sale and about to be visited by prospective buyers – but, he adds, as in so many other fields, the ways of going about this change regularly and, to be successful, it is essential to be aware of what ‘works’ today as compared to what ‘worked’ previously.

“Until quite recently,” says Clarke, “the accepted wisdom was that it was necessary to be as understated and neutral as possible.  This meant that the solid, heavy prestigious look favoured by older generation is being replaced by interiors with lightweight, chic furniture (often made of glass, leather, metal or plastic) and complemented by having abstract or striking pictures on the walls.  Also very acceptable today are brightly coloured cupboards, cabinets, partitioning and statement walls.”

Today’s thinking, now accepted by most estate agents, said Clarke, is that the upwardly mobile younger buyer (i.e. those below 45 years of age) will respond well to a home which is boldly decorated and has a strong individuality.  Rooms in which one (or more) walls are bright green, blue or some other striking colour are now seen as stimulating. Previously, he said, huge emphasis was placed on eliminating clutter and giving rooms a spacious airy feel – but this, too, is no longer seen as necessary. An eclectic and seemingly cluttered interior is now acceptable to many (as it was in the Victorian era).

Clarke stressed, too, that today’s young middle class buyer will regard the garden not as an occasionally used alternative to the home interior but as an extension to it.  In staging a home, access to the outdoors should therefore be made as open as possible and the entertainment aspects of the garden, especially its patios, swimming pool, gazebo and braai areas, should be enhanced by renovations and clean ups.

“With demand in many major urban areas now running ahead of supply, it is often not too difficult to sell a house – but”, said Clarke, “correct staging will ensure that the offers made are significantly higher and sellers should therefore be coached in how to go about presenting a home so that it will sell.”

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