Property marketing is essentially ‘show business’ and independent studies show that homes that are well staged secure higher selling prices, in shorter time periods, with less inconvenience to sellers.
So says Barak Geffen, Executive Director of Sotheby's International Realty South
“Home staging is not purely about the smell of home baked cookies in the kitchen or newly planted petunias at the front door – it is rather a holistic approach to magnifying a home’s positive features and improving its presentation, by seeing it through the eyes of the buyer in a competitive market place,” he says.
“Tips and ideas from experts can be gleaned from home and décor magazines, as well as furniture and décor shops. Middle to lower-end retail outlets often provide equally appealing objects and fittings as up market outlets at half the price,” says Quinton.
Kerb and outdoor appeal
“First impressions count. Gardens should be manicured, exteriors painted, roof tiles cleaned, broken steps fixed and flaking paint on window frames removed. Consider installing a new front door if the existing one is dated. Outdoor furniture purchased for staging can always be taken to a new home.
“A water feature, ornamental plant or garden sculpture can draw attention to a focal area. Home themes are enhanced if they are carried through to garden and outdoor living areas.
The entrance hall
“A welcoming and warm entrance hall sets the tone for the remainder of the tour. There is something very charming about a generous informal arrangement of flowers or leaves freshly cut from the garden. A bold arrangement exudes confidence and makes a statement.
“Clutter and mess distract the eye of potential buyers, making homes appear smaller, darker and less inviting. Open and airy interiors give the impression of space, even in the smallest cottage.
“Curtains and upholstery should be washed or dry cleaned and carpets steam cleaned. Both should be replaced if stained and threadbare. Wooden floors under old carpets can be beautifully refurbished, and consider replacing old tiles. Relatively small investments can generate substantial returns.
Neutral colour palette
“Most buyers will struggle to see past hard, bright colours, fussy patterns, dusty ornaments and ornate furnishings. A neutral colour palette, which has wider appeal, is soothing on the eyes and can be dressed with textured accessories in a complimentary or toning colour.
“Wallpaper is back in vogue and can be used to create a contemporary look on a focal wall.
Create light and space
“The removal of excess furniture may give the impression of increased space. If a home is dark, interior walls could be painted in a light colour and use made of large framed mirrors to reflect light and visually double the size of rooms.
“Renovations, including knocking down a wall or two, installing additional picture style windows, or creating indoor/outdoor spaces to cater for an outdoor lifestyle can significantly enhance value.”
Quinton says small touches can depict a loved home. Spritzing a little linen spray onto clean, fluffy towels will leave a delicate, lingering scent. Old threadbare towels should be out of sight.
A spotless toilet in perfect working order and clean shower doors and floors can’t be overemphasized. A prospective buyer is unlikely to be able to visualize themselves in a grubby bathroom.
Retail outlets offer many different storage solutions for bathrooms so that toothbrushes and shampoo bottles can be stored out of sight.
“Dated tiles can be off putting. There are a myriad of tiles on the market at feasible prices. Porcelain tiles can transform a bathroom and won’t break the bank. Again, keep colour neutral and avoid patterns.
“Little can compare with crisp, white bed linen. Quilts, frills, florals and colours should be avoided, unless directed by an interior designer. Simple, ‘less is more’, white bedrooms with delicate, sheer curtains and neutral tones that create a sense of calm appeal to almost everyone.
“Light is important in the bedroom as well as airy, uncluttered spaces.
“Light fittings are the first thing to be noticed if they are dated and dirty. Yellow rimmed down lighters and dusty wall lights overflowing with insects are unsightly. Replacement can be an effective and inexpensive exercise.”
Quinton concludes: “Once homes are staged to their potential, many may question their initial intention to sell. Careful planning and investment in time, effort and money can be rewarded many times over.”