Tag Archives: Selling

two beds and a lampshade at the center Has my house price gone UP

A lovely couple contacted me recently for advice.  Let’s call them Paul and Claire. They were thinking of selling their cottage in Norfolk, and had just invited the pre-requisite three estate agents round to value their house.

Agent one had valued it at £300,000, which was about the price they had themselves been thinking.  So far, so good.

Agent two turned up, and asked them who which other agents had been round.  Wanting to be honest, they told him.  He then valued their cottage at £325,000, which they were quite pleased about.  If they could get that little bit extra for their house, they could afford something nicer than they had been looking at. Things were getting better.

Agent three turned up, and again asked which other agents had been round, and again, in the spirit of transparency, they told her. She promptly gave them a valuation that nearly made them fall off their chairs: £350,000.  Surely it wasn’t worth that much??

That evening, Paul and Claire popped into see a neighbour, who was also planning on selling her house. When they told her the story, she was delighted.  Her house was a little bigger, and had a better plot. “I’ll put mine on for £375,000 then”, she remarked, excitedly.

The next morning, Paul and Claire called me.

They were confused by the valuations, and concerned that their cottage simply wasn’t worth that amount.  Reluctant to put it on the market at a price that would cause it to stick, but also fearful of giving it away when they could have got more for it, they were utterly bewildered at what to do next.

I explained to them what was going on: simply put, estate agents are running out of properties to sell.  This lack of ‘stock’ is causing a huge challenge for the industry.  Back in 2007, agents had too many properties, and they just weren’t selling.  Now, they don’t have enough to satisfy demand from buyers.  Is this supply/demand imbalance causing asking prices to rise? Yes, of course.  But estate agents are playing a significant part in this outcome too.

Whilst agents are competing so fiercely for new properties to sell, they are being compelled into ‘buying boards’; in other words, over-valuing properties just to get the client to sign with them.  Now it’s not as disingenuous as it may sound; after all, prices are indeed going up in many parts of the country (not so much in Norfolk perhaps), and buyers, faced with so little choice of properties, will often pay more than they want to in order to secure their next home.  With plenty of sellers willing to chance their arm and put their home on the market for an inflated figure, seduced by agents’ valuations and the tabloid headlines, we are actually all playing a part in this current state of play, with property prices going up, it would seem, daily.

Back to Paul and Claire.

We had a long discussion about the true ‘value’ of their cottage. Not a ‘test the market’ price, but also not a giveaway price either.  What we were aiming to do, was to find the price that the property would sell at in the timeline they wanted.

We looked at precedent: what had sold in the last six months in their area. We also trawled through properties currently on the market, spotting local trends and noting anything that was sticking.   After this exercise, Paul and Claire reluctantly concluded that the original valuation of £300,000 was in fact fair and reasonable.  They understandably felt disappointed, having in effect ‘lost’ £50,000, but more confident that their cottage would actually sell, and not stick on the market.

So did they sell?

They certainly did.  For the asking price too. They chose the first agent, had around half a dozen viewings, and accepted an asking price offer inside three weeks.  Could they have got more for their house? Perhaps. But perhaps not. Every week, I talk to sellers who have been trying to sell for months, and even years.  Paul and Claire weren’t prepared to risk that.  They just wanted to be able to afford to move into something bigger, and they achieved that.

Perhaps our obsession with the value of our houses will never go away.  But with the amount of data that is now available to us, sellers have a responsibility to make sure that the price we ask is reasonable, and fair. Yes, putting a house on the market at an over-inflated price can occasionally produce a windfall for the seller, but at what cost?  Their neighbours will then believe their house is worth more, buyers will then be compelled to ask more for theirs, and so the huge price hikes go on.

Of course, this is the way the free market economy works.  The laws of supply and demand create a roller coaster of prices that since the 1970s, has shaped the property market in the UK.  But remember, we have a choice.  We can choose to accept what we believe is an over-optimistic valuation by an over-eager agent, or we can sit back and consider, “is my house really worth this?”

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

two beds and a lampshade at the center Has my house price gone UPWhat to read next  Are You Ready to Move On? 

What to do next: Sign up to my Selling Secrets https://www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secret

When looking at homes for sale online, the first picture people usually see is a front-facing shot. And there’s a good reason for that. The ‘front-aspect’, or ‘face’, is the familiar view that greets us each time we arrive home. So having an inviting, warm appearance is key. But after a cold winter of hibernation, our front gardens suddenly begin to look a little wild. It’s difficult to know where to begin, and it’s hard to know what really appeals to other families. So we’re here to lend some hands. Just follow these three easy steps, and you’ll have a picture perfect frontage in no time!

Pick the perfect season

This one is a little tricky, but if you’re looking to sell this Spring, you’re in luck. It’s no secret that in this season, everything begins to blossom; the daylight is fresh and inviting, and the Sun casts a gentle hue on natural woods and brick. Gardens look loved, and capturing beautiful shots is a breeze.

A spot of preening

Take a walk down your front garden, and stand facing your home. Position yourself so that the whole house and garden is in view. Take a picture, and head back inside. Have a look at the shot, and note down anything that detracts your attention from the house. Are the curtains drawn? Or perhaps it’s time for the window cleaner to take a visit? (We all know the feeling!) Sending the picture to friends and family is helpful too; it’ll help you see through objective eyes, and they’ll be able to spot the things you may overlook.

Take bins for example. Most are kept in a convenient spot to the front or side of a home. It works for everyday living, but it’s not the first thing a potential buyer wants to see. Moving them to a more discreet location is a quick job, but it will go a long way to smartening up the frontage. Have a quick sweep of the drive too, and hide away any rogue bikes or watering cans.

Now to tackle the grass

But don’t worry if you’re not the green-fingered type, a quick mow the lawn is all you need to make the garden presentable. Try to take cars off the drive, and park them elsewhere ahead of the photographers’ arrival too; it’ll make the frontage look more spacious, and give people an unobstructed view of the home.

Reinvigorate with colour

The subtle tones of Spring are a delight. A splattering of flower pots adds a delicate touch, and sweeping back any unruly stones or gravel is a worthwhile work-out too. And double-check that any overhanging trees are trimmed back just enough to see the house front. On that note, if the front door looks a little unloved after the winter season, consider freshening it up with a repaint. If you have a picket-fence on show, perhaps give it a lick of paint too. And whilst you sigh as you open the paint pot, know that the couple of hours you spend with a paint-brush in hand will make all the difference to a potential buyer.

And, to finish, popping a few hanging baskets either side of a polished front door is all you need to complete a picture-perfect frontage.

The final touches

So, your home looks magazine-worthy, and you’re ready to schedule the photographer. But what time is best to take the shots? Well, it depends on your location and what aspect your houses faces, so it’s best to double-check with your photographer. Some may advise a mid-morning shoot, others favour a mid-afternoon glow. Most would suggest avoiding midday, as this is the time that shadows appear the darkest overhead. They may suggest returning in the evening to take some twilight shots, though.

There are no real rules when it comes to photography, but for daylight shots, an abundance of light and clear skies is helpful. If it’s raining, try to reschedule, but it’s not a deal breaker if it’s overcast. As long as your home looks welcoming, it’ll catch the eye of potential buyers.

Happy selling!

Spring is such a lovely time of year.  Many of the houses we work with at HomeTruths are rural or village homes, surrounded by fields and woodland, and look absolutely beautiful at this time of year.  I love how the flowers count down the weeks until summer too, starting with the snowdrops, then the daffodils, and of course the beautiful bluebells.

Lots of our clients are really pleased when their photographs and brochure feature their beautiful gardens, complete with seasonal flowers.  However, I have to explain that whilst it’s true that they do look so pretty, they unfortunately date the photography, and therefore the date the house first came to market, for their buyers to see.  I can look at property photography and date it within about 4 weeks, and that may be information you don’t want to share with your buyers.

There are some weeks between spring and autumn when it’s reasonably safe to photograph a garden without giving too much away.  A good property photographer will exclude any tell-tale flowers if he possibly can, and give you the best chance of achieving an attractive brochure that doesn’t date.

So – no daffodils please; and if your photographs can be ‘dated’, it’s time to give your agent a call and ask him to arrange for new ones.  Tell him Sam said so.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

What to read next7 Reasons You Need Professional Photography to Sell Your House

What to do next: Sign up to my Selling Secrets https://www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secrets

sunny space with lamp and comfy chair with a blanket Helping a buyer buy your home

So, you’ve de-cluttered, tidied, finished off those niggling maintenance jobs, and repainted the kitchen. You’re ready to sell!

But what if there are external drawbacks that may deter a sale? The interior of your home aside, external factors are often forgotten about because they aren’t part of ‘the home’, but there are some your buyers may be thinking about. One of the best ways to see through your rose-tinted spectacles is to think like a buyer, and see what might be challenging them…

Surrounding properties – If similar properties are for sale in your area, it is very important to keep an eye on what is going on with these homes. If a buyer is already sold on the area, they’ll be closely studying the photos on Rightmove. How does your front door compare to that of your neighbours’? If yours is looking a bit sorry for itself, and the neighbour’s door has just had a Fired Earth refresh, they’ll be getting the first visit. Keeping up appearances is essential when the competition is so close.

Pricing – While your price may have been perfect when it was put on the market, what if the market has changed? If your house was put on a year ago and hasn’t shifted, prices could have changed. Any of your neighbours’ properties that are newly listed could be much cheaper than yours, making you look oddly expensive. Compare your price with your neighbours’ similar properties, and talk to your estate agent about altering the price to reflect market changes.

Hurdles – A buyer may have fallen in love with your home and be ready to sign on the dotted line, but a massive barrier could stand in their way. As an example, what if your home isn’t going to be ready to move in to on the date that they are requesting? In these instances, be prepared to negotiate. Suggest local temporary housing and storage options to them, which can make an otherwise impossible move highly achievable. Especially useful if your buyers are moving a great distance.

Neighbourhood – Local facilities are often very important to buyers. If your neighbourhood is quite similar to another in your town, buyers might draw a comparison between the two. Why not do the research for them? Look for amenities that buyers will be looking for such as good schools, playgrounds, restaurants and sports grounds. List the locality of these local benefits on your property listing. Why not put together a few brochures about these places too, and leave them in your home for people to look at?

Thinking like buyer can really help you to take account of any external factors that people are considering when looking at your home, and trying to imagine themselves living there. You can then pre-empt, or at least mitigate, and be prepared for any negative feedback you may get from your agent and buyers.

Sam

book on top of the table and Fireplace beside Do it your way!

When clients come to HomeTruths because they can’t sell their house, the first place I look for clues as to why this is happening, is their marketing. Now, anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time at all, knows that property marketing is ‘my thing’ so I usually have lots to say about it! But what can a seller do when none of their local estate agents offer the kind of quality marketing I tell them is absolutely vital in selling their home for the maximum price possible? “Do it your way” I tell them. Let me explain.

There are four key components to a property’s marketing: photography, description, brochure, online advert.

Very few estate agents get all these absolutely spot on, so why not fill in the missing pieces yourself? Let’s look at these components one at a time:

  • Photography – source a good local photographer, asking to see his work. If he’s worked for local estate agents before, don’t use him! You’re only going to end up with more of the same. What you’re looking for, is an innovative and creative photographer, who can really bring the best out of your home, and cares enough to switch on lights, and move your sofa in order to get the best shots.

Expect to pay: around £300

  • Description – you need a copywriter for this. Start off by writing a couple of pages about your home; everything you love about it, and all the features that you think will make a buyer love it too. This will give the copywriter a head start, and something to work with.

Expect to pay: around £150

  • Brochure – a great brochure designer will come up with a creative layout and even a memorable logo. Printing costs depend on the size and number of pages and what paper your brochure is printed on. Most unique homes need at least 6-8 pages in their brochure, to show off all the key selling features of their property.

Expect to pay: around £500

  • Online advert – this is where your photography and description can help your advert to really stand out above the competition. Make sure your brochure is uploaded and both this and your floorplan shown as a link on all the property portals. Give it all to your agent and they will do the rest.

Expect to pay: nothing! 

By allocating around £1,000 to your property marketing, you can create an amazing campaign, that will knock the socks off all the other properties for sale, Whilst it is admittedly a large up-front cost, relatively speaking, I would suggest you negotiate with your agent to make allowances for this in the commission you would be paying. A commission discount of 0.25% on most properties would allow you to recoup your investment, and you’d be doing a much better job than your agent would in selling your house.

Doing it your way is all about taking control of your own property sale; after all, it means more to you than anyone else, so put your passion and enthusiasm into creating a fabulous marketing campaign that will help your buyer to fall in love with your home, just as you once did.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

book on top of the table and Fireplace beside Do it your way!

What to read next: 3 things to do today to get your home sold

What to do next: Sign up to my Selling Secrets https://www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secrets

Window and a beautiful garden outside What’s your house brand

Branding is a symbol or mark that distinguishes one product from another, just as it was originally intended to ensure farmers and ranchers knew which herd was theirs. It’s now a kind of short-cut; think of the Nike swoosh, or Red Bull’s wings; all the brand personality and attributes are delivered through that one graphic: perhaps you think of ‘Just do it’, and the message of hard work and commitment when you see the Nike logo, and fun, energy and people jumping out of space ships when you see the Red Bull logo.

Of course, a logo doesn’t make a brand, it just carries its ethos and message in a little, efficient package.  Large companies have a ‘brand bible’: a dossier of exact colours, fonts and basically rules, for every use of their name and logo in print or online.

People can be brands; just think of Lady Gaga, or Princess Kate. And so can houses. In fact, the stronger and more defined your house brand, the more likely you are to appeal to your buyer. But how? Let’s break it down:

Colours: the most visual of a brand’s personality, colours need to reflect the lifestyle and the tone of a house. So, muted, natural colours may accurately reflect a Georgian townhouse whereas a palette of white, black and even red may fit a bachelor apartment and convey its tone.

Mood: or atmosphere, is how your house makes someone feel when they walk through the door. Homely, impressive, calming, vibrant, cosy, minimalist; these are all feelings that a house can convey very quickly. As well as décor, music and lighting, and even smells, play a huge part in conveying a mood.

Furnishings: large squashy sofas and chunky wooden furniture will give your house a completely different feel to modern leather suites and glass and chrome pieces. What’s the style of your bed? Traditional or modern? Style above comfort? Or a huge wooden sleigh bed that all the family pile onto at the weekend?

Accessories: how is your house dressed? Is it formal, with tall, elegant vases and carefully chosen coffee table books? Or is it full of vibrant rugs and cushions in a jumble of colours? Look at your mugs – they can be a dead giveaway! If you are happy giving your guests mismatching mugs, then you probably have a relaxed attitude to your house style, and it may well be reflected in a casual, homely feel. A perfectly matching tea set could indicate a more reserved, uniform style that is apparent throughout the house.

Position: no matter how hard you try to overcome your location, some of it will seep into the house. So if yours is the only ‘Grand Design’ on a road full of sixties’ bungalows, it will diminish the overall wow factor for someone walking in. Unless they’ve been blindfolded…. So, muddy lanes feel the right way to approach a farmhouse, whereas a smart tree-lined avenue can really ‘pre-sell’ a period townhouse to a buyer as they approach.

A brand is like a jigsaw: it needs all the pieces to fit in order to work. In a house, one piece out of place, like an incongruous colour, an inconsistent piece of furniture or an ill-fitting neighbour, can detract from the overall impression you’re trying to create. By being aware of what your house brand is, or could be, may well help you to attract that buyer more effectively. Take that one step further, by commissioning a graphic designer to create your house name or number as a logo, and use it on your brochure, to really push that message home to a buyer. If it resonates, and it’s authentic, it’ll work.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

What to read next: New kid on the block? (Could be just what you need.)

What to do next: Sign up to my Selling Secrets https://www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secrets

beautiful kitchen Is there a hidden reason why your house isn’t selling_

There are many reasons why your house may not be selling: it could be the fault of your estate agent, a lack of market activity or maybe your house isn’t presented as well as it might be.  These are all practical issues, and ones which we at HomeTruths help sellers to solve, every day.

However, there are other issues, which are much harder to spot.  Maybe, for example, one party doesn’t actually want to sell. If the husband is very attached to the lovely family home that he has enjoyed for a decade or two, he may be rather hoping it WON’T sell. In fairness to him, he may not even realize that he is sabotaging the sale; perhaps by not remembering to tidy up after himself, might not pass on messages from the estate agent, or maybe he’ll decide to cook a curry the night before a viewing.  This may be totally subconscious, of course, but no less effective at deterring a potential buyer for that.

Divorces are also very efficient at putting buyers off; even if the agent doesn’t know, or has been sworn to secrecy, somehow a buyer can sense the disharmony. It may be the physical signs: the separate bedrooms, the conflicting styles, the piles of paperwork; or there may be less tangible clues: muttered remarks, pregnant pauses, the odd sniff perhaps. There’s something about the atmosphere in a house being sold by about-to-be-divorced couples that is just plain sad.

If you’re trying to sell and it’s just not happening, maybe it’s time to have a big clear-out – not just literally, but emotionally – to make sure nothing is consciously, or unconsciously, sabotaging your sale.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

beautiful kitchen Is there a hidden reason why your house isn’t selling_

What to read next: “I can’t sell – should I rent my house out instead?”

What to do next: Sign up to my Selling Secrets https://www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secrets

table with book on top Headlines that sell homes

Crafting the right Rightmove headline is an art, and it might just be the key to selling your home too. As you scroll down a never-ending list of homes online, you’ll find a sea of dull, generic descriptions. Nothing catches your eye, or tempts you to find out more. Then you see a thoughtfully drafted description. It’s considered and personal, and invites you to click on the home to take a closer look. Let’s take a look at why the words you choose are so important.

When you take a walk down the high-street you see a patchwork of shop fronts. The Little White Company catches your eye. Its clean frontage and thoughtful window display is inviting. Two carefully placed posters catch your eye; the first reads, ‘Think timeless style, not fashion, quality, not quantity, and attention to detail in everything we do.’ The other reads, ‘Precious moments of uncomplicated happiness…We believe in making the most of life’s simple pleasures- it’s the little things that matter.’

Considered, delicate words, but there’s no mention of what you can actually buy; instead, it simply it asks you to think about ‘precious moments.’ Picturing how the treasures inside can bring your family happiness is far more personal; it creates emotional ties that are difficult to ignore. These headlines don’t sell the homeware and clothing products inside, they sell a lifestyle. Because everyone wants to make happy memories.

This little treasure sits alongside Matalan. The garish red sign sits above a cluttered display window; the clashing colours are off-putting, and the chaotic design is a harsh contrast to the elegant white and creams next door. There are lots of posters, but the biggest reads, ‘New rug collection. Delivering quality and value always.’ The words are concise and functional; they tell you exactly what is inside, but it’s generic. This poster could exist in the majority of homeware shops, and it would suffice. The words are far from offensive, but they are forgettable.

The words on the posters speak of the shops inside. Both offer homeware and clothing, but only one creates an environment you really want to browse in. Getting lost in The Little White Company is an indulgence. And the treasures inside are more than just products. What lies within the clean, thoughtful space is a lifestyle, an ideal.

Matalan offers functionality. It’s busy, cluttered aisles are well utilised and practical. But it’s a place you go if you have to go. Not because you have the luxury of time and choice. The Little White Company schmooses. And it’s thoughtfulness is memorable.

Shop headlines and home descriptions both fall into the same two categories: the functional, and the emotional. Most adopt the former. These are the generic, copy-and-paste jobs, littered with cliché phrases and adjectives. Yes, they are quick to write, and yes, they probably describe the home to some degree. But when you take a leaf out of The Little White Company, and craft a considered headline, it makes people pause and want to find out more.

Now let’s compare two property headlines. The first reads, ‘*ESTATE AGENTS* are pleased to market this substantial property in a HIGHLY DESIRABLE location. The property is WELL PRESENTED and in brief comprises three reception rooms…’ It goes on. And there is nothing wrong with the description. Just like the Matalan sign, it’s practical, reusable and informative. But, except tweaking the number of bedrooms and reception rooms, it reads like every other headline. The generic capitalized adjectives could be used to describe most homes, and the overall tone is dull and forgettable. It doesn’t tell the story of the home, and it doesn’t help people to picture the lifestyle that can be enjoyed inside.

Alternatively, here’s a schmoozy Rightmove headline, ‘Is this the best view in the Lake District? Victorian splendour, views to make you swoon, and a wine cellar to boot. Welcome to the Old Vicarage.’ The opening sentence talks to you. It invites conversation, and it’s warm. There is just enough personality, and just enough detail, to make you want to find out more. The language and tone is elegant yet friendly, and the description is unique to the property.

Much like The Little White Company posters, this headline is less focused on functionality, and captures a lifestyle instead. Why? Because emotions sell homes. And everyone wants a home that is special.

So, to pinch a few words from our friends at The Little White Company, ‘It’s the little things that matter.’ Let’s take all the little things that make your home special, and invite families to see for themselves.

table with book on top Headlines that sell homes

table with a cup of tea besides fire place Be nice to your estate agent

It’s difficult for both you and your agent when the market is slow; they don’t have anything to tell you, so not only will they stop calling, they may even start avoiding your calls too. Meanwhile, you’re left feeling frustrated and powerless, wondering what on earth you can do when no one wants to view your home.

Communication between you and your agent at this tricky time becomes all the more important. Without communication, there can be no trust, and without trust, there is no worthwhile relationship. But when you’re in a locked loop of your agent not calling because there’s no interest, yet you need to know what you can do to improve the situation, it’s easy to become despondent.

Here are my top five communication tips when you’re trying to sell your home, to ensure the relationship doesn’t degenerate irretrievably:

1. Pre-empt any issues by agreeing a communication schedule before you launch your home to the market. This is over and above any calls to arrange viewings, or to give feedback afterwards; this plan outlines your expectations and so your agent has some chance of meeting them. For example, you could ask for a fortnightly call on a Friday, regardless of whether there had been any viewings in between. In this call you could ask them about market conditions and trends, recent sales, viewings on other comparable properties, and updates on any of your recent viewers. With a plan agreed in advance, there are clear expectations and if these are not met, you can refer your agent back to their original agreement. 

2. Keep your communication positive – if your agent feels that they are being told off, or held to account, for a lack of interest in your property, they will be increasingly reluctant to pick up the phone to you. If however, your tone is encouraging, friendly and supportive, they will look forward to speaking to you, and they will be only too happy to have a chat to you, even if there is nothing concrete to report.

3. If you’re in town, near your agent’s office, pop in. Take them cakes, or flowers out of your garden for the office. If they offer to make you a cup of tea, even better. Take the time to really get to know the staff in the office, and you and your house will be at the forefront of their mind when they next receive a suitable enquiry. Agents are just like me and you; they have favourite clients, so make sure you’re one of them.

4. Ask for advice: lots of vendors do this, but then they either don’t listen to any suggestions, or else they argue with it. If you genuinely listen and show that you value any input that might improve the level of interest in your property, you will find your agent much more confident about discussing the issues with you.

5. Share your plans with them: if your agent knows how important your move is, perhaps to be closer to a special relative, to give yourself more financial security, or to realise your long-held dream of living in the country, they will be able to genuinely identify with your aspirations. By taking them into your confidence, you are showing that you trust them, and the resulting enhanced relationship will allow them to do the best possible job of selling your home for you.

Don’t forget, your agent is just a person, like you or me. They like people who are nice to them and bring them cupcakes!

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch

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table with a cup of tea besides fire place Be nice to your estate agent

What to read next: 10 Quick Staging Tips for Summer

What to do next: Sign up to my Selling Secrets https://www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secrets

Flower vase with on top of the table Home staging

Home staging, or as it’s sometimes known, house dressing, has been with us now for over a decade.  Originating in the States, the formidable Anne Maurice brought the concept over in 1998 with her Channel 5 programme ‘House Doctor’ and whilst the British public was slow to catch on at first, now the Home Stager Network boasts a wide membership of active home stagers, and over 250,000 unique visitors per year to its website.

So what exactly IS home staging, and when does it become refurbishment, or renovation?

Firstly, the objective of home staging isn’t to improve the house itself: the fixtures and fittings; kitchens; bathrooms will all stay the same, even if they are dated – replacing them is not within the remit of a home stager.  Instead, think of it as ‘dressing’ a home for sale.  Imagine your home is about to be the subject of a four page spread in Country Life, or 25 Beautiful Homes; what would you do to prepare each room so it looks its very best for the photographer?  Perhaps you would move furniture around to accentuate a feature, or have a grubby wall repainted; it’s really about looking at your house with a critical and objective eye.

If you’ve lived in your home for more than a decade or two, you may find that you can’t be objective; you’re just too close to it.  Or perhaps you don’t have the time, or the necessary skills, to bring the best out of every room.  In which case, commissioning a home stager could be a very worthwhile investment.

What will it cost?

There are two costs to consider when using a home stager: the cost of her time, and also the accessories and items she suggests you buy in order to dress your home effectively.  As a general rule of thumb, the initial assessment visit plus a short report will set you back up to around £300.  Time is usually charged at between £30 and £50 per hour, and this includes a shopping trip, if you feel it necessary.  Alternatively, she can provide you with a shopping list, to your agreed budget, with suggested shops and items to buy.  I usually recommend my clients invest at least £500, and sometimes up to £1000, though rarely more than this.

What will I need to buy?

The good news is, home staging items are things you can take with you!  Therefore it’s important that you like them, wherever possible, whilst at the same time they add value to your home.  Home staging accessories often include new bedding, cushions, rugs, artwork, bathroom accessories, and any little knickknacks that help to complete the look.

How can I find a home stager in my area?

A good place to look is the Home Stager Network, or ask your local estate agent as they can usually recommend someone.

A really good home stager can add tens of thousands of pounds to the value of your home; a value that will be reflected not only in your photography, but also in the improved confidence of your estate agent that he can sell your house for the price you want.