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Is home staging worth it?

The must, should, could approach to home staging that will turn viewers into buyers

Let’s be honest, selling your home can feel like riding an emotional roller coaster.  Often, that’s because we feel guilty, knowing that we should be doing something to influence potential buyers, but not quite sure what. Instead, we bury our heads in the sand, become overwhelmed, or worse: do nothing at all.

It doesn’t need to be like that.

There are clear steps you can take to ensure you are raising a celebratory glass of bubbly in your dream home within weeks rather than months.  Nothing, though, happens by magic; you have a job to do here, and it’s a job that is definitely worth doing.  Your home needs to be spruced up ready for photographs, for marketing and for receiving visitors – and that’s down to effort on your part.  We’re not talking about hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears, but our suggestions for home staging will inevitably take up ‘some’ of your precious time.

Yet it’s important, if you’re investing time in the selling process, to prioritise the right things.  Below, in our must, should, could approach, we guide you towards choosing what to focus on, whether you’re constantly twiddling your thumbs with time on your hands, or whether full-time work has you begging for a break.

Must do

Presenting a clean and tidy home is quite simply non-negotiable.  A clutter-free home is much easier to clean, so these two things go hand in hand.  Remember that your objective is to sell, so it really is worth putting in the extra effort to achieve this.  It’s not always easy, but call in help from friends or relatives to free you up.  Tell them how important this is.  If they need persuading, tell them how important they are.  Tell them they’re on the invite list for the housewarming party when you move into your next house.

First, make sure you clear surfaces of papers and magazines that are no longer needed.  Pop them into recycling, then straighten up the things you want to keep.

Decluttering goes for other items too.  Be ruthless about what needs to go.  We’re not asking you to chuck out anything of real sentimental value – that’s not what we mean by clutter.  But ask yourself whether you really need everything you propose to keep.  Piles of randomly abandoned objects have a nasty habit of gathering dust, and that’s the last thing we want.  Help out a local charity by donating your unused china, old books and any toys that are no longer wanted; someone is bound to benefit from them.

Now, set about giving your home a really deep clean.  It’s not just a case of having a quick flick round with a duster.  Rows of books need to be taken down, and shelves need to be cleaned and polished before your favourite volumes are dusted off and put back in place.  Get to work on bathroom and kitchen tiling, as well as enamelled and stainless-steel surfaces.  A great tip here is to invest in hiring a steam cleaner (or even booking a one-off professional house cleaning) to make the job as effortless as possible – a small price to pay to have your home gleaming… and potential buyers beaming at the prospect of living there.

Should do

So, you’ve cleared the clutter and cleaned up – excellent.  Now, you really should consider embarking on a little painting.  If you’re cash rich and time poor, you could get a professional to help with this, but there’s really no need to.

It’s no secret that first impressions count.  What this means for you is ensuring that when potential purchasers come to call, they want to cross the threshold of your property.  A brightly-painted front door is pleasing to the eye, and helps to give your home kerb appeal.  If your front door could do with a lick of paint, it’s likely that window frames will need a touch up too.  Set about this without delay: remember that procrastination is the thief of time.

Before you tackle the paintwork on the inside of your home, cast a critical eye over your garden.  Is it looking overgrown? Could it do with a little weeding?  An hour spent on pruning and tidying up is definitely going to be time well spent.

And now to the inside.  You will know better than anyone where the stains and blemishes are in your home: these really do need touching up.  But, if you can manage it, a weekend spent painting walls and skirting boards, in relatively neutral colours, will enhance the positive features of the space you are presenting to potential buyers.

Could do

This is about dressing your home so that it looks good; it’s about the fine detail. Think of it as a final seductive flourish to woo viewers.  Think of it as selling a lifestyle.  The following are powerful steps we think you could take once you have sorted out the absolute essentials outlined above.

Make sure that your kitchen looks inviting, and remember, buyers have to be able to imagine themselves relaxing and cooking up a feast in there. During colder months, switch on the radiators so that the kitchen feels warm, cosy and enticing.  Perhaps have some soothing music playing in the background.  Add one or two props such as a colourful bowl of fruit, or a pair of glasses alongside a bottle of good red wine.  If this is a kitchen diner, allow viewers to see how it might look at mealtimes, by placing brightly-coloured placemats on the table.

If your kitchen cupboards are a little tired and worn, there’s no need to buy a whole new kitchen. Repainting or replacing the cupboard doors and handles is a quick, low-cost option which can completely change the feel of your kitchen.

It is essential that your lounge looks as comfortable as possible.  Make sure you pull chairs and sofas away from walls.  Group these to convey a convivial air.  Plants in planters will really enhance this space as will plumped-up, colourful cushions on furniture.  Use a standard lamp to light up a dark corner.

Upstairs, create a sense of luxury in bathrooms by displaying fluffy towels and a bright, thick bath mat.  Make sure that bottles of shampoo, toothpaste and shower gel are stored tidily.  In bedrooms, crisp, clean, neutral bed linen and duvets will really make the space look appealing.

Aim to neutralise odours throughout the house.  It is often difficult to detect these when we’re so used to them ourselves, but don’t take any chances.  Light up scented candles, brew up a pot of coffee – anything, in fact, to please the senses.

Home staging can seem a bit of a chore, but we think it’s vital for a quick sale.  Hopefully, we have given you some ideas for adopting a less stressful, more structured approach to the task, one that will have buyers falling over themselves to part with their cash.