For the best chance of finding a buyer and achieving the maximum price, preparing a property for sale is vital. Clutter and outmoded decor make it difficult for buyers to visualise themselves making your house into a home – and if a property is unfurnished it can be even harder.
One solution to ensure that your property has instant buyer appeal is to use the services of a professional home stager to transform a tired interior into an aspirational living space. In this way, the estate agent’s photographs will generate increased interest, and viewings will have an immediate ‘wow factor’ when prospective buyers walk through the door.
A home staging company will discuss your requirements based on budget, property type and target market. Once a staging package has been agreed, they will deliver furniture and style the interiors – anything from a single room to an entire house.
If the buyer likes the look of your professionally staged home, they can usually arrange to buy the furniture from the staging company at a reduced price.
Giving your property a makeover before putting it on the market has a number of advantages, according to a recent survey of property professionals by the Home Staging Association UK & Ireland. Among the benefits the report highlighted are:
100% of the estate agents surveyed for the report agreed that “home staging makes it easier for a buyer to visualise the property as their future home”
94% of respondents said that staging a property increases the number of viewings it receives, and 100% agreed that higher quality photographs – which are easier to attain if the property has been staged – will lead to more viewings. Additionally, three-quarters of those surveyed found that buyers spent more time viewing a staged property than an unstaged one.
Almost all those surveyed - 94% - reported that staged properties sell faster than unstaged ones. 61% said these properties sell up to twice as quickly, while almost one in 10 had seen staging lead to a sale three times faster.
More than three-quarters of respondents to the survey found that staged properties attracted a higher offer value than similar homes that had not been given the professional treatment. The most common uplift reported was 1%-3%, but one in six said offer prices were improved as much as 10% by staging. Overall, the expected return for staging is +3%.
When comparing similar properties, did staging increase the offer value?
Contrary to popular belief, home staging isn’t only for prime property targeting wealthy buyers: any home that is not currently shown in its best light can be a candidate. The Home Staging Association UK & Ireland asked estate agents which properties they felt would most benefit. The most common answers were vacant houses (38%) and vacant flats (22%), as an empty and unfurnished building is hardest to visualise as a home.
Even if a property is not vacant, if it has been listed for sale without finding a buyer, it could be worth withdrawing it from the market and calling in a home stager before relisting it. "We've seen homes that have been listed on the property portals before being staged, then relisted with new photographs after staging, and interest levels have gone up five or ten times,” says Nicky Bloom, of David Phillips, the UK's largest home staging provider.
Almost three-quarters of estate agents surveyed agreed that if you are only going to stage one room, it should be the main reception room. One in 10 opted for the kitchen, and a similar number for the master bedroom. The dining room and outdoor spaces were rated the least important.
According to Nicky Bloom at David Phillips, you should reckon on 0.5%-1% of the property’s value for a typical three-month staging term. Given the potential increase in offer price that a staged home can achieve, this is likely to be money well spent – indeed, 77% of the professional property developers surveyed by the Home Staging Association agreed that staging pays for itself.
Home staging costs 0.5-1.0% and offers an expected price increase of 3.0%. That's a massive 300% to 600% return on the cost of staging in less than six months.
At Movewise we think every property should sell for as much money as possible and so every property that would benefit from staging should use it. Staging to date has often been used by developers as they have the budget to pay for it and can see the benefits. The staging companies, meanwhile, have been reluctant to offer "pay on completion" deals as collecting payment is complicated. The relatively large upfront outlay – even with a very good chance of more than recouping the cost through a higher sale price – means that many individual sellers might consider staging prohibitively expensive.
At Movewise, we see staging as similar to insurance. It works for individuals if someone else bears the risk. For 1.5% (staging cost only) Movewise will offer to fund your staging with David Phillips, and you pay on successful completion only.
For more general information about how to sell your house: choosing the best agent, valuing the property and the best time to sell see our guide on How to sell a house.
For more information on risk-free home staging, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.