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How to stage your home

When it comes to selling your home, you want to make sure you present it at its best. Here's how staging can help.

How to stage your home

When you decide to sell your home, you want to ensure you get the best price you can for it. After all, it’s your home. You’ve likely put in work to make it a lovely place to live, and you want potential buyers to see that.

One of the ways you can ensure a more positive response from viewers (both on property portals and in person) is staging your home.

What does staging mean?

Just like when a play in a theatre is staged, your property can be adapted to be shown in its best light. Staging can range from tidying and rearranging furniture to painting walls and making bigger changes.

The idea is to show the potential of your home, just as when you’d visit a show home in a new build property – it’s there to give an idea of how the property could look, so making it appealing and welcoming is key.

Simple staging fixes

Staging can be incredibly simple and need not take a lot of effort. There are a few changes you can make that can make a big difference.

Clearing the clutter – the first thing you need to do is clear away your clutter. If you’re moving home, this is a great time to get rid of anything you no longer want or need, as it will cut down on your moving costs too.

Clearing surfaces of too many personal items will make the property look more spacious, but will also depersonalise it, allowing your potential viewers to imagine themselves living there.
 
Embracing neutrals – you don’t need to remove any sign of you living in your home (after all, you’re going to continue to live there whilst viewings go on!) but toning down some brighter or eye-catching items can be helpful. For example, buying some basic white or cream duvet covers for the rooms can help viewers focus on the room rather than the Spiderman bedspread. Imagine your home is a little like a hotel – comfortable, inviting, but impersonal.
 
Light it up – it’s surprising how much difference light can make to a property. It can make it seem bigger and more appealing, so be sure to make the most of it. Make sure windows are clean and clear, with curtains or blinds pulled back.

If you don’t have much natural light, improve your room by upping the brightness of the lightbulbs you use, or adding extra lamps to those rooms where you need a little boost. Bear in mind that making the room lighter may highlight scuffs or marks, so if you need to do a deep clean, now is the time.
 
Match the season – a simple but effective tip is to provide what your viewers want for the time of year. If they are viewing in winter, they’ll want a property that looks (and feels) warm and cosy. Soft lighting, ensuring it is warm on arrival, and adding a few throws, rugs or pillows to your living room can make a big difference.

Similarly in the spring or summer, bringing fresh flowers into your home, keeping it cool and having a neat patio or garden area conjures images of them enjoying your home the way you do.

Rearrange – you have likely organised your rooms in the best way that works for you. But take a moment to consider if they might look bigger organised in a different way. If, when you have decluttered, moving the sofa or television might create a feeling of more space, try it. Yes, the potential buyers will do what they want with the place but helping them to see it in its best light will go a long way to securing a sale.
 
Keep it clean – the easiest and simplest staging tip of all. We’ve all seen those property listings online where the house is a mess – make sure yours isn’t one of them. Yes, if you’re in the right price range and right area, the viewer might come anyway, but isn’t it better to make a first impression? If it doesn’t look like you look after your house, they may be concerned about more general upkeep issues. Keep your home clean and clutter free (even if that means hiding things in cupboards!)
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More in depth staging changes

If you’ve got some time before you’re going to put your property on the market, you can make some bigger changes that will really help with it comes to staging it appropriately for potential buyers.
 
Get it fixed – small fixes can make a big difference. From door hinges that need to tightening to replacing the peeling lining around the bathtub. Those small jobs you never got around to can really make your home seem more appealing and well taken care of, which will speed viewers up in making a decision. Time to get the toolbox out.
 
Paint it up –  if your walls are a particularly loud shade, it might be worth whitewashing the whole property. Painting in white or cream gives a property a clean, fresh look, and allows the new buyers to put their stamp on it. Whilst it may seem like a pointless task, the potential buyer looks at it and sees one less thing they have to do – with a neutral colour they could move in and live with it as it is.

This is often why new builds and staged properties are decorated in soft, light colours. It’s easier to show the potential than it is to convince someone they love a specific colour.

Painting won’t cost much and doesn’t take much time, but it can be the difference between a lukewarm first impression and a great one.

Where to start

The best way to begin with staging is to put it into steps:

Clearing   

Throw stuff away! Clearing out and either throwing, recycling or donating as much as you can will make your move (and staging) so much easier.

Assessing

Get a friend to walk around your home with you and identify any flaws. You will have become blind to some of the issues, you just won’t notice them anymore. Finding elements you can fix up will ensure your property is impressive.

First impressions 

You never get another shot at your first impression, so make sure the outside of your home looks as good as you can make it. With houses, this can be overgrown lawns, peeling paint on the front door and other elements. With flats, where you have little control over the first impression, make sure your entry way and the entrance to your flat is clean and clear.

Sorting and storing 

If you have a lot of stuff, and you’re upsizing to a bigger property, you may not want to throw lots away. In this case, it may be better to pack up some of your items and hold them in a storage unit. This will give an open, spacious feel to your property, and will save you doing all of the packing in one go.

Deep cleaning

Whether it’s steam cleaning the stains out of your carpet, or getting a professional team in to add some shine to your bathroom, a deep clean is always a good choice.

Neutralise 

From getting the paint pots out to buying neutral curtains and duvet covers, make your home comfortable, relaxed and open to potential.

Nature 

Bring a bit of life into your property with flowers, fruit or plants. Especially if you’ve worked hard to neutralise, a ‘pop’ of colour can make it feel more lively.

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What difference does staging make?

It’s not proven that staging will get you more offers or a higher price, but it’s likely to help with quicker decisions.

Visitors will have seen the images online, and come with expectations. Your home will either disappoint them, or exceed their hopes.

By presenting your home well, you’re making a potential buyer feel more warmly towards you, because they don’t have to work as hard. They don’t have to imagine what it would look like if they made improvements. They can feel comfortable and see themselves moving in immediately.

When property staging is done to a very high quality (sometimes by professional stagers) it offers an aspirational approach – if you live here, you can have this life too. It creates a ‘perfect’ bubble of possibility.

Whether your aim is to make your property aspirational or neutral, staging can help you prepare for your sale, and may help you cut down on the time spent with viewings and uncertainty from the buyer.

For more information on preparing to sell, have a look at our how to sell your home guide.

If you’re looking for a quick sale, we have a guide for that too.

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