Home Staging Advice For Sellers

 

So, you are staring down the barrel of one of the most stressful things to do in life, right up there with marriage, babies and divorce: selling your house. Cue the terrifying music. This is a place I’ve been many, many times, once at the same time as getting married – now that was a bad one, and a story so nightmarish I quite literally wrote a book about it, but I digress. My husband and I are perpetual bad decision makers when it comes to moving to a new house – we average out once every eighteen months or so in our never-ending search for ‘the one’.

The only silver lining of having had so many moves, is that we have learnt how to offload our poorly chosen houses and move on very quickly, albeit mostly into another frying pan/fire situation. In our house, we are cautious sellers, and are afflicted with our own form of groundhog-day hell when it comes to moving, where we make the same mistake time after time, waiting until we find our new dreamhouse before even putting our own house on the market.

This is a terrible way of doing things, so please don’t ever do this if you value your own sanity. Then we become deranged Duracell bunnies, leaning heavily on our agents to pull off a series of hoop jumps on our behalf for home staging advice for sellers like ourselves. But by some actual miracle, we have managed to achieve this several times in a row – selling our house within a couple of weeks, and often, on the first day.

How?

Well, when you get down to it, it’s quite simply all in the mind. In essence, you need to implant carefully crafted thoughts and ideas into the minds of your prospective buyers – “This is the house you were looking for”- Jedi style.

 

What to do?

Of course, you can choose to pay a dedicated Home Staging company to do this work for you, but if you are living in the property you are selling, this may not be practical as it can involve the hiring out of soft furnishings and furniture you then have to care for, especially scary if you have children – or pets! But you can absolutely do this yourself. Times have moved on from the good old days where all you needed to do to give yourself that special edge was to bake some bread and make a fresh pot of coffee before viewings, and today’s house buyers are rather harder to dazzle.

 

How does it work?

For me, home staging advice for sellers is the ability to spoon feed an imaginary better life to people who have no imagination of their own and convince them that it is just within their grasp. It’s actually quite amazing how hard most people find it to visualise – have you noticed how much harder it is to imagine yourself living in a house you view when empty? A house that should be the ultimate blank canvas? That’s because for most of us, we need a little hand holding when it comes to projecting our own life onto someone else’s.

There’s the obvious stuff, for instance, without a sofa, we can’t imagine our own sofa there. Without a double bed, we can’t gauge whether our own bed will fit. But it does go deeper, into creating that ‘feeling’ we all crave when we walk into a potential house – the feeling that says ‘home’, that suggests potential future happiness, that makes the words “perfect for entertaining!” optimistically escape out of our lips (as if any of us parents will be having a social life this decade).

Behind that unquantifiable something we all crave, lies the hope that, if we have that ‘feeling’, then the prospect of spending the largest amount most of us will ever spend in a single transaction, is actually completely fine and not in any way terrifying and definitely, DEFINITELY not going to be something we live to regret.

It’s getting the balance right between them just seeing your life, your things, your home, and them seeing their own life but better – because in most cases, they are moving because they are hoping to improve their life in some way. Most moves are in some way aspirational. In essence, you want to achieve jealousy. You want to achieve them wanting your life and happily paying top dollar to get it. Easy.

 

When the love affair with your home is over or life is calling you in a different direction, the urge to just whack your house on the market as soon as the decision is made and to skip to the fun bit where you go to judge other people’s houses is pretty overwhelming. But in this not-very-long-post-Brexit market, it really is worth taking the time to prepare. Your agent will no doubt tactfully suggest improvements on the big stuff during the home staging – like that ‘feature’ lime green wall in the kitchen and the ‘interesting’ display of seventy-eight porcelain cats that won’t appeal to the wider audience.

They will probably tell you to ‘declutter’ and ‘depersonalise’ but how far and how much are generally left all a bit up in the air and in your hands, as you are, after all, their customer and they have to remain polite and professional to stay on your good side.

 

Read more on Home Staging Advice For Sellers in our future journals…

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