While nothing new to the real estate market, the trend of home staging has seen an increase in popularity among sellers who want to create the optimum buyer appeal when placing their home on the market, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. He notes that preparing and getting the home ready for sale can have a very positive effect on potential buyer’s opinion of the property and home staging is just one of the ways that sellers can do this.
“It goes without saying that every seller wants to sell their home in the shortest possible time frame for the best possible price. In order for the seller achieve this, they need to make their home as appealing as possible to the highest number of potential buyers in the market. Estate agents use home staging as one of their marketing tools by highlighting the home’s best features. Essentially it is preparing the home for sale by using techniques that focus on improving the property appeal and transforming it into an attractive and welcoming space,” says Goslett.
A prime example of staging is a retail shop’s display window, where mannequins are used to allow the person looking in the window to see themselves wearing the clothes or using the product displayed. Goslett notes that home staging is similar in that it aims to showcase the home’s best qualities and entice the potential buyer to see themselves living in that home – it creates aspirations.
“It is possible to have a home professionally staged by a skilled staging specialist, however this will come at a cost,” says Goslett. “Professional staging can include the rental of furniture or artwork, buying paint or wallpaper, as well as products that may be required to fix certain defects such as cracks in the wall or sanding wooden floors.”
He notes that sellers who would like to avoid the cost of a professional stager can make simple changes to their home themselves that could create a big impact. “There is a number of websites, television shows and other forms of information available to homeowners to assist them in making the most of their home and getting it ready for show day,” adds Goslett. “The home must be clean, inviting and exciting for potential buyers to view. The object is for buyers to not only want the home, but want it more than any other homes for sale in the neighbourhood.”
He notes that the initial step is to ensure that all clutter or unnecessary items are removed or packed away. “The idea is for the buyer to be focused on the property itself and not the items inside of it. If a room or space is overcrowded, be sure to remove some furniture to open the space up a little. If possible it is good to reduce the amount of items in the house to around half – so be ruthless in the selection of items. Hiring a storage unit while the home is on the market will help in storing pieces that the seller wants to keep, but don’t want in the house,” says Goslett.
He explains that with less clutter in the home, the spaces will appear bigger and will be easier to clean. “With less in the house it will be easier to have the carpets professionally cleaned, which will make a big difference and will leave the home smelling great. Taking the curtains down and washing them will also add to the pleasant aroma of the home. Fresh or new bedding will go a long way in sprucing up the bedrooms and having them look their best on show day,” adds Goslett.
According to Goslett, the way the home smells can have a huge impact on the sale of the home as good smells can conjure up positive emotions, while bad odours on the other hand will put potential buyer off. For example, nothing beats the smell of freshly brewed coffee or freshly baked bread on a show day – it is a really inviting smell to most people, Goslett explains.
Once the property has been de-cluttered, cleaned and smells good, the seller can start looking at possibly painting the walls, and rearranging the furniture. It’s best for each room to be as open and bright as possible. As a general rule the curtains or blinds should be open to let in as much light as possible and the lights should be turned on.
“It’s not always that big changes that make the most impact, sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. This includes things like ensuring the pool is blue and sparkling or that the lawn has been mowed. Small defects should be attended to such as replacing a cracked window pane or broken door knob,” says Goslett. “A nice touch is some fresh flowers on display, a welcome mat or fresh fruit in a bowl in the kitchen – all these little things combined will add to the appeal of the home and impress potential buyers,” he concludes.
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