Much of the art of selling a house happens before it ever hits the market. Knowing the best approach can help you get tens if not hundreds of thousands more on your sale price, even if you have to make a small investment first.
When planning your sale, it’s important to determine if your home’s highest value lies in its potential for renovation or if it’s a home that you expect buyers will be able to move straight into without major changes.
In many cases, investing $5,000 – $10,000 in strategic cosmetic improvements before you sell will provide one of the best, often tax-free, returns that you will see in your lifetime. By obtaining professional advice upfront and focussing on high impact, low cost areas like painting, floors, landscaping and styling we estimate that a 10x return on investment is quite feasible.
On the other hand, it could be that the highest value for your property will be in its potential for major renovation or redevelopment. In some cases, the worse a house looks the stronger the appeal will be to buyers looking for those opportunities – peeling paint and rotting carpets can actually increase the appeal. In those cases, investing in cosmetic updates and styling can not only be a waste of money, it can actually detract from the sale price as the marketing will attract the wrong buyers, making the sale will fall flat.
My experience in selling more than 600 homes across the Inner West allows me to accurately identify the strongest target market for each property I represent and to confidently advise my clients on how to maximise their sale proceeds.
Over my career, I have developed a great network of efficient and economical trades and home stylists to suit all different property types and budgets. We don’t use generic ‘furniture hire companies’ but rather qualified interior designers who are experts at space planning and who tailor a unique styling proposal for each property.
The benefits of home staging
We work with Tanya Giuffre from Evolve Styling on a lot of our properties. Tanya shared her thoughts with me on the topic of home styling a property for sale;
“It’s proven that if you style your house you will always get your money back, minimum, on what you’ve spent, but in most cases the return on investment can be much more. By styling your house, what you’re doing is making it stand out for the right reasons. Most homeowners are opting to style their property these days, so if you don’t style, you’re missing the boat and likely to be at a disadvantage.”
Having a professional home stylist look at your property with fresh eyes can help give you a new perspective. A fresh lick of paint, the major overhaul of a kitchen/bathroom or the removal of clutter and personal photos can all help to make a home more desirable and therefore sellable.
Other reasons to style a home for sale
Of course, there are plenty of reasons to stage your home, and they aren’t all based on the house price.
Here are some more things to consider:
- A styled home will photograph beautifully and attract more interest online which will drive more buyers to inspect your home.
- Styling gives your home as broad an appeal as possible, which means you will attract more competition and bring in more offers.
- It allows you to depersonalise the property so potential buyers to visualise themselves living in your property.
- You have the chance to identify and minimise potential resistance points before it hits the market which in turn leads to increased engagement and competition.
- A better staged home often means a quicker sale, so fewer open homes for you.
Tanya says, “As a stylist, when I come to a property I start at the front gate. The first impression is important as it’s about getting people into your home. Beautiful photos on the internet will help ensure people turn up to the open for inspections, but if homebuyers see the for sale sign driving past your home, the first impression is from the front gate.”
“Repair things, make sure your house feels like it’s been loved; if the letterbox is on a skewiff, straighten it up. Freshly paint the front fence if you need to. Get potted flowers, whatever’s in season, and put them by the front door. Just basic maintenance so the house feels like it’s been loved and well cared for.”
Home staging doesn’t have to be expensive
Even though home styling should be seen as an investment, if you have a tight sales and marketing budget it can be hard to be motivated to start spending. Luckily, there are small things you can do that can make a big difference.
Tanya says, “The first thing you’ve got to do is declutter. What people look for in a house is a sense of lightness, space and freshness. If you think of that as a litmus test, you really need to open your rooms up. Decluttering is the best way, and the most inexpensive way, of improving how your house looks.”
“Things that you should be doing is trying to get as much light coming through the windows, so if you have a piece of furniture sitting across a window, you’d be wise to remove that out the way. The other thing you can do is take window dressings down. If you’ve got heavy curtains reducing the amount of light coming in, you’d also want to take them down.”
“How you style for sale isn’t necessarily how you live in the house. You’ve got to make sure when you’re decluttering that you’ve got flow zones, these are routes that people are going to take to walk through the house. You don’t want them to be walking around furniture because that will make the room feel smaller.”
Seek professional advice before you start preparing for sale
A big part of your real estate agent’s role will be to assist with preparing for sale. They not only know the areas to focus on but they have the connections and experience to get the work done faster, and more economically than you might be able to.
There are lots of ways a full service real estate agent will help you, including the following:
- We know the best course of action to add value and right order to approach the work.
- We have a proven network of tradies and home stylists.
- We will help to organise storage and removals as you declutter.
- We can help with everything right through to cleaning and flowers for the open homes.
My team and I have many years of experience in preparing a home to sell, and have a proven track record in achieving above average sales results for clients. We work with styling experts like Tanya and, together, we create a plan to help you focus your investment on improvements that will yield the best return.