In a competitive marketplace, selling a home is no longer a straightforward transaction. From the artfully placed indoor plant to the striking artwork and fluffed-up cushions, home staging is now a common aspect of the home selling process. But does styling your home with the perfect furniture and artwork really help you make more money when selling?
“Absolutely it does,” says Rick Nicholson, a real estate agent with McGrath Inner West in Sydney. “Especially if the house needs that help to get it over the line. Buyers tend not to be able to visualise what a space can look like. You can say to a buyer, this room can easily fit a queen bed but if it’s empty they’ll say it won’t even fit a single.”
Using a professional home-staging company can set you back anywhere from $3500 for a two-bedroom apartment or semi to $10,000 for a larger home, according to Nicholson. But it can add up to $60,000 to your sale price.
Getting it right
Nicholson has proven experience with the power of home staging. Two years ago he recommended home staging to the vendors of a tired two-bedroom apartment. “It had been tenanted for many years and was rundown, really dark and had blue carpet,” he says.
On his advice, the vendors ripped up the carpet and painted the walls and had the apartment professionally styled with selected furniture and accessories. The total revamp, including the staging, cost $7000 to $8000, according to Nicholson. The apartment sold for $860,000.
The owner of the apartment directly below ignored Nicholson’s advice to give her property a similar staging treatment. Despite having the same footprint as the first apartment, this property sold a few months later for $760,000. “That illustrates the difference styling can make,” Nicholson says.
Should you do it?
Staging is designed to show a property in the best possible light. That means decluttering, brightening up the décor, clearing floor space for bump-free inspections and adding the right furniture into each room.
“Unless the house itself has many features that buyers are looking for – such as size, position, a north-facing aspect – I recommend home staging,” Nicholson advises. “It takes away the doubt buyers may have as to what they can fit into the property and it gives them a nice visual.”
What else can you do?
“At the very least, I would recommend to everyone that you declutter your home before putting it on the market,” Nicholson adds. “You don’t want people bumping into the furniture.”
While it may be counter-intuitive for most people, Nicholson also recommends de-personalising your home before selling – particularly packing away family photos. “The reason being is that you want people coming in to feel like this is their home, or that it’s going to be their home,” he says.
An impeccably clean and tidy home is of course a given, but don’t neglect the insides of wardrobes and kitchen cupboards. And pack away the dishwasher. “It’s amazing how many buyers open cupboard doors,” Nicholson says.
“Finally, always make sure the house is spotless. If you have animals, I would suggest putting them up with a friend during the inspection period.”