Five ways to home stage on a shoestring

Published by Kara Gammell on 21 July 2017.
Last updated on 21 July 2017

A woman picks colour palettes in her living room

Hiring a company to stage and decorate your property to lure in potential buyers could mean you get a lot more when you sell, and in a cooling property market, it could clinch a sale. Moneywise looks at the dos and don’ts of home staging – and whether it pays off.

If you don’t have the cash to do major works on your property, don’t despair. Some tricks of the trade can help you stage your home on a shoestring. Here are five to get you started.

1. Clean up thoroughly

Figures from Go Compare Mortgages show that 65% of prospective buyers would avoid homes that have been poorly maintained.

Freshen up your home by giving it a good clean – top to bottom and inside and out – and remember to air the rooms. Cleaning the windows will help increase natural light in rooms. Banish nasty smells by having the carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned. If you have a cat, make sure the litter box is clean before a potential buyer views your home.

An easy way to make your home appear more spacious is to declutter. It won’t be easy, and you may need to hire extra storage space, but having a clear out can pay dividends.

2. Ensure every room has a purpose

Having one clear purpose for every room is crucial to successfully staging a house for sale. A good approach is to think about what potential buyers might be looking for. Multi-purpose rooms may work against you, as they give the impression that the property is smaller than it is. Whether you buy inexpensive furnishings, hire them or borrow some from friends, tweaking furnishings to give a room a clear single purpose will have a big payoff.

3. Don’t bank on a second chance to impress

Experts agree that the average buyer decides about a house within about eight seconds of arriving. If they hate your house from the outside, there’s a good chance they won’t even bother looking inside. ‑

So make sure you maximise kerb appeal. Look at the paintwork around your windows, for instance. Is it chipped or peeling? Pay close attention to the pathway: power wash it thoroughly and replace any loose paving stones. If possible, find an alternative hiding place for your wheelie bins. ‑

“If you have room, place flowerpots by the front door and fill them with seasonal plants or flowers,” says Ms Joerin. “Remember to keep them looking good by regularly watering and dead-heading them –a dying plant looks worse than no plant at all.”

Replace any missing roof tiles – one of the most off-putting things for a potential buyer is thinking they will have to spend thousands of pounds replacing a roof.

4. Consider your closets

Storage space can be a make-or-break issue for buyers, so show yours off to its full advantage by reducing the contents. Experts suggest aiming for 20-30% open space in each built-in wardrobe or cupboard to give the impression of spaciousness.

5. Depersonalise

Many of us love to have family photos on the walls of our home, but you want a potential home buyer to picture themselves living there, and seeing pictures of your kids could interfere with that vision.

If you have walls of family pictures, print off neutral images of landscapes or flowers from a photo-sharing site such as Flicker.com and pop them over the existing photos in the frames.

For more on professional home stagin read our feature Is professional home staging worth the cost?

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