Getting ready to sell your property
We often get asked how best to stage and style a home ready for our visit when we call to make the appointment. Unfortunately by the time we are calling it is usually too late, unless you live extremely tidily or you are happy to wait a week or two whilst you prepare. One of our photographers has recently sold their own property and it took almost three weeks of meticulous decluttering and preparation to ensure that the shots were as good as they could be.
We often hear a whole host of reasons why the property is not presented very well from running out of time to messy children and my favourite one, that if people saw very tidy photos they would be disappointed on the viewing!!
It is well documented that a clean and tidy home sells quicker and for more money, so why would you choose to overlook the presentation of your home for the photographs and viewings?
There are 3 key points to consider when preparing your home.
• Repairs and DIY
• Decluttering and Tidying
• Cleaning and Staging
Repairs and DIY
When a potential buyer views your home they will be put off by unfinished DIY projects. This will give them a reason not to buy your property or consider the cost of finishing the work themselves which will be reflected in their lower offer. If there are a lot of unfinished jobs then a property can feel unloved and this too will affect your sale price. But don’t rush to finish those DIY projects because if there is one thing that will surely put off buyers more than unfinished DIY it is badly finished DIY. When a buyer identifies a case of bad DIY their minds go into overdrive, they look even harder to find more problems. I recently spoke to a friend of mine that was looking to buy a house and he said to me “you should have seen that state of some of the DIY in this place, just imagine what you couldn’t see”. We often see terrible cases ourselves when we photograph properties and some of the worst include heating thermostats that have been painted over, plug sockets with bare wires hanging out of them and our favourite one from this week “the new toilet”.
Decluttering and Tidying
Decluttering is different from tidying, decluttering by its very nature means to remove clutter not just move it somewhere else. Ideally excess clutter should be collected and then assessed, if you no longer need it then dispose of it (ideally to charity or if it is useless then take it to the tip), you’ll be glad when you finally move that you don’t have to take it with you. People often tell me that they have stuff in their loft that has been there since they moved in and they have never opened the box. There are many solutions to getting things out of the house, if you have a family or friends who can temporarily store things for you this is the perfect solution (just check on the insurance that it is covered). The loft or garage are also great places, but try and avoid it getting too crowded as buyers often see this as a sign that the house is not big enough and you are bursting at the seams.
Once you have decluttered the property then it’s time to start tidying. Avoid stuffing things in cupboards as again buyers see this as a property without enough storage (and believe me they will open your cupboards). Remember the mantra “A place for everything and everything in its place”.
Cleaning & Staging
Whilst you are decluttering and tidying there’s no doubt you will find areas of your home that have been missed over the course of time and it’s a good time to give you property a deep clean. Most people are quite happy with their own lack of cleanliness but are very intolerant of others (remember viewers will be very critical). We often photograph people’s homes and come away feeling a little queasy. All our photographers experience quite unpleasant things on a regular basis and I’ve heard some horror stories over the years. We all carry antibacterial hand cleanser in our cars and unfortunately use it more frequently than you can imagine. Why not ask a friend or family member to help you write a list and make sure you pick the right person to help you. We all have one friend who is known for their OCD tendencies.
When the cleaning is finished it is time to stage the property. Note that I use the word staging, you need to consider how to present your home to potential buyers. Let’s say you work from home and use bedroom 2 of your 4 bedroom home as your office, just because you like the extra space to work in. This is a sensible thing to do especially if you don’t use bedroom 3 or 4. But consider how this would look to a potential buyer. They will come away often not being able to visualise how a bed and furniture would fit it the second biggest bedroom. The best thing to do would be to rearrange the rooms and use bedroom 4 as your office temporarily until you move. You can then stage bedroom 2 to show off the space. The idea is to stage the property to show the best use of the space and not necessarily how you currently use it. Remember that this is all designed to get your home sold for the most amount of money in the shortest possible time frame so this should be a temporary arrangement, short term pain for long term gain.
Below is an example of a room that seriously needs to be staged, the sellers loved watching TV in bed but the arrangement was not only quite unusual but almost impossible to photograph and show the room off to its best. We couldn’t get a successful shot but here is a quick snap.
To successfully stage a room it’s important to strip everything back and start placing things in carefully and considerately. We have teamed up with Olivia “The Butler” who is an expert stylist and can help with decluttering and staging. If you would like any help then she is on hand. Check out the details here.
Here are some examples of carefully staged homes that have got it just right. I have included some brand new show homes too, sometimes these are a little contrived but developers spend thousands of pounds creating show homes and if I know one thing about large property developers, they hate wasting money so this is a tried and tested method of getting the highest price.