Fail to Prepare and Prepare to Fail – How putting in the effort at the outset can make a huge difference to your sale

Fail to Prepare and Prepare to Fail – How putting in the effort at the outset can make a huge difference to your sale

How quickly and how well you sell in today’s more challenging housing market, can be heavily influenced by the effort you put in at the very outset. How you present and stage your home could help you to get the best price and we increasingly find the better a home is presented (do-er up-ers apart) the better it sells. Homes that fall into the “tired” category but which are too good to be deemed projects can struggle in the current market where most buyers have exhausted their budgets securing their property and have little left for major redecoration projects especially with mortgage rates being at their highest in many years.

Home staging has been with us for more than twenty years now originating in the States. The formidable Ann Maurice brought the concept over in 1998 with her Channel 5 programme ‘House Doctor’ and whilst the British public were slow to buy in almost everyone now appreciates the benefits of staging. Whether one goes to the expense of hiring a professional home stager – and few do – when it comes to selling our homes we all need to think like pros. If nothing else a serious de-clutter should be on the agenda so go on and embrace your inner Stacey Solomon!

Firstly, the objective of home staging isn’t to improve the house itself: the fixtures and fittings; kitchens; bathrooms will all stay the same, even if they are dated – replacing them is not within the remit of a home stager. Instead, think of it as ‘dressing’ a home for sale. Imagine your home is about to be the subject of a four page spread in your favourite interiors magazine. What would you do to prepare each room so it looks its very best for the photographer? Perhaps you would move furniture around to accentuate a feature or have a grubby wall repainted; it’s really about looking at your house with a critical and objective eye.

If you’ve lived in your home for more than a decade or two, you may find that you can’t be objective because you’re just too close to it so perhaps ask a friend you trust to be completely honest to carry out a review and offer some constructive criticism. Remember you asked, so don’t be offended if they level with you and tell you that they’ve always hated the Midnight Magenta shade you painted the living room!

The good news is home staging items are things you can take with you! It’s important therefore that you like them, wherever possible, whilst at the same time they add some aesthetic value to your home. Home staging accessories often include new bedding, cushions, rugs, artwork, bathroom accessories, and any little knickknacks that help to complete the look. Remember these purchases are to make your home even more appealing. The items you buy are not being left but will be coming with you so perhaps look at the small investment as an early house-warming present to yourself for your next home!

If you’re in need of some inspiration you could do a lot worse than visit a few new build show homes even if you’re selling a traditional build with larger rooms and a different vibe. Let’s be honest, who hasn’t come away from a show house and felt a tinge of envy and wanted to redecorate and re-accessorize your whole house? Show homes are professionally and specifically designed to sell a property, by making the most of every aspect. Lighting, colour and furniture placement all play a part in making a home more desirable and adding value to a prospective buyer. At the same time, staging a property throughout ensures that a buyer doesn’t have to use their own powers of vision – if they have any – it’s all laid out for them so they can see exactly how they could use the space.

We can learn a lot from show homes, and the designers that stage them. Here are ten top tips to help you add that show home style to your own home, and sell it quicker – for more:

  • Define each room – your buyers need to know how they would use each room, so bedrooms need to be bedrooms, not offices, wherever possible. Similarly, a dining room needs a table, and box or junkrooms won’t do you any favours
  • Add the right lighting – lighting creates mood, so keep it light and bright in practical areas like your kitchen, whilst table lamps will add atmosphere and ambience to your living room and bedrooms.
  • Use colour cleverly – don’t go too bold when you’re selling some buyers just can’t visualise their style in a room that’s acidic yellow, or Ribena-purple. You don’t have to paint every room magnolia, but keep colours subtle and elegant to appeal to most buyers.
  • Make rooms feel as spacious as possible – mirrors and shiny surfaces help to bounce light around spaces, making them feel bigger. Try adding oversized mirrors to otherwise dim corners to really open them up. Remember, space adds value!
  • Invest in new bedding – cheap or old bedding can really devalue bedrooms, and make them feel dated. For a relatively small spend, you can transform your bedrooms with new bed sets in neutral colours.
  • Buy new cushions to dress your beds and your living room suites. It’s a safe area to add a touch of accent colour and texture, whilst allowing you to show you’re on trend.
  • Accessorise to bring up to date – pack old ornaments away and replace with new, modern alternatives. Vases, candles and other little touches can really improve an otherwise lacklustre room.
  • Reduce non-showhome elements – pet paraphernalia, children’s toys, and evidence of hobbies all need putting away out of sight so as not to overwhelm or distract your buyer.
  • Swap personal photos for stylish artwork – nice pictures for your walls don’t have to be expensive; there are plenty of high street shops selling affordable wall art, and these will give your walls a real lift. Choose art that won’t offend (no nudes!) and try to pick out colours from your existing décor to add a sense of balance and harmony.
  • Add the right flowers to all key rooms – big rooms need big flowers; if your ceilings are high, pick tall, elegant flower arrangements; farmhouse kitchens look better with handpicked posies from your garden, if the season allows. Flowers add scent and colour and are the perfect compliment to any room.

If you’re still stuck for show home inspiration give us a call and we’ll be happy to visit free of charge and help you with more tips and ideas so just give us a call or email

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