Flick through the listings or visit a property for sale in the US or Australia and you’re a lot more likely to find it’s been primped and preened by a professional home stager than here in the UK.
One reason we’re somewhat behind the curve in this area is that it has largely been unnecessary in the past due to demand outstripping supply in many parts of theUK. Another is that British homes have typically been divided into more rooms – the trend towards open plan living is a more recent phenomenon here than in other countries.
But both of these things are changing, and that may mean home staging will become more popular here too…
Simon Godson, Director of Residential Agency at Jll, agrees, “A well thought out, furnished property will attract attention before an unfurnished one, as the eye is drawn to the ‘lifestyle’ that these dressed properties portray”, he says. “Sellers often go to great lengths to ensure their property is attractive and well presented, as it enables potential buyers to visualise the property as a ‘real home’.”
Shelly Robinson at Robinson Stone says that visualisation is key, so her job is to turn around the ugly duckling and make them fly. “As we always tell our clients: ‘Your property won’t get a second chance to make a first impression.’ Making sure that before launching their property onto the market it is looking it’s absolute best. In the same way, no one would go for a job interview without first having a jolly good brush up and polish of shoes…
“Selling is a team effort between the agent and the vendor and they have to work together to achieve the best outcome. Vendors have to learn that they must do their bit too, it’s not enough to just hand over the keys and expect the agent to perform magic. I’d remind vendors that if they were selling a car they would take it to be valeted before showing it to potential buyers. So why not when they come to sell their biggest asset?..
Tom Barry, Head of Residential Sales and Lettings in the UK at Keller Williams, the US real estate franchise company that is currently expanding its UK operations, says the firm’s experience in the US has been encouraging. “One of the partners in theUSwas talking about the difference in price achieved between clients who used home staging and those who didn’t and there was about a 10 percent difference, so clearly it’s a massive thing in theUS. It will certainly make a difference in theUK, I don’t know yet by what percentage. It would be magic if we could make that sort of difference here.”…
In today’s market properties need to stand out more than they did in the past and home staging is certainly another tool in the estate agent’s armoury that can help. With more economical options now hitting the market, perhaps it won’t be too long before some form of staging becomes just as popular here as it is in other countries.
- The Negotiator, May 2017
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