Home staging is the concept of preparing a house for sale. This can involve everything from removing clutter, re-arranging furniture and in some cases re-decoration, ensuring that the house creates a great first impression and helps buyer's to feel that they could really live there.
Although the concept of home staging is not new, it has certainly taken off during the last few years, fuelled by the booming property market and popular television shows, such as Channel 4's House Doctor.
Why use a professional home stager?
It is very difficult for people not to add their personal touch to their homes whilst living in them. However too much personalisation can often put buyers off a property.
One person's favourite flowery wallpaper may not appeal to everyone, whilst tatty furniture or poorly maintained gardens may betray the true value of the home.
First impressions matter
A home stager will be able to take an objective look at your home, as if they were the buyer and spot areas of weakness that could cost you the sale or lead you to reduce your asking price.
Whilst an estate agent will often provide advice on improving a property for sale, the home stager will take this a stage further and actually implement the improvements.
Preparing the property for sale can be considered by many as an unnecessary expense, but it should be seen as an investment that allows the owner to sell their property quickly, whilst maximising the potential value.
Things to think about when selling your home
If you want to do your own home staging, you should be looking at the following aspects:
Often rooms become overcrowded with clutter. Buyers will be looking for rooms that appear spacious and airy, so if you have to many possessions, you may wish to put some of them into storage, leaving just enough to give the room a comfortable, lived-in feel.
Too much furniture can also make a room appear small and cramped. Again, it is worth putting some furniture into storage until you have moved. Try to arrange your remaining furniture at angles, rather than just lining it up against the walls and if there are focal points such as fireplaces, try to use your furniture to enhance these.
Appropriate use of rooms
Ensure that different rooms in the house can be distinguished for different activities. Make sure that the dining room is actually a dining room, not the kid's playroom and think about taking all of the junk out of the spare room, so that it can be presented as a home office.
Good lighting can also make a room seem bright and airy. Always try to allow as much natural light into your home as possible. If necessary clean the windows and cut back any trees or bushes that are obstructing daylight. Make use of table lamps to brighten areas of the house that do not receive as much natural light.
Clean and tidy
Always ensure that the house is spotless before viewings. Nothing will put buyers of more than a house that appears dirty and uncared for. It is always a good idea to have the carpets cleaned professionally and you may want to do the same with older furniture, especially the three-piece suite.
Tidy up the garden
Often the garden will be the first impression that the buyer has of the property before they even get to see the house, so it is important that you apply the same clean, tidy and uncluttered principles.
Don Suter is Managing Editor of the UK Property Portal (http://www.ukpropertyportal.co.uk ), an online directory and magazine for UK property sales, rental, surveyors, mortgages, conveyancing, property insurance, removals, news, investment and development
More information on selling your home
Find out more with our Selling Your Home guide and Property Sales pages.