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The importance of a proper home staging before selling.

I can not believe how many people still believe that you can put up a house for sale on the market and that you need to do nothing about the interior and it’s design whether it is updated or not. Considering the property market in the WORLD not only in the south of France and the context we are in, as a seller you have to start thinking like a buyer. Why would someone want to buy your house and not the one down the road, in the same neighbourhood or even in the same city as long it is in the same price range? Or worse what if the other property is cheaper??? Why would someone want your property? Even if your property has the perfect location (you must have heard - location, location, location!) Then still, you need to offer the buyer something special. Namely your house made to look it’s absolute best. You need to create a jaw dropping atmosphere, where the heartbeat rises because your potential buyer want’s this house - he/she want’s to sleep in your bed - sit in your sofa - entertain in your house - eat at your dining table - cook in your kitchen - swim in your pool and relax on your terrace. Sometimes this means that you need to paint - maybe change a bathroom or two - update furniture - declutter - decorate - and have BEAUTIFUL photographs taken. It’s not for nothing that programs about interior design, real estate, home staging and home make overs are so popular. In times of crisis people tend to spend more time at home and that home just needs to look fabulous because you want everyone to feel at home, feel fab, admire and want to spend time with you in your home. Not to mention that you yourself want to spend time at home and "feel good at home” which is a totally different reason for doing some serious home staging. A very valid one, by the way. Anyhow, if your property is up for sale, first you need the visits. If your agent does not have a good photographer you should have one! Have inviting photographs made. If you send a buyer an unattractive, grainy and overexposed picture he/she will not want to visit. And why should they unless you are providing a **** of a deal?! (Meaning, selling your property under the market value.) Before having these photographs made, declutter! CLEAN - first stage in home staging. Take away anything that makes the property look crowded. Also, not too many photographs on display! Nobody is interested in you great-aunts wedding 30 years ago unless it is because you have it in black and white on a photo wall. Trinkets that are only valuable to you (children's first drawings - ceramic ashtrays or pots - homemade frames etc etc) get rid of them - or at least stow them away somewhere where you can easily “forget them” when moving. Look at your colour scheme - does it match? If your walls are hung with green flower wallpaper, your couch is brown, the chairs bordeaux red, dining table of glass and chairs around yellow, your scheme does not match! Most people like calm colours - Paint white or a light colour but watch out - colours are extremely difficult. A colour in the livingroom can look absolutely different in the dining room and vice versa. Be sure you choose a warm tone. (Another reason for having a warm colour is that it is flattering for your complexion, making you look stunning while throwing that long over due dinner party…) Reupholster your couch and chairs or buy new ones. Make it all fit together. Don’t forget cushions and plaids. If you don’t already have nice items such as paintings, statues, candleholders and decorative objects. Invest in a few - you can always take them with you - or sell with the house. Make up your beds like a professional - even if it means 8 cushions on the bed and a lovely throw that you will have to throw on the floor before going to bed. By the way, don’t worry everyone can make up a gorgeous bed, my offspring know how to make the perfect bed in 2 minutes - because they always had to make their own beds. Another room that is very important is your kitchen. Somehow we spend more time cooking and socialising in the kitchen. It has actually become one of the main features of a house. The budget for changing a kitchen can be enormous. What you expect to get when selling should determine if it is worth replacing the kitchen. Look at your worktops. Are they ok? Not too crowded? Clean? In a colour that is acceptable? If not - change them! If you can get away with only painting the cupboards, by all means, do! Are the taps ok? If not - change them. Appliances clean and ok looking? If not change them or hide them in a cupboard. Simply make your kitchen look good. If the bathrooms are terribly outdated - change them! If not and you can just change a colour and maybe a sink - do it. Again, bathrooms are luxury and people tend to pay more if they feel that a property is luxurious. For your garden, have your gardener do a proper clean up, if you don’t have a gardener roll up your sleeves and start working- plant some new plants to make the garden attractive and take a good hard look at your outside furniture. Halfbroken and faded? Throw them away and buy new. Today any DIY store has decent outdoorfurniture for reasonable prices.

Leakages and broken things needs to be fixed! When everything is done you can have the photos taken. If you don’t sell immediately at least you can enjoy a house looking good and maybe, who knows, you might even decide not to sell…. I have done a few home staging operations on houses that were impossible to sell and the most successful one was a house estimated to 900 000 and sold for 1 600 000 with an investment of less than 100 000 in home staging. For totally renovated houses the success stories are even better but I’ll save that for another time. For all of you, happy autumn and enjoy the beautiful autumn colours and change of weather.

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