SELL FASTER: “stage” a home for your show day

Private Property South Africa
Iliana Efstratiou

First impressions are everything. The mere fact that a potential buyer is viewing a property indicates that a part of the decision has already been made. The question is, how do you maximise this window of opportunity – one that lapses in minutes?

Professional opinion is that the pre-sale preparation of a house, in the form of staging, pays dividends. International statistics show that staging results in quicker sales or better prices – or both.

For years, home staging was a well-kept secret of the most successful realtors. Today, staging remains the #1 marketing strategy in America. It can reduce a listing's time on the market by one third to half, and could fetch as much as 10 to 15 percent more than a home not properly staged.

Traditionally, staging companies have focused on unfurnished homes, or rather, furnishing empty homes. There is however in SA, an even greater need for furnished homes to be properly and professionally staged. But, many lack the time, experience or expertise to properly “dress up” a property.

More emphasis given to the finer details of furniture lay-out, colours and appealing accessories can transform a property and effectively alter a buyer’s first impression of that property.

So start setting the stage …

  • Open the windows and curtains, and cheat a bit by turning the lights on.

  • Hide features that are gender specific in the master bedroom.

  • Dress beds up with the best linens and plump up the pillows and scatter cushions.

  • Put fresh towels, decorative baskets and candles in the bathrooms.

  • Add a vase of fresh flowers to the living room or entrance hall.

  • Set the dining room table as if friends are expected for an elegant dinner.

  • Old appliances will make a kitchen look dated.

  • Scent the kitchen with vanilla aromatherapy oil or freshly-brewed coffee.

  • If there is air-conditioning, set it to a comfortable level.

  • Tidy the cupboards and storage areas like the cellar, pantry and laundry room.

  • Play some soft background music.

  • Clean everything until it gleams, and be ruthless about clearing away clutter, heavy curtains and surplus furniture.

  • Spruce up the garden with some instant colour in pots.

  • Turn on water features and fountains.

  • Make sure the swimming pool is immaculate.

  • Set up a seating area on the patio and set the table.

  • Make sure the house number is easily visible.

And finally, the top tip is to also stage a home before it is photographed for your listing.

home stage

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