All the world’s a stage…even your home

Private Property South Africa
Press

Homestaging is the art of dressing up your home to improve your chances of a sale. Here’s what you need to know about this trend in property.

In a busy real estate market, it is important to ensure that your property stands out amongst the rest. However, there's a new buzzword which is making waves within the property market: homestaging.

Considered a relatively new concept in South Africa, homestaging has been a common practice internationally for many years. Homestaging is – in essence – 'dressing up' your home to ensure that it sells. The aim of homestaging is to highlight the best characteristics of your property. Much like women use make-up to accentuate their features, homestaging involves identifying key elements within your home that you'd like to focus on.

In its simplest form this could involve rearranging furniture. In a more complex manner, new carpets, a fresh coat of paint, or simple renovations or additions might be needed. But no matter which road you undertake, homestaging needn't put a dent in your wallet.

According to Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa “before buyers decide to buy a home, they mentally move in. If your home is loaded with too much clutter - as most of our homes are - this mental process may be impossible. That's why it's imperative for sellers to start with de-cluttering. Removing clutter and excess furniture will improve the saleability of your home even if you do nothing else.”

Home staging

But why go to all the trouble?

Well, statistically homes that are staged typically sell faster than homes that aren't. And more often than not, they sell for a higher price too. So by putting in minimal effort, the rewards are great.

So, how do you get started?

The first step is to detach yourself from your home. “Stop thinking of your home as yours, think of it as a commodity and put yourself in the prospective buyer's shoes. Your aim is to sell so you need to make your home as neutral as possible by de-personalising it. In turn, this will increase its appeal to a larger audience of buyers” Craig added.

The simplest way to do this is to remove any elements that are too sentimental, such as family photos, heirlooms, and knickknacks. Generally, buyers are unable to envision anything past what they are looking at. By creating a neutral canvas, which still exudes warmth, potential buyers will be able to picture themselves, their families, and personal items, in your home.

Taking care of small repairs that need to be made around the house will further enhance appeal. Take a walk around your home and compile a snag list. You'll be shocked to find how several small mishaps can culminate into one large issue. Make sure you fix leaky taps, replace light bulbs, oil doors that creak and replace worn or cracked tiles. Also, think of repainting walls that are too bright or garish, as well as those which have lost their lustre.

Once these small improvements have been made, consider re-arranging your furniture. Most homes have more furniture than needed after accumulating pieces over the years. By removing unnecessary elements, and rearranging those pieces that are set to stay, the result will be a sense of space and openness which ultimately highlights the purpose and character of the room.

The next step is to clean up! Buyers want to know that they are in a home that has been well taken care of, so be sure to do a spot of spring cleaning. Make sure to neaten any storage areas, be they utility, linen or clothing cupboards. Buyers are notoriously curious, and will more than likely have a look through the most implausible areas. Furthermore, be sure to wash windows, polish mirrors, dust furniture, hang fresh towels in the bathrooms, vacuum the carpets, and air out any odorous areas.

While indoors, be sure to add subtle finishing touches. Display fresh flowers throughout the house, place elegant handwash, cream and new towels in the bathrooms, and put crisp, fresh linen on all the beds.

The old adage, 'don't judge a book by its cover', simply does not apply when homestaging, as your home's exterior is its calling card. Commonly referred to as 'curb appeal', home owners need to ensure that their homes are visually attractive in order to create a positive first impression.

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There is a variety of things that can be done to improve the external appearance of your home. Make sure that trees and shrubs are trimmed and neat. Clear up the driveway – there should be no oil stains, cracks, or dustbins in sight – a defined entrance will help draw people towards your home. Most important is the landscaping. Flowers and manicured greenery increase the appeal of a home and give it an abundance of character.

Essentially, homestaging is about the small details. It's not imperative, but it does make an immense difference to the way that your home is perceived. It is about creating a specific mood within your home, and ultimately convincing people that it is a home in which they would love to live. So if you're looking to sell, why not invest a bit of time and effort, and enhance your home. “Contact your local real estate specialist for a free evaluation, some advice and a fresh outlook on your property – they will be able to add invaluable input and could very well see you walking away with a little more than you bargained for” Craig concluded.

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