Here’s how staging your home can help you sell for more

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Taking steps to ensure your home looks its best before you put it on sale is a proven way to achieve a good price for it.

An American study has found that on average, well-staged homes sell for more than six percent above the asking price. While there's no such data available in South Africa, there's also no doubt that beautifully decorated homes act as a draw card and leave a positive impression on those looking to buy.

Americans have been known to call in interior decorators before they put their homes on the market and some have even gone as far as renting furniture in order to show the property off to its best advantage. This practice is referred to as ‘staging’ and while it may be a viable option for those who have no need to keep a careful eye on the bottom line, it certainly isn't in everyone's budget. However, that doesn't mean sellers can't make the best of what they have by transforming their homes into showpieces, even while still living on the premises.

Buyers automatically visualise living in a home they view, but certain things have to be in place in order for them to do this.

The first thing sellers should do is remove all visible personal items. Photographs, sporting trophies and even religious icons should be tucked away out of sight. Experts maintain there should be nothing on display that will tell the buyer anything about you and your family, and although this can leave the home looking a little stark, the problem can be overcome by filling the empty spaces with framed pictures and the odd decorative vase or knickknack.

The second thing sellers should concentrate on is defining the purpose of a room. If for example you are marketing your home as a four bedroom property, but currently use the fourth bedroom as an office, transform it back into a bedroom before buyers come to view. The same applies to homes which boast a separate study - ensure the room looks like a workspace by removing any items such as gym equipment and the other odds and ends which tend to collect in a utility room. Second lounges are often used as children's play rooms. Again, if you're marketing a home with two lounges, make sure the space reflects what’s being advertising.

Clutter can kill a deal – downscale and either sell unwanted, unneeded items or store them out of sight until the home is sold.

While we aren't suggesting sellers go out and purchase new curtains, window dressing does play an important role in the selling process. It may be an idea to invest in a few decorative tie backs or at least wash all curtaining to create the right look. Always open the curtains when buyers view your home in order to let in as much light as possible. Wooden floors are popular and should be kept in immaculate condition and any mats or rugs should be cleaned and strategically placed to accentuate the flooring.

Kitchens should be clean and clutter-free and work surfaces should only sport the most basic appliances. Granite work tops should be shiny and smear free. Remove everything from the top of the cupboards, including items such as cooler bags, old boxes and the like. Think about creating a homely environment by having a bowl of fresh fruit or flowers on display.

The bathroom is another area that can generally be improved upon by making a few small cosmetic changes. Fragrant soaps and pretty hand towels will make the room look and smell inviting. Think about placing a few decorative candles around the bath and invest in new bath mats if necessary.

It may take a bit of work and a critical eye, but the right staging could well mean that the home not only sells faster, it might also earn you a little extra cash in your account.

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