The value of staging your for-sale property

Private Property South Africa
Cathy Nolan

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

Illustrating the true feel and lifestyle of a home will produce the positive cognitive and psychological experience that is necessary to turn a viewing into a sale. Professional opinion abroad and locally is that the pre-sale preparation of a house, in the form of staging, pays future dividends. International statistics from the UK, Canada and the US show that staging results in quicker sales or better prices and, in some cases,

both.

Research psychologists are emphatic that staging principles have not yet received empirical testing but they have, however, published observations of an evolvement over time which indicates that specific staging rules as practiced by experienced specialists have a degree of influence on buyer perception and behaviour.

The first teps of staging are sometimes done by home owners in conjunction with estate agents, who provide a list of basic tips to avoid showing a cluttered, over-personalised property that does not necessarily reflect the full potential of what could be a neutral, dynamic and spacious living environment.

Alternatively, the services of a professional staging specialist who, through experience, understands some of the finer tricks, can be employed. Professional staging employs the art of creating a visual impact in a home through organisation, interior design and décor, and goes beyond mere fixing-up prior to a show day.

While staging is a relatively new concept in SA, this method of preparing a home to be sold at the highest price in the shortest possible time is already being seen in new developments and exclusive property sales.

Homes that are staged prior to going onto the market carry sales tags of 10 to 15 percent more than those that are not staged. Current economic conditions that result in obligatory sales, as opposed to optional sales, should encourage sellers to pay more attention to this aspect of their property sale.

As average selling times have increased to longer periods, sellers can benefit from consulting with a staging specialist, who will provide advice on how to continue staging a home over an extended period. Not only will the seller benefit from improved home organisation, the effort may also result in the property gaining improved street appeal, increased space availability and a more productive lifestyle.

Those who employ the services of a professional staging company will receive tailor-made solutions, and improvements can be done either in selected key areas or throughout the home. When budgets are limited, or when a house is vacant at viewing times, a practical solution that

has proven popular in the UK, is to hire furniture and décor items.

Written with the assistance of Katie Allen from Katie Allen Décor and Design www.katieallendecor.co.za, +27 39 315 5164

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