Come spring, hipster urban cafes are frothing with the white teeth and salmon pink shirts of trendy Real Estate Agents loudly negotiating new listings into their phablets.
The property market in South East Queensland and beyond has been inundated this season with a fresh slew of residential homes for sale and the evidence is no more apparent than in the empty furniture warehouses of the professional property styling gurus.
Property Styling refers to the preparation and decoration of your home to professionally present it for sale, with a calculated and specific goal of achieving a premium sale price.
The return on your investment could be up to 5 times that of your outlay (spend $1000 and get $5000 in return) providing you invest your cash into the right areas.
One such area that sees a huge return on investment across almost all buyer demographics is professional property styling and furniture hire. Don’t think I’m giving you a little known insider tip here – those who make serious cash quickly turning over properties have been styling to outsell us all for years.
Learn about your buyer demographic here before you spend a cent.
There are very few examples where doing nothing before listing a home for sale has paid off, however there are a whole wad of examples where it hasn’t and isn’t paying off – just have a look through realestate.com.
You’ll find about 45% of listed residential properties sitting in the ‘For Sale As Is’ camp. These sellers run the very real and costly risk of underselling their property.
More than 50% of listed homes on the market today have been professionally styled – that’s some serious competition and according to my research the number is rapidly growing.
Now is not the time to shy away from ‘Keeping Up With The Joneses’.
- Nearly 90% of top Real Estate Agents (Salmon Shirt Wearers Included) believe that professionally styling your home for sale will achieve a higher sale price, garnish more buyer interest along with more offers and will lead to a quicker sale.
- Professionally styling your home for sale can increase the final sale price by 7 to 14 per cent – at the conservative end that’s an extra $35k on a $500,000 property.
- Professional styling was recommended as part of the base campaign for 90% of the properties I put forward to the experts. The properties that sat in the 10% were suitable for demolition or development.
I refer to it as ‘Professional’ styling because as a marketing tool it is an art and a science, so the best advice I can give is to call in a professional Property Stylist.
However, if all I did was get you here and then tell you to call a professional, this would be less of a helpful article and more like the worlds longest Yellow Pages ad.
So here are my best tips for DIY Property Styling:
- Clean out everything from your home that is not specifically there to aid the ultimate goal of achieving a premium sale price in the shortest amount of time. Sell it, Scrap it or Store it (offsite).
- Establish the natural flow of your home – that is the path you most organically choose as you move through the home. Wherever possible do not place any furniture that blocks the flow. Choose furniture that enhances the flow and place art along the path to entice visitors to continue on.
- Select or Edit furniture that is to scale, has purpose and is relevant to the space.
- Low, fine furniture works well especially where the ceilings are a standard height.
- Hang art at a sensible height – not under the cornice.
- Use well scaled rugs on hard floors to define the space (Don’t use rugs on carpet).
- Style the home moderately with décor that follows the basic principles of life, light and function – Fresh flowers and plants along with photo frames will bring life to a space. Lamps, candles and reflective or glass pieces will bring light, while books on book shelves or occasional tables, salt and pepper mills, kitchen scales and cookbooks along with fresh linen and towels will demonstrate function in their respective areas.
- Remove personal items especially in bathrooms, kitchens and master bedrooms and robes – I’m particularly conscious of toilet paper, personal hygiene products on benches and in showers, cleaning products (toilet brushes included) and pet paraphernalia.
- Stop looking at the property through your eyes and see it through the eyes of your buyer demographic – bring in friends to give you their opinion.
- It’s got nothing to do with what you think is nice and everything to do with what is generally appealing.
As a side note here I recently attended a great seminar to listen to Effie Zahos, finance expert and editor at Money Magazine speak about property investing. Along with Ben Everingham, Effie has long been one of my favourite writers and also a mentor, so I was delighted when an opportunity to see her in person came up.
I was even more delighted when Effie spoke about ‘playing it safe’ when preparing your home for sale. Effie made the very true statement that there is a buyer for every property, no matter how personalised or unique, so you don’t have to keep it generally appealing, however the wait for that one buyer could be lengthy and having a home on the market is costly so be sure to weigh up what you can afford when it comes to personal choice.
The Insiders Guide to Hiring a Property Stylist
If you choose to call in a Professional Property Stylist when selling your home, trust me when I say ‘All Property Stylists Are Not Created Equal’.
Our industry (those of us that call ourselves Interior Designers/Decorators/Stylists etc.) is not regulated, or at best it’s self-regulated which can be worse. So in an effort to help you find the best person for the job here’s my Insiders Guide to Hiring a Property Stylist:
- A Property Stylist needn’t come to you to quote initially as pricing is generally based on how many rooms or areas needing attention. Once you’re happy with the quote, they will view the property prior to selecting pieces. As with everything, the cheapest quote nor the most expensive is necessarily the best.
- A 3 room package (Dining, Living and Master Bedroom) would sit at around $2,500-$3500 per month. Some Property Stylists may have the ability to offer you an additional two weeks free or will include styling to Kitchens, Bathrooms and Outdoors at no additional cost so ask about any specials or promotions.
- The process is fairly straight forward and everything will be managed by your Property Stylist – Quote, Selection, Installation, Styling, Removal.
- Beware a Property Stylist who does not have or will not show you a portfolio of work. Ask to see their portfolio showcasing their work of similar projects to yours. This will give you an actual guide to their ability, style, level of detail and skill. Ask to see the current homes on the market that they have styled.
- You need to trust your Property Stylist – They will not be able to show you individual pieces or guarantee a specific outcome. That being said if your sales team are not satisfied that the outcome is to your brief or suited to the buyer demographic ask for some tweaking or adjustments.
- Ensure your Property Stylist understands your buyer demographic and brief them thoroughly.
- If you only want bits and pieces from the Property Stylist, don’t expect miracles. In the industry we call these projects ‘partials’ and they rarely display well. Be prepared to store your furniture off-site to get the best outcome.
- Furniture supplied will be ex-display so don’t expect new – it should be clean and in good repair. It should present well as a whole but don’t whip out the fine tooth comb.
- Along the way don’t be afraid to ask your Property Stylist for advice, tips and referrals for other trades you need to employ.
Of course if you ever need help or guidance, contact me below and I’m happy to refer you to some of the great Property Stylists I know and trust.
If you’ve been following my Definitive Guide to Preparing Your Home For Sale, Property Styling was the final step before launching your marketing campaign to sell your property. If you’ve missed my previous posts in this series on Pre-Sale Maintenance and Buyer Demographic, click the links and catch up while you’re here.
The Definitive Guide to Preparing Your Home for Sale – Read The Full Series Here: