Wondering how to sell in 2021? Home staging! It's one of the hottest property trends right now, and a few tweakments can seriously boost your asking price. A new Berkshire estate agent is leading the way.
Authored by: Muddy Stilettos
We’ve spent a crazy amount of time in our homes and priorities have understandably changed. Working from home is the new norm and with it comes a craving for more square footage. I’ve certainly had my fair share of Greta Garbo strops when “I want to the be alone” only to find children and husband occupying my usual hiding places. For others, it’s all about a prettier view with nature on the doorstep. And in some cases, you’re just sick of the same four walls. Before you start swiping through Rightmove like it’s a dating app, you need to consciously uncouple from your existing home to sell the dream. Your secret weapon? Home staging.
Home what? If you binge-watched Netflix’s real estate reality show, Selling Sunset, the concept of staging to sell will be familiar. In the US, it’s the norm and many agents won’t even take on a property until it is presented for sale. Now it has hit UK shores and Jonathan Mannings, director of Berkshire-based Oakview Estates – an exciting, new online estate agent using the latest techniques to market homes – believes it is a shrewd move and a seller’s secret weapon. “Not only do buyers spend more time in a staged home, they sell faster and achieve higher sale prices. It’s a win-win.”
So what’s the catch? Oakview Estates have an exclusive arrangement with Meg Springgay who splits her time between working with Oakview, running her interior design studio The Hive, and producing jaw-dropping fashion shows for Burberry, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy for her top tips to stage your home to sell. Over to you, Meg…
Stage to sell
It sounds expensive and fancy but it’s simply presenting your home so it looks like a place buyers imagine themselves living in. You’re selling the dream. This can be achieved in different ways (depending on budget) from a simple declutter to a complete overhaul. I’m from New York and it’s very much part of the selling process. It’s not unheard of for an estate agent to come in and say a property needs new flooring and wall colour. But our approach is more collaborative – it’s a process that helps clients simplify their homes and get organised for sale. No one is judging your taste or life choices. We’re just trying to create someone else’s vision.
Buying and selling houses is emotionally charged. It’s hard to let go when you have set down roots. But as you have decided it’s time to sell, make it exciting and fun. I’d never walk into a house and poo-poo anyone’s taste. As an outsider I can tell them what will help them sell their home without all the memories clouding my judgement.
The home edit
Use it is as an opportunity to clear out your unwanted items and pack up some of your personal bits. Then shop your home and move things around. Just because a chair has been in the same spot for years, doesn’t mean it has to stay there. You need to become emotionally unattached, get good advice and start editing your home. Invest a little time and money doing this and you’ll exceed your sale price expectations. It’s a process that also psychologically helps you detach so you’re ready to move on by the time you’ve exchanged contracts.
Paint by numbers
Be prepared to paint. It’s amazing the difference a fresh coat of paint can have – and it’s really affordable. It doesn’t matter whether you love 50 shades of grey, dark inky walls or patterned wallpaper, a pro will tell you what shades would work best for the size and position of a room. The days of slapping magnolia on the walls are also gone. But the right shades will inject life and personality for very little money.
First impressions count
It’s not just about the inside of the house, you’ve got to make sure your house has curb appeal too. If your door has seen better days, repair any damage. Always loved your bright yellow or rose pink door? Save it for your new home. Buyers go weak at the knees for heritage shades of green, blue or red, so a lick of paint works wonders. Polish your knockers or even buy new brassware to give extra polish. If space allows, add a plant in a pot outside the door and tidy the garden.
The smell of success
It’s such a cliché, but homely smells are really important. Believe it or not, lighting fires and letting the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and baked bread waft around absolutely work. It’s so lame but we all love it. Experiencing those aromas when you walk into a home feels like a house is giving you a hug. At the very least, light some candles.
Prioritise these three things. 1) Declutter and shop your home. It costs nothing and you can make money if you’ve decided to sell some or all of it. Moving things your already own can transform a space. But remember, less if more. 2) Clean. Buyers want to walk into a house that smells fresh and looks squeaky clean. Get outside help if necessary. 3) Paint and add soft furnishings. A fresh coat of paint with a few new pillows and throws can have a massive impact. A house needs soul and soft furnishings are a great way to add colour.
If you’re sitting on a renovation project or simply don’t have the time or budget to fully redecorate, get techy. CGI interior schemes can give buyers an idea of what a house might look like with a little imagination and after the work has been completed. It’s a great tool. I assess what changes could be made and then work with a firm called FourWalls to bring that vision to life. It’s brilliant if you struggle to visualise the finished idea. We did just that at Mead Farm in Farnham Common. It’s been owned by an elderly couple for decades, CGI was used and gives buyers a sense of what could be while allowing them to put their own stamp on it.
Oakview Estates also produce drone footage and detailed video tours of each property they’re selling to show potential buyers what they can expect from the house and the local area. This is complemented by 360° virtual tours and detailed 3D renders (with detailed measurements) of the rooms. It’s a great time saver for buyers considering how they might re-plan the space. The best bit? There’s no extra charge – which is practically unheard of.
Call in the pros
Left to right: Lewis Pearson, Oakview Estates, interior designer Meg Sringgay of The Hive and Jonathan Mannings of Oakview Estates
If in doubt, call in the experts. We know how to stretch your budget to get more bang for your buck. It goes without saying, our lack of emotional attachment also works in your favour. I’m paid to assess how your home should be staged. After an initial assessment, I’ll determine what can be done and how much it will cost. The team at Oakview Estates ensures the investment will see a return. Once everyone is happy, we get to work starting with a declutter and rejig. If necessary we’ll purchase soft furnishings or go as far as renting furniture or art. The options are limitless. The aim is to push the property into a higher price bracket and clinch a quick sale. It’s the right time to do this in the UK and I’m incredibly excited to be a part of it.