Why you should stage your property for sale

Ugo Arinzeh

November 5, 2020
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Staging Your Property To Sell

Want to find out the top secrets for staging that are sure to get your home sold? In this article I share my top tips for helping you get your home sold using staging techniques. We’re going to be talking about staging what is it why it’s so powerful and why you should make sure to be investing in staging to get you top dollar for your property.

 I’m a London-based property agent and I love sharing tips on buying, selling and the London property market and also on culture and lifestyle and living in this incredible city. Today we’re going to be talking about staging your home, why it’s so important, and how it’s probably the most important investment you can make when you put your home on the market. We all know whether here in London or in America, or any place, that so many people are finding their properties online and so we believe that the first viewing is actually taking on place online, and therefore your home needs to stand out relative to the competition.

As an agent my number one job is to be a master marketer for you, as well as to negotiate and defend the best price for you, but it all starts with marketing it and to start your marketing you want to make sure that you’re taking great photographs and so sometimes that might mean you need to actually stage the home.

What is Property Staging?

First, we need to know what property staging actually means! Property staging is taking a property that might have started off looking like the property below, which has some fantastic furniture in it but doesn’t really create a wow effect.

1 Lounge Before 1

And then making a few simple changes that can make it look more inviting and stand out to buyers. In this example, we simply decluttered a little bit, put in some fresh flowers, and took some great pictures, which meant we were able to transform that space into a much more inviting and modern space.

A living room filled with furniture and vase of flowers on a table Description automatically generated

Close up shots are important for your property marketing

Another thing I do as an agent when arranging the property photography is to arrange close up shots, like the one below, because they can give you a great view of the space, the beauty of the walls, and the details involved, so that people can really start seeing it.

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As a property agent, it is my job to make sure your home looks great when it is marketed, so I get my hands dirty and organise the space for you while the photographer is there. Below you can spot me arranging those flowers at the actual photo shoot getting it ready so that everything is perfect!

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As another example, we worked in the master bedroom which is how the owners were using it and transformed it into a more relaxing and bright space for the viewings & property photography. We simply did this by bringing in some clean white bedding, decluttered a little bit, and organised the space so it could look more neutral and inviting for potential buyers.

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Before staging
A bedroom with a bed in a room Description automatically generated
After staging

Lifestyle photography

Obviously, the pictures are great, and it is essential that you use a fantastic photographer when looking to sell your property. I work with my photographers, with whom I have a solid relationship, to create a lifestyle driven look to the properties we sell. These lifestyle staging shots really help the buyer envision themselves relaxing in the home. For example, you can add a few pieces to the bedroom as we have below and it will make those looking at the property online that they can envision themselves having a nice book, hanging out on that sofa, and so on. In this example, we brought in some nice pillows that coordinated with everything and just created a nice clean space.

With these lifestyle shots, you are also able to show off another angle of the room and give them a sense of imagining themselves in the space.

When I talk about lifestyle shots, I work with the photographer to create tight close-ups, that work to create those little elements of “wow isn’t that pretty”, elevating the emotion that somebody might have when viewing a property online.  

Don’t forget the garden

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, you will want to make sure the potential buyers of your home can see how beautiful the space is. Before the viewing to help the photographer and your estate agent, make sure to tidy up the space outside and cut the grass. They can then go in and take high quality images for you, as well as the close-ups that work so well, like the hydrangeas in bloom below, which get a really nice tight shot where people can see the beauty of the garden.

17 Garden Flowers

Change around the configuration of the spaces in your home

Just by making a few small configuration changes, you can make a huge difference to how your property looks. In the example below, I took the room that was configured one way and I was able to realign it and reposition it by changing the way the bed was positioned. It looked quite tight and crammed going the original way but we repositioned it, brought in the night stand to show that you could do fit one in the room, and we took the window blinds off, giving a really clean crisp look and this space was transformed.

As another example, in the room below which had lots of clutter originally in the space, we got to work decluttering it, and as you can see, it’s a great room with a kitchenette, so it can be a really  functional single bedroom room where it’s got a separate kitchenette but by merely taking out what was in there and repositioning where we put the sofa and the chair it creates a nice little vignette space.

Virtual Staging

In the image below, you will notice something different about the space – we have removed that kitchenette. How did we do that? We virtually staged the space. It’s another very powerful tool that I’ve been using for some of my properties when it’s too much work or perhaps the seller might not want to put the expense into refurnishing a whole space, we’re actually able to virtually stage it.

31 Bedroom 5 Vs
After virtual staging

In this case we sent pictures off and had that kitchenette removed. Why? Because that kitchenette is quite modular and it can easily be removed, but we didn’t want it getting in the way of a buyer not being able to truly appreciate the beauty of that room. Another example for staging is the bedroom below which was being used as a study, and virtually changed the space by putting a bed in there to show that it can truly function as a large bedroom, and removing all the clutter that people might get distracted from if they saw this version online.

For another client who had a new apartment, where I was helping a landlord to market a flat for let and didn’t know if we should offer it as furnished or unfurnished. We worked with a virtual staging company to take the empty space to show that we could offer it as both unfurnished or furnished, so people could see what we’d be prepared to put in if they wanted a furnished flat.

As a part of the same project, the bedroom looked quite narrow when it was empty, so potential buyers couldn’t easily imagine that a good size double bed could fit in the space. So, by using a virtual staging company, we were able to virtually stage it to show people it’s got a really comfortable feel to it even with that bed in there, and you can even have an extra bench at the foot of the bed. We were also able to show off the balcony area by virtually adding fabulous chairs out in the balcony, which can show off that feature in a way that perhaps the empty image didn’t show as well.

So I’ve shown you some of what I can do when I’m working on behalf of my sellers and landlords, but what are the actual results that come off of it? Well in the case of the first house, we were actually able to sell it for a full asking price offer, because we attracted the right pool of buyers who got excited about the pictures and saw all the incredible features and benefits that the house had to offer, including incredible living spaces, fantastic bedrooms, and lots of space. In the case of the fantastic luxury flat, which was located in Old Street, we were able to get a tenant in who actually does want it furnished and I’m working on doing that to make sure that we bring her the furnishings similar to what we presented in the virtual staging. What’s great is we were able to cast a pretty wide net and get the right tenant in there – because we could advertise to tenants who wanted furnished or unfurnished options.

So given that I advocate this for my sellers and landlords what happens when I’m actually the seller myself, do I take my own advice? Well the answer is – yes, I do! I recently sold an apartment that I own in Washington DC and I made the investment to virtually stage it, as the flat started off with bold colours which worked for my renters over the past 10 years. It certainly functioned as a great rental but when we decided to sell we realised that we really needed to upgrade it and freshen it up so we used a virtual staging company to help create a beautiful open lounge/dining/kitchen space that functioned really well.

In the bedroom we maximised the space and made it more luxurious, showing you how much more you get in that space than you think you would.

We also took a landing space at the top of the stairs and created a whole separate room, if you will, by putting two lounging areas to make the space an extra room that perhaps you wouldn’t have thought of using without the use of the virtual staging.

We also created a nice little nook in one of the spaces, that shows a good full-size desk to be put in there and making it a really comfortable space.

21 Desk Nook
Nook area Virtually Staged

Finally, one of the other bedrooms was staged by putting in some beautiful furnishings and really helping a buyer get excited when they look at the property online before viewing.

21 Master Bedroom
Master bedroom Virtually Staged

I was absolutely thrilled with the results, as we were competing with two other units in the building all priced slightly differently and ours sold first, although the other ones were on the market longer. I think I got an offer within a week of posting it, and we got above asking price.

So if you don’t think that the investment and staging will pay off for you trust me it will! If your agent is advising you to freshen up, spruce up, declutter and maybe even take the time and investment to paint and fix those rooms up and reconfigure them, I highly recommend that you do it, you’re going to get the results and maybe it doesn’t always result in getting extra money but it actually could result in you selling quicker and statistics do show that.

I hope this has given you some good tips on how you too can stage your property to make sure it gets sold. If you have any questions about selling or are thinking about selling make sure to get in touch because I can certainly point you in the right direction or see if I can help you directly myself.

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