Our home is our castle, and most of us fill them with all manner of ornaments, nick knacks, family photos and furnishings that reflect who we are and our personalities. And that’s all fine, until you come to sell.
Talk to any real estate agent and most will advise home owners to declutter and depersonalize the home to widen its appeal to buyers – buyers who may not share your taste in furniture or ornaments. And that’s where home staging comes in.
“You may not get any more money for your home when it sells,” says Kelly Clark of Paremata real estate firm Clark & Co Realty. “But a well-staged home will likely sell much faster than one that isn’t. That’s why we started offering clients free home staging.”
Kelly realised some time ago that marketing homes that had too much furniture in them – or no furniture at all – was hard going. So she started advising clients on how best to present their homes for sale and then took it one step further by loaning furniture and soft furnishings to them.
“We were asked to sell a home in Wellington that was vacant and during the course of six weeks, and despite many viewings, it just didn’t sell,” says Kelly. “Some people commented that the bedrooms seemed too small and they couldn’t visualise a bed and side tables fitting it.”
With the campaign having just two weeks to go she decided to furnish it with beds, tables, three-piece suite and a smattering of stylish throw rugs and fashionable cushions. “It sold within a week to a lady who had previously visited it and walked away. Once she saw the beds in place with plenty of room to spare she bought it.”
At the other end of the scale are homes cluttered with too much furniture.
“Most home owners understand they need to stage their home, especially if the furniture is dated, even if it is only for the marketing photos,” says Kelly. “And they trust us to do the best for their home. “You can do amazing things with cushions and flowers. And that’s really sometimes all you need.”
Kelly’s advice to sellers is to look at their home through fresh eyes and imagine how visitors might see it. “Can the furniture be moved to make rooms easier to walk into or are there too many photos on the walls…? You can start by removing items you don’t need and really going to town to clear out anything you can do without.”
In Auckland, Janine King, of Janine King Design, says that hiring a stager takes the guess work out of how to present a home. “Well-designed staging enhances the space, flow, and light sources of a room that may otherwise appear to be dark and small,” says Janine.
“By positioning furniture, lighting and accessories to the best advantage of the space, buyers can visualise how and where they can place their own furniture. Stagers understand the psychographics of the target market and endeavour to sell the sizzle of a home through its presentation – to set it apart from the competition.”
Janine says home staging is something to be expected in Auckland and is becoming a standard part of sellers’ marketing budgets.
“Auckland has a higher average house price compared to the rest of the country and so the home has to work for its money,” she says. “First impressions count, so it’s important to put your best foot forward. One estate agent told me that staging is essential for the photos.”
When it comes to this year’s design trends Janine says that rich jewel tones of gold, blues mulberry and greens teamed with animal prints have seen us through winter. But with spring and summer on the way she expects to see more use of sage greens and shades of air force blues with paprika colours.
“A pair of round nesting coffee tables with the revival of the drinks trolley with decanters has also been a trend and fun addition this year,” she says. “Watch out for anything glass or crystal – elegant clusters of clear candle sticks added to a glass tray grouped with white lilies in a clear vase for a coffee table vignette.”