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Dress to impress: How to stage your home to sell

According to property website Rightmove, July saw the busiest month for the housing market in more than 10 years. In the wake of Covid-19 and the stamp duty holiday, a huge proportion of people are looking to take advantage of this and to move out of London to more rural locations or simply to properties with larger living spaces and gardens.

"London has 69% more properties coming to market, with the South East at 60% and the East at 56%”

With it being such a competitive market, preparing your home to sell quickly and for the best value is of course vital. First impressions count and a few simple changes around your home to make it show-room ready can make all the difference. So, here are some top tips from us on how to make your home stand out above the rest;

1. Room to move

Set out furniture in a way that allows the maximum space in the room and brings it away from the walls slightly. Remove what furniture you can to make rooms look bigger; this can be anything from the extra side tables you use now and then, or perhaps any larger children’s toys.

Potential buyers also like to see practical positionings such as the sofa opposite the TV and the bed in the centre of the room, against a wall, with bedside tables on either side. It’s good to consider radial balance here, you can find more tips on this in our ‘how to make the most of space’ blog.

2. Clean and tidy

Perhaps an obvious one but be sure to tidy, clean, and declutter all spaces. It can be easy to have collected a number of decorative items over the years such as ornaments, tableware, and books but select some of your favourites and try and minimise what’s on show so people can get a true sense of what space there is. It’s probably worth putting your collection of holiday fridge magnets away for a short while too…

The kitchen is a really key room for buyers so be sure to spend some time decluttering the sides and put away any large worktop appliances. You want people to imagine themselves cooking and enjoying evenings preparing food, not trying to see past your cereal boxes and toaster (unless it’s a cool one…and everybody loves Crunchy Nut so that can stay out).

3. A lick of paint

We’re not saying you have to completely re-decorate, BUT if you do have quite an eclectic mix of colours or have a particularly bold room it can be beneficial to add some neutral tones in order to speak to the masses. Our advice is to make the colour palette as pleasing and neutral as possible; add colour through a few colourful scatter cushions, throws, and accessories and try and keep key rooms neutral allowing people to better imagine their own style and decor taking shape.

If you have a particularly dark or light room and aren’t sure how to decorate you can find more tips from us in an article featured in The Times here.

Similarly, if any rooms are looking a little scraped and scuffed then refresh the paint so it looks cleaner.

4. Let there be light

Viewings will always, where possible, be booked in the daytime in order to see the property in the best light.

You can also try adding a little extra touch by having some statement lighting in key rooms such as table or floor lamps – having these on can add a little atmosphere and make people feel more relaxed. A top tip for smaller or trickier rooms such as tight hallways or small living spaces is to have a large mirror hanging as they can add more light and create the illusion of more space.

5. Show off your storage

Buyers will also walk around making a mental note of where they would keep their own things, so showing off storage as much as possible is a good idea so they can envisage where their stuff will go.

Whether you have the space for cabinets and dressers, built-in storage, or none at all showcase what is there and showcase how you can get creative with space if not; this can include anything from wall-mounted shelves, baskets, and boxes, and dual-purpose furniture.

6. It’s all in the detail

Finally, have a think about the styling. You’ve decluttered and given certain rooms a fresh lick of paint, now you have a viewing and it’s time to give your home that lived in yet inspiring look. Get some of your favourite books and stack them neatly on a coffee table along with a candle and some fresh flowers – little touches like this can go a long way. And you can't go wrong with a few new house plants!

Using smell as a selling tool is incredibly powerful too – retailers have been doing it for years, and your home is no different. Add scents through diffusers, candles, and room sprays to create the kind of environment you want a potential buyer to associate your home with. The sense of smell is also closely linked with memory, so that way they’ll remember your home too!

7. It’s not just what’s inside the counts

And don’t forget outside is just as important as inside. To improve kerb appeal, make sure your front garden is neat and tidy and try adding a few potted plants to invite your potential purchasers in. If you have space, it’s good to try and hide the bins out of sight too!

[Real Homes recently put together some top tips on how to improve your kerb appeal, you can read more here].

A lot of buyers will have outside space at the top of their priority list at the moment so if you don’t already, it could be worth purchasing some outdoor seating for the front or back of your house depending on where the best space and light is; demonstrate what it would be like to sit outside and enjoy a sunny day.

For more outdoor living tips head to our recent blog, here!

And remember, seating doesn't have to mean large tables and chairs, it could simply be a few outdoor cushions and a pretty throw.

We hope these tips are useful and we wish you luck with selling your home! If you would like to speak to any of our experts further on staging your home to sell, please get in touch! You can also get more inspiration over on our Instagram (@investalondon and @vestainteriordesign).

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