Listening to Client Needs – The Turing Collection

When the concept of sort style and stage was created, this was on the basis that at our core was a passion for everything house and home. This passion remains to this very day. Having been a developer, landlord and property stager in all its guises (property staging, home staging and virtual staging) our business continues to grow.

We are thrilled to be launching our first furniture collection - The Turing Collection. This came about because of our clients were asking for something more – so we stepped in and began on our journey developing a collection. On that journey, we had the needs of our clients in mind - those:

- developers who recognise the need to separate themselves from the crowd and offer an innovative turn key solution to their buyers
- inventors who seek a quality product which in turn increases their rental yield whether they are in the build to rent, landlords as well as serviced accommodation
- home owners who seek to create their forever home

The Turing Collection is aspirational, high quality and incredibly versatile and ticks all the needs of the above clients. It’s also scalable or can be tailored to suit each particular client's need.

Our Founder, Ceri Owen, says:

"This is an incredible moment for our business - it has been a long time in the planning. We've been listening to our clients and are incredibly proud to be launching our first furniture collection - The Turing Collection. We hope that you too will fall in love with this high quality, scalable and aspirational design. "

 

If you’d like to learn more about this fabulous collection please reach out to info@sortstyleandstage.com


Interview with Zaid Shuhaiber of Casa e Progetti

Not only did Casa e Progetti win this year's Home Staging Award for Best Virtual Staging, they are also HSA Founding Members. Paloma Harrington-Griffin sat down with Casa e Progetti's Zaid Shuhaiber to discuss the company and their clientele, staging during the pandemic and the secrets of Virtual Staging.

 

Tell us a little bit about your background and how Casa e Progetti was born.
I was brought up in the Interior Design and Architecture world. I owe it all to my father who is a notable designer in the Middle East. Since I could walk, I was folding his drawings and learning how to read floorplans. I loved nothing more than going to work with him and watching these huge hotels and developments being built - it was like real life Lego! Shadowing my father from an early age really taught me to love furniture and how to envision an empty space while creating paths and clear routes through.

After University I created a tech company which provided a multitude of services; I’m also very tech oriented and love finding and creating new products. I started working with my father in design and construction on a hotel in London where I learnt how to deal with furniture manufacturers and the trade. After around 10 years of contracting and managing developments, I decided to take a break from construction and, as I was assisting an acquaintance who was looking for a new build property, an idea came to me.

The fact that the buyer could not envision the property furnished was a little tedious! We had visited one property, unfurnished, and showing zero interest he was suggested we see the next one. The agent decided we should take the buyer to the show home below which was exactly the same plot! The show home was nicely put together, though nothing to be blown away by. But after walking in, the buyer quickly said, “I WANT THIS ONE!”

I instantly had my light bulb moment. I spent the drive home and the next few days trying to find the best way to enter the staging market in a virtual capacity. I had seen that in the USA there were a few Virtual Staging companies starting up, but the quality wasn't really there yet - even the Virtual Reality goggles were not up to a good resolution where it could look real - and I didn't want to enter the market unless I could ensure my quality of photos was indistinguishable from reality!

The trick to what we do and our USP is that we can provide the buyers with all or part of the furniture from our staging - this has proven especially useful to international buyers! It is really evident that staging works from the figures from the HSA latest 2020 report. You really only get one chance to make a first impression!

In general, we buy products and services based on emotional needs or wants, and then we justify our purchase logically. It’s all part of our human behaviour - we like to 'buy pretty things' to put it bluntly. I wanted to find a way to get an emotional response from the buyer’s subconscious before they’ve even visited a property. Planting an image into the buyer’s mind of the home they’re viewing even when it’s unfurnished allows their brain to store where the furniture would be placed and see a homey space, rather than an empty one.

Purchasing a property is such a daunting decision and journey to undertake. You’re spending a lot of money and you want to be sure you're making the right choice. Our staging helps all sides of the market. The buyer, the seller, the agent and even the furniture manufacturers!

 

How long have you been doing Virtual Staging for?
It has been over 3 years of some fabulous projects, and I am super proud of every milestone! It seems a lifetime ago since one of our first projects - staging a Nash property in Regents Park - was featured in the newspapers and turned out to be the most expensive home rented in London. When I started, I was purely focussed on Virtual Staging and procuring furniture for buyers.

 

Do you also do Physical Staging?
Some of our projects are realised in Physical Staging. We always team up with a Physical Staging company for this and manage the property's staging to make it exactly like the Virtual Staging. One of our recent projects like this, which we are very proud of, started as a Virtual Staging project, after which we were asked to exactly translate the Virtual Staging into real life!

It was all completed within 2 weeks of the order, with bespoke sofas and beds using the Romo fabrics we utilised in our staging, and then sold over the Christmas period 3 weeks after the launch; we were so pleased with the response and what everyone was saying during the open house!

 

The demand for Virtual Staging has increased significantly the pandemic hit - have you seen an increase within Casa e Progetti as well?

I am a firm believer in being flexible in all situations and trying your best to overcome any set of circumstances one may find themselves in. I had to think outside of the box and in February introduced a few more services which have been a hit with our clients! The Virtual Tour has really caught the attention of the market; we have tried to give, mainly developers, another marketing tool to get the attention of buyers who are unable to physically view a property or a show home. Though we also do video flythroughs to give a glimpse of a show home, we've found that these videos do not have the interactivity that prospective buyers desire. Therefore, to our Virtual Tour enables the buyer to control their own path and to see every room at their own pace. I believe the need for Virtual Tours and the quality of the tool is good enough to allow people to purchase after their Virtual Tour journey even after the pandemic.

Organisations like One Global Property Services based in Singapore and Hong Kong are contracted by UK developers to sell their plots to the International market, they hold events and sell blocks of properties to international investors who base their buying decisions on the Developer’s marketing. We have split up our services into 2 categories:

  • Pre-Build Marketing
  • Post-Build Marketing

The pre-build marketing entails CGIs for internal and external, Virtual Tours and a video. We work from the architectural floorplans and realise the specifications into an ultra-realistic 3D model.

Our post-build marketing mainly consists of our standard Virtual Staging. We also feature Virtual Tours within the post-build marketing, where we go to a property and take 360-degree photos and then furnish the spaces, in a similar way to our standard Virtual Staging but with a tour created for the space.

 

Why do you think people are looking for Virtual Staging?
We have found our clients require our Virtual Staging for a number of reasons. A huge developer, for instance, normally has one or two physical show homes, but as you cannot cater for every taste of the wide range of buyers out there, they require 2 or 3 virtual show homes to cover all their base range. Additionally, as social media, especially in this market, plays such a huge factor in marketing, a developer needs a huge library of photos (that do not look the same) of different properties within a certain development to advertise.

Smaller developers on the other hand, who would have a smaller marketing budget and are more time-sensitive to sell as many plots prior to completion, look to Virtual Staging in order to market their plots before they are white carded. This is the time period between the plot being completed and the show home being installed. Therefore, we would digitally have to cover all the snagging and then digitally furnish the space.

Estate Agents and Private Sellers seek us out to assist their property marketing as most of them want to save money and do everything they can to sell their property with minimal cost. We actually have had a number of clients who try to use us to save money instead of using physical staging, but as their property already has furniture the cost will be better used to have a physical stager or home stylist come in and revitalise the space and its use.

We have been approached a number of times by interior designers who use our service to indicate to their clients exactly what to expect when their refurbishments are completed. We also provide a number of services to furniture manufacturers in creating virtual showrooms to assist during this pandemic, which is very exciting and cutting edge.

 

Are your post-pandemic clients the same as the ones prior, or have you seen a change in the profile of the people looking for Virtual Staging?
We have thankfully gained a number of new clients since February. Most of these clients, I would say around 70%, have been developers while 20% have been agents utilising us to promote properties they are charged with selling. We have actually had a rise of clients enquiring about Virtual Staging to see what their space would look like refurbished. It has been great to work and realise the client’s visions on what they want for their spaces. We normally do all the design work in-house but realising someone else’s vision and seeing their reaction is actually very special.

 

Who are your main clients?
I have worked with a lot of fantastic companies, from the largest UK developers to the smaller start-ups. We also do work for the main high street estate agents like Knight Frank and a number of the smaller well-known agents like Wetherell in Mayfair.

 

Who would you normally recommend Virtual Staging for?
Developers are definitely the main targets for Virtual Staging mainly to revolutionise their website and really boost their marketing, as well as not having to use stock images of a physical show home to promote a plot so that each plot has their own specific images - the buyer has become more intelligent and more photo oriented. Websites and social media are the main way to get a global reach on your development these days. Being able to hold international events to promote your development and offer virtual tours to allow investors to walk through show homes rather than just show them photos is a huge plus.

 

What is your secret to making your images look so real?
Magic! I believe if I’m doing something it has to be done properly. If I can't tell the difference, then I’ve done a good job!

 

Do you think that Virtual Staging should totally replace physical staging?
Not at all. I believe virtual and physical staging go hand in hand, they just have their uses at different times. I believe every development should have at least one physical show home, and for every physical show home there should be at least two virtual show homes.

 

Can physical staging and Virtual Staging professionals work together?
100%, it is tried and tested. For physical stagers to get a foot in the door to create a show home for a developer, they can offer Virtual Staging pre- or post-build to offer the client a diverse package to suit their every need. As I stated previously, a developer should try and refrain from using show home images for every plot type within their website or seem to only promote one show home on social media. We are in a cost-conscious market and to be able to provide Virtual and Physical Staging to our clients is important.

 

Casa e Progetti is a known Virtual Staging company, an HSA Founding Member, and now an award-winning company - what is next for the company? Are there any exciting plans on the horizon?
We could not have done this without having such a great association to assist our growth! For our future, we firstly aim to increase our number of clients and demonstrate to the market how we have assisted in numerous sales over the last few years.

We are working on a number of very exciting items right now such as Augmented Reality, so that you can see exact pieces of furniture within your space through your phone and its camera. Technology is not there yet for it to look super realistic, but it’s only a matter of time to get there.

I believe the use of Virtual Tours is going to be huge and essential part of the real estate market and we are excited to be a part of it.

 

How can people find you?
We are on the Home Staging Association website, and we have also put a lot of energy into developing our own website. We feature on Houzz, Instagram and have a lovely Pinterest page which has a mix of our own projects and inspiration - we love our Pinterest and are so proud to say we have over 280,000 unique visitors to our page monthly.


A Lockdown Success by Cranberryhome

Milton Keynes based Cranberryhome, an HSA Member, is a leading Interior Design and Home Staging company that has been providing services that help to sell properties for years now.

Hugo Fleming, a House Doctor Consultant, is the Design Director behind the company's success and has shared with us their latest successful project, which turned out to be another fantastic lockdown case.

Cranberryhome's clients Alan and Gayle, from Ontario, Canada, were thrilled to share their review about working with Hugo and his team:

"We have just sold our flat in Bletchley, which was no mean feat as we live in Canada. Hugo (Cranberryhome) handled everything for us, from an initial inspection, disposal of furniture, redecoration, replacement of carpets and staging with new furniture etc. And we didn't have to leave Canada. We had a great offer within 2 weeks of posting it with a local Estate Agent, recommended by Hugo who actually got us 3 estimates. We can't speak more highly for the service provided by Cranberryhome and would recommend them anytime. Thanks Hugo and the team." - Alan & Gayle, Ontario

Stats for this property are as follows:

  • Valued at £210k £230 and £240K by 3 agents
  • Clients chose Agent at £240K and took Cranberryhome's advice to sell with the furniture package of £2400. Sold in 2 weeks with furniture for £235k
  • 2 near identical flats in the same block were on for £200k and £210k and were still for sale last time we looked and were on the market before our apartment having already taken a lower asking price suggestion from agents.

Huge success during difficult times - it's the power of Home Staging in numbers!

Want to learn more about Cranberryhome and how they can assist you with your property? Please visit their website: www.cranberyhome.co.uk


Case Study: Pearl Home Design

I got approached by an investor I worked with in the past to furnish this one-bedroom apartment in Leeds. Designs were created to target working professionals and Pearl Home Design was able to fully stage as Airbnb.

New interior design trends, that are warm, natural neutral was put together, emphasising a homely and cosy feel. The inviting arrangement of furniture in this apartment made a very good first impression as the room gain more space. The advantage of this apartment is beautiful, natural light. The aim of my home staging was to use it to the maximum.

Decorations were used to transform the space into a stunning holiday home. Subtle and smart this is what you need for Airbnb. As a result, the property received 30-day bookings just after listing on Airbnb.

Testimonial from the client:

I worked with Marta for 3 projects in the past 6 months. I occasionally found her online, had a brief call with her, and thought to give it a go. Marta was hands-on, responsible and always pushed extra miles to deliver the best result with our budget in a timely manner. Although Covid has a big hit in our biz, our biz has been so blessed by far and one of the reasons has to be the nice work from Marta so we barely have our property vacant. I believe the business relationship with Marta is ongoing and I’m looking forward to more opportunities to work together very soon.

 

Learn more about Marta and her work at Pearl Home Design at https://www.thepearlhome.com/

 

 


Staging of a Family Home For Sale in Blackrock, County Dublin

Marshall Properties was asked to Stage and then sell this family home in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Despite being a 4 – 5 bedroom detached family home, the original small kitchen allowed little or no space for family dining. This was resolved, relatively inexpensively, by installing a new breakfast bar which now comfortably accommodates 4 diners. This bar surface was then continued around the rest of the kitchen. The original footprint of the entrance hall was so limited that the original front door had to operate as a sliding door.

The hall was extended out into what was the outer porch and a new “proper” front door was installed. The bathroom was also reconfigured and despite its simplicity, the transformation was impressive. The ground floor bedroom was staged as a study. The backdrop to everything was kept neutral to appeal to the widest market.

The staging did the rest. The property quickly sold (and before others in the same area which had already been on the market) and for about €100,000 above the expected result!

 


Hello Darling!

The Room Boutique is delighted to feature in the 2020 autumn edition of the inspiring Darling Magazine and share our ideas and expertise on affordable property presentation.

Our launch has been fruitful and TRB’s early September blog highlights pent up demand currently being experienced locally in Surrey’s property market.

Words below recently shared by a happy customer of The Room Boutique made our day!

"Renovation & Home Styling" Project

"As a family, we used the services of Elise at The Room Boutique to help us with planning a "Renovation & Home Styling" project for our new home we have recently bought in Weybridge. The results were amazing with a very professional and comprehensive plan down to the finest detail. This will enable us to transform the property we have purchased into a warm and inviting family home which we are very excited about. We highly recommend the services of Elise from The Room Boutique and happy to confirm our reference directly with any prospective Home Staging customers."
September 2020 - Neil, Moira & Jess Harper - Weybridge

If you would like to get in touch, please contact us.

We would be delighted to hear about any upcoming projects you may have and how we may be able to assist in future.

Visit our new website: www.theroomboutique.com and follow us @theroomboutiquesurrey

We are proud to be HSA members and StagedHomes & CHSSP accredited.

#homestaging #propertyphotography #interior styling #darlingmagazine #homestagingassociation #sellfast

 


Staging of a Victorian Home in Dublin for Selling Campaign

Marshall Properties was asked to sell what had been a somewhat run-down, former rental, property in Ranelagh, Dublin 6. Marshall says the job involved arranging minor repair works, redesign and redecoration, before Staging it for the selling campaign. The property is an early Victorian house which has an almost fully glazed extension to the rear which was in stark contrast to the original house.

Time had taken its toll on the property. His task was to bring character and personality into the spaces to create a warmth and a welcome that potential purchasers could relate to. As an aside, similar properties on the road had previously taken almost a year to sell. After Marshall Properties completed the Staging, the house was launched for sale during the Christmas holidays and within 8 weeks the property was Sale Agreed at about €65,000 above the expected selling price, in what was a very quiet market.

Good Staging really does pay dividends!

 

 

About Marshall Properties
Marshall Properties was established in the early 1990s by Malcolm Marshall who has since specialized in the residential sector, covering Dublin 2, 4 & 6, as well as parts of South County Dublin; Blackrock, Mount Merrion and Foxrock etc. Areas of speciality include Sales, Lettings, Property Management and Staging Houses for sale. Other services include giving advice on property presentation for sale or to be let and offering assistance in relation to providing concepts for the redesign of properties to increase capital value, sale price, rentability and rental return.

As a sole practitioner, Marshall has developed a highly-personalized service where he provides a one to one service to his clients; many of whom have been with him since he started off, all those years ago. Others have come by way of recommendation from existing clients or family members of clients. (You can see Client feedback on this site.) Marshall offers his services to people who know that it is in their own best interests to have the best professional working for them. This is especially so because many of his clients do not have the time to attempt to sell or rent their properties. They prefer to step back from such activities. Most clients are highly successful people who basically say, “Here's the key, get on with it”. And he does.

Visit Marshall Properties website.

 

 


Most Important Read Of The Year - The Home Staging Report Returns For 2020

The Home Staging Association UK & Ireland is proud to announce the release of the Home Staging Report 2020.

The report takes a deep-dive into property professionals’ Home Staging stats for 2020, and, due to its imperative importance, analyses the effect of COVID-19, lockdown, and the market freeze on the Home Staging industry.

Let’s compare 2019 to 2020. Last year’s report saw an immense 77% of property developers agree that, yes, the staging was a sound investment. That is to say, the cost of staging was recouped by the offer value increase.

In 2020, however, it’s a different story. Only 57% of property professionals saw a return on investment.

A drastic drop. Thanks to COVID’s mitigating input on the housing market, there’s been a reduction in property values across the board. However, that’s not exactly an unexpected outcome of a global pandemic.

It seems as if property professionals’ values are shifting. Maximising offer value is still important, but less so. In 2020, agents and developers are concerned with regaining at least their initial investment, however, they’re of a mind to do this in the shortest period of time.

After all, 71% of property professionals expressed that they engaged a Home Stager from the outset of marketing a property in 2020’s report. That’s an increase of 5% over figures from 2019.

The price slump has, it seems, made sellers more anxious to shift their properties. Beau Property, of East Sussex, depicts this wonderfully.

In a case study shared with the HSA, Beau spoke of a frankly stagnant property - two years on the market with little interest! - which they revitalised in March of 2020.

The light, airy reception room required an intimate understanding of open-plan spatial designation.

A grey, cream, and mellow blue palate provide gentle definition to what could be a homogenized reception quarter. The colours do not, critically, segregate the large, angular space into cordoned-off zones. Beau Property evidently took pains to subtly traverse their three, muted colours - and the effect is rigorously homely.

After 2 long years on the market, Beau saw the property sold within only a scant few months. No wonder!

The Home Staging Report 2020 features a plethora of case studies like this - along with data of the utmost interest to any Home Staging professional - and is available right now. Visit our homepage to download it or to order the hard copies.

 

 

About the Home Staging Association UK & Ireland

The Home Staging Association UK & Ireland connects professionals, suppliers and partners, to promote and empower the home staging industry. Founded by Home Staging Expert & Interior Stylist Paloma Harrington-Griffin in 2018, the HSA has grown from a handful of professionals to an extensive network pioneering greater growth, knowledge, and innovation in the industry. Located in London, the Home Staging Association UK & Ireland provides training, information and support to home staging professionals and is proud to be the only official IAHSP® affiliated association in the United Kingdom.


Company Profile: Home Style & Spruce

New to the Kent area, Sophie Barratt, owner of Home Style & Spruce, shares her story...

Our Story
Having grown up in the beautiful Kent countryside (literally in the middle of nowhere), surrounded by nature and with few transport links to towns, my passion for interiors started from a young age. Often, I would find myself planning how to turn the cellar into an attractive spare room, making the most of its space and features, then doing it again, and again. I love seeing the potential in a space and transforming it to create added appeal and that wow factor.

Throughout my education and A-Levels, I found myself succeeding and enjoying Business & Marketing, so I continued to pursue this at the University of Kent. However, alongside my marketing degree, I also studied Property Law as I always knew the property industry was a passion of mine and this would give me some extra insight and benefit in the future - I just didn't quite know what at that time in my life (who does when they’re 18 though, right?).

After graduating in 2012, my career began in marketing and design. Over the past 8 years, I have worked for a real mixture of companies throughout Kent - from design agencies to large corporate travel companies. Working for well-known brands all over the world, my career saw me visiting countries such as South Africa, Denmark and Sweden to name a few, which of course, was great!

Working in the marketing and design industry, it’s vital you have a good eye for detail, as well as strong project management experience - skills I knew would always serve me well in home staging. I was pretty good at my job and liked it (most days). But, I didn’t love it. I always knew this wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life - I wanted to be in property, helping people, and putting my skills to use.

So, during my previous contract role at a large corporate travel company in Kent, I started researching Home Staging and the practicalities of setting up my own business towards the end of my contract. It was time for me to pursue a dream of mine - staging homes whilst helping people to make the most from their property. I completed the Home Staging course, became certified, and finished setting up Home Style & Spruce in July.

 

Services provided
Home Staging - whether you're a homeowner still living in your fully furnished home, a property investor or a property owner letting out your property throughout Kent, we can help transform your property to provide maximum appeal and realise it’s true potential.

 

Holiday Let Styling - we are here to help you with your holiday let property with interior styling and decor. The smallest of changes can increase appeal and bookings revenue.

 

Let’s talk
To contact us, find out more or follow my journey, please visit…

www.homestylespruce.com

www.instagram.com/home.style.spruce

www.facebook.com/home.style.spruce

 


Natalie Stages: It's July

I don’t know about you, but the moment that lockdown was eased for the property market, I was in shock.

 

I had played that moment out so many times in my head and imagined a feeling of exhilaration and joy, but I literally just sat there.

 

“Ok, what does this mean?”, “can I still do this?”, “how?”.

 

It was a little sooner than I had anticipated and the feeling of uncertainty was overwhelming. Within just a week, I had had a booking for an occupied stage as well as our first post - lockdown installation. I knew that it was back on, well, as “on” as you could get with no shops, reduced storage hours, 2m social distancing measures and the children still off school!

 

Trying to prepare for my installation took me back to my very first. The clumsiness of scrapping around for anything to stage with, trying to arrange removals and creating new processes.

 

With a destage outstanding on another property, we were lucky to be able to source a lot of the “big” pieces, but the artwork was especially difficult.

 

Staging day came and nerves were high.

 

But, from the moment I turned the house key, I knew that I was home. Home, in an empty home. The nerves, panic and self-doubt were gone and I felt a wave of contentment. I knew how to do this and I knew it was going to be ok.

 

Sitting, alone in the vacant property, listening to the birds singing from a tree out back, I made up furniture, unpacked crates and pieced the house, and myself back together.

 

And that was that the lockdown was over and we were back to work.

 

Making it work.

 

Natalie Evans is an HSA Founding Member. She runs Little Barn Door and shares her insights, news and tips monthly here at the HSA website.