Image: Lemon and Lime Interiors

So, you’ve found the perfect property and you’re ready to sell.

 

“It’s been done up beautifully,” the estate agent tells you, “this will fetch a magnificent price.”

 

No doubt you’re aware that with the help of a home staging company you can maximise on offers. You would be silly not to turn that “magnificent price” into the highest bid you can get.

 

However, as real estate guru Elaine Penhaul highlights in her upcoming book Sell High, Sell Fast (which I got to read a snippet of early, lucky me!), staging for a sale is a relatively new idea, and as such, choosing the right professional for you is no mean feat.

 

If you find yourself ready to use a home staging business for the first time, there’s three pillars to picking a successful team. Qualificationpricepoint, and deal-sealers.

 

First things first. Establish which businesses operate in your area. There’s a fantastic tool for this on the Home Staging Association UK & Ireland website.

 

Once you’ve racked up a few prospective businesses, investigate their sites.

 

A huge mistake first-timers make is confining home staging to interior design. Steer clear of this misnomer! Home staging is a property marketing tool, not just a service for acquiring an aesthetically appealing home (though that’s part of the fun!).

 

If you aren’t intrigued or impressed by a home stager’s website, then don’t go any further!

 

A website is the storefront of the E-high street. Don’t see anything you like? Keep walking. The same applies online.

 

When you find a staging website that piques your interest, remember our three pillars.

 

Qualification

If you want to be extra secure in your choice of business, keep a look out for stagers who have invested in education.

 

Not only will these home stagers have an excellent knowledge of their field, easily establish your needs, and have a wealth of case studies that match your situation; the best picks will be accredited.

 

The HSA is debuting the UK’s flagship staging accreditation course in 2020. This will show customers the industry’s crème de la crème.

 

Always look out an HSA Accredited badge or dispensation. They won’t be hard to find – home stagers will be waving it like a victory flag.

 

It’s always important to get a background on the stagers you want to hire. As aforementioned, home staging is a marketing tool – not just an interior design service. The best businesses will have a solid history with the property.

 

While you’re swotting up on your candidates’ backgrounds, you’ll want to ask how long they’ve been operating.

 

It goes without saying: the longer the better. This applies to most services! More experience converts to more practice, statistical insight, and (hopefully) more cumulative successes.

 

While we’re talking about success, a great technique for measuring prospects against your own needs is by way of the case study.

 

Elaine Penhaul puts this perfectly in her book:

 

“An experienced stager will know that their strongest marketing tools are their case studies and statistical evidence they have collected from the work they’ve done.

 

“They should be prepared to share all of this with you.”

 

Put shortly, if the business you’re eyeing up is holding something back, head for the hills. Why wouldn’t a stager be avid to show you their finest work?

 

Finally, a sure-fire tactic to ensure you’re aligned with prospects: ask them if they’ve worked on similar projects to yours.

 

Imagine, you want to shift a gorgeous, Georgian townhouse and your home staging crew turns up clutching beanbags, a mini-fridge, and several posters for Rod Stewart’s A Spanner in the Works Tour ‘95.

 

Nobody’s happy.

 

Please, please, please! Ensure you and your home staging team are on the same page.

 

Pricepoint

Let’s be blunt. Property is intrinsically linked to people’s wallets.

 

From the most astute property magnate to the humblest first-time seller, if you’re picking out a home stager, you’re going to focus on cost.

 

An upmarket stager might have an intimidating price tag but, as studies have shown, home staging can increase a home’s value by up to 8% in the UK. For the average house, that’s an increase of over £18,548.

 

If you’re selling a house somewhere around average for the UK, that’s great! There will be a glut of home staging businesses operating within your margin.

 

Don’t be fooled into thinking every stager is used to working in the same price bracket, however. As Elaine suggests in Sell High, Sell Fast:

 

“The staging needs to match the property value.

 

“If you’re selling a multi-million-pound property, you need someone to handle a project in a property of this value.”

 

Wise words! If you’re selling with Knight Frank or Savills, one of their team will be able to suggest a high-end stager that suits your needs.

 

One final note for this pillar. Home stagers can charge in a variety of ways, so make sure to establish how they’re set to work out the project’s cost.

 

They might charge hourly if so, ask for a rough estimate of the project’s time frame. Or, they might do the legwork for you and give you an upfront cost for the whole property.

 

If the price is linked to property value, Rightmove suggests that home staging costs shouldn’t exceed more than 2% of your property’s value.

 

Deal-Sealers

We’ve hit the third pillar. As the name suggests, deal-sealers are the extra frills that increase your quality of life during a move.

 

If a home stager comes recommended by a trustworthy agent, that’s a nice assurance. However, if a stager is suggested by more than one agent, that’s a deal sealer!

 

On this note, it goes without saying that a staging business belonging to the HSA UK & Ireland is a must.

 

Maximising your property’s sale price is, of course, a high priority. Your home stager should feel exactly the same way. If they can provide a clear, concise plan for increasing your house’s value, that’s a sure-fire deal-sealer.

 

Should a business know their plan of action before you’ve even discussed money, they’re clearly invested in achieving the sale. It’s a sign of quality and professionalism.

 

Now, this last deal-sealer is a real treat for sellers with a million things on their plate.

 

Elaine, once again, is to thank you for this superb suggestion. Ask what your candidates can do to help you with the move:

 

“[This] could be anything from sourcing a removal team to recommending storage facilities to move you into your new home unpacking boxes and placing items within forty-eight hours.”

 

Increasing your home’s value and alleviating the stress caused by the moving process? Smells like a deal-sealer to me.

 

In Summary

Home staging if a fantastic opportunity for anyone that needs to market a property stylishly, efficiently, and to the maximum value.

 

Although the concept is relatively new in the UK, if you keep the three pillars in mind when selecting your perfect staging business, you’ll be leagues ahead of the competition.

 

Remember the highlights:

  • Make sure your stager is accredited by the HSA UK & Ireland. Education is key to a successful business, and thus, a successful sale.
  • Ensure they have experience in your price range and property type (no beanbags or Rod Stewart paraphernalia in my Georgian townhouse, thank you!).
  • Expect the utmost when it comes to making your life easier. Moving house is not easy. A great home staging team will take on a sizable chunk of the burden.

 

Happy home staging!

For more expert advice on property marketing, grab a copy of Elaine Penhaul’s book Sell High, Sell Fast: The homeowner’s guide to selling your biggest capital asset for the best possible price, in the quickest possible time.

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