Ben’s home staging blog – December 2015

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Empty properties lack soul…and salesBen Bambrough

This month I focus on the increasing popularity of home staging and more specifically how it can benefit developers, agents and investors.

There is not one property in the world that would not benefit from home staging. It is only now a realisation because this fact has been proven, simply by the reflection of the sales and marketing information we have coupled with the increasing popularity in home staging.

What do your empty properties say to buyers?

Empty properties not only lack soul, but they cannot define the space that a lived in property clearly illustrates. In the course of my work my number one objective is to visually sell the lifestyle that property can offer to a potential buyer.

Be it a sprawling penthouse apartment with the ultimate wow factor party room, the classic, warm family townhouse or the conveniently located two bed pied-de-terre, my job doesn’t change, it is to enhance and sell what a property is physically offering and we cross all boundaries. Essentially, a buyer is walking into their potential home and we help them to envisage themselves their lifestyle by creating that dream home. When they walk into a staged home, they see the way the property can work for them. An empty property is cold to view and more importantly, it resonates with echo sounds that don’t help your average buyer with visualising the home that they aspire to live in.

Seduction sells

A person’s home is pretty much their largest asset and purchase, so it’s vitally important to give the property every bit of opportunity to seduce the buyer into making the massive decision to pay for it. People are becoming more and more informed to the agents’ illustrations. With today’s online exposure to pictures and floor plans etc, it is even more important to present good visual images of what you are selling.

Twenty years ago, people walked into an estate agent and asked to go on a huge amount of viewings because the buyer couldn’t see much of what was available. Today, buyers do a lot of the legwork and preliminary research online before telling agents the properties they want to see. Viewings are critical, the potential buyer has already discounted a large amount of properties via a process of elimination online. If your property looks cold and empty online then you will already be doing your property a dis-service in its potential.

Variation for different markets

London encapsulates a diverse spectrum of property owners, which then has direct consequences on the wide ranges of architecture and styles from your very super-cool Notting Hill to the luxury tastes of those in the classic properties in the Bayswater areas. There is of course more space to work with in a penthouse suite compared to a smaller apartment, which targets two very different demographics. With this in mind, it’s better to have a few marketing suites that show the different finishes and options available to appeal to different markets with varying price points.

It’s therefore best to concurrently furnish a one or two bedroom apartment and a penthouse suite. We have just completed an apartment building with twelve flats where we initially furnished one marketing suite. It sold along with three or four others and as the people who had bought the marketing suite wanted to move in, we furnished the new marketing suite. The remaining sold leaving one apartment on the market and we moved out. Consequently, weeks passed and it remained on the market so we have just been called back in to stage the apartment. Had we originally furnished it, it would have almost certainly sold.

The choice of styles very much depends on the architecture of a building. Other developers who are selling a lot of space on plan will have a variation on schemes, it’s like selling the extras on a car and they can sell up with a choice of kitchen finishes, flooring and bathroom suites. With this in mind, it’s better to have two marketing suites that show the different finishes and options available.

Ben Bambrough is MD at London’s leading home stagers and property experts, bB Design House  

0845 680 1033

Do you have a question for Ben? Why not e-mail him here.

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