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As the client, I am absolutely delighted. Not just by your own efforts, which are truly astonishing, but by your ability to pull so many quality businesses (and people) together at such short notice. To coordinate and keep everyone happy, then to deliver the desired outcome as forecast and within the agreed budget. Your keen eye for developing the right features and your attention to detail throughout are invaluable.

For anyone else reading this testimonial, I cannot recommend Helen from The Property Styling Company highly enough. If you are not getting good service from your estate agent (with regard to marketing the very best features of your property) you need Helen to step in to coordinate the process and provide the necessary finesse to bring this about. AJ Bramwell. Gloucestershire

Client Testimonial

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The Property Styling Company..

It’s the weekend and I’ve been up since the crack of dawn packing my car with all sorts of gorgeous accessories, collecting fresh flowers, buying fruit and making sure every item on my long list is present and correct. Working on a Saturday or Sunday is something of an occupational hazard for me as that’s when most of my clients tend to be ‘at home’.

I love everything to do with Interiors and Design but my passion is really for ‘Property’; marketing, styling, selling and (when it’s called for) finding!

I’ve specialised in Property Marketing, you may know it as Home-Staging (but with a strategic twist) for years now and the thrill of achieving a great result for my clients is still unbeatable. Whether they’ve a property just going onto the market, a home they’ve been unable to sell for a while or a house they moved into but never really settled in, the starting principle is the same, a good poke around and a proper ‘fact-find’.

Today’s styling project is the culmination of a good few weeks of hard graft. 

The house is a substantial 5 bed (Victorian) period property in Bath.  It has been their happy, family home for approximately 25 years. Although their children have long since moved into homes of their own, it’s a big wrench for the owners to consider leaving the house behind. Ideally, they’d like to downsize, put a bit of money in the bank, move further out into the country, perhaps embark on a small renovation project and enjoy an early, well-earned retirement.

Our first meeting at their property was for me to appraise the house by analysing the property through the eyes of a buyer, find out their objectives, talk through strategies for attracting their target market and give them a winning edge over similar properties for sale. A great deal of our time was spent discussing Estate Agents; those considered suitable to sell the property and the price range my clients felt would be acceptable to them.

I took copious notes for the follow-up report and numerous photos as a reference for styling and staging. As it had been their home for a long time, they had, like all of us, built up a collection of ‘family treasures’ and found themselves custodians of larger objects like ski’s, framed posters, boxes of clothes, books and bits of furniture the kids still wanted but had “no room to store” in their own houses! They were also concerned about the decoration in some of the rooms, did they need to paint, re-carpet, dress the windows, fit a new bathroom or de-clutter?

As with many period properties the house had a few quirks and foibles but was essentially a well cared for, comfortable, elegant home. I’d spotted one or two (essential) minor upgrades on my initial look around but the majority of work was ‘clutter clearing’ (not that this was in any way a messy home) and redefining three (mostly unoccupied) bedrooms. Happy to indicate a small budget for upgrades and staging items, the couple were keen that any furniture and accessory purchases could be used again in their next home or agreed as part of a rental package (hired from me) if they so chose.

Having received my Home Sale report, they’d spent the intervening period working through my recommendations; sorting, storing, decorating and cleaning the house from top to bottom. Estate Agent valuations were booked and all that was left to do was the final room styling in preparation for the marketing photographs.

Where possible I like to work with a professional photographer, one experienced in commercial photography rather than family portraiture and preferably a patient photographer. I often spot something after the shot has been taken that I don’t like, need to change or “would be better over there”!

On site I meet up with Bruce Bolton, (www.lanternphotography.co.uk) he’s keen, early and I’ve yet to begin.  Luckily, he and the owner discover a passion for racing cars which allows me enough time to unpack and get started. We’ve allowed only 2-3 hours.

Much of the main furniture re-arrangement was completed in advance; we needed a new double bed for one of the rooms and some curtain poles put up elsewhere. Now also in-situ, I’d previously sourced bed linen, lamps and light-fittings too.

Concentrating on the Living room and Dining room first, I arrange flowers, hang pictures, re-position key pieces of furniture and decide which lights to leave on. Bruce is anxious to get ‘snapping’ so I move onto the kitchen. This room is the most contemporary part of the house, all gleaming surfaces and shiny glass. Already a very stylish space, other than deciding which accessories will further enhance the ‘lifestyle look’ there isn’t a lot else to do in here.

The patio and garden have previously been tweaked by the owners so photographs are taken of this area next. The sun keeps disappearing behind a cloud, not ideal but at least it isn’t raining – we want light, bright, shots, seasonal of course but sunshine makes a huge difference to the appeal of any property image.

Thankfully styling the rest of the house goes smoothly. The cushions I’d purchased for the Master Bedroom are such a perfect match to the owner’s originals anyone would think it had been planned in advance 😉 I’m very pleased with the overall look and feel of this room.

The only space that proves a bit tricky is the bathroom…. It’s quite small and trying to find an angle that isn’t all ‘bath’ or mainly a shot of the window is difficult.  I managed to source towels in pretty soft shades to go with the colour scheme and found some perfectly coloured accessories but unless we take a photo directly of them (which to show off the styling is fine) this room could look a bit bland.

In the end all rooms are photographed and we even manage to capture the front of the house with the sun shining! The result is exactly what I had hoped to achieve and thankfully my clients are thrilled.

Before I leave, my owners get a mini coaching session on how to conduct a perfect viewing.  Showing a 3 storey property can be confusing – do you start at the top of the house, in the middle or out in the garden?  I want to ensure they can successfully show the house to viewers (and the Estate Agents) without having to double back anywhere; ensure where they start creates the most impact and that they finish on a high to give them the greatest chance of achieving a faster and more profitable sale.

Back home, the worst part of the job…unpacking! I have to decide if I’m keeping any of the unused purchases for another project, re-wrap the delicate items, store all the bags and boxes and finally sit down to analyse the day.

Post Script:  All 4 estate agents that came to value were really impressed by the presentation of the property and dead keen to get the instruction.  By being proactive and having the house ready before they called in the agents, my clients could make informed decisions about the timing of the sale, negotiate fees and capitalize on marketing ideas.  

They sold quickly, for a great price and are now happily involved in turning their new house into their home!

Thanks to Bruce at www.lanternphotography.co.uk for use of his images.

Funny old thing PR … you can spend ages banging on doors, sending off articles, thinking up ideas and getting nowhere.  Of course, if it’s your own business, you are bound to be biased – ‘why wouldn’t they want to write about my styling work, feature my home-staging projects, call on my property expertise?’ – every company wants an injection of free publicity… don’t they?!

So, to get an email or call out of the blue from a “National” publication is always a thrill.  It’s a kind of validation that you are an ‘expert in your field’, do know what you are talking about and have the knowledge to contribute to the article.  Also, secretly, everyone hopes that a mention will open the floodgates and propell you (and your business) to the forefront of everyones minds … for a day or so at least!

Nothing is ever guaranteed, not even the journalist is ever sure it when or if it will make the papers and rarely, as you’re just the one providing the information, do you get to know which bits of your interview will actually get published. 

But twice, in the last couple of months, I have had a call or, as the case this week, an email from a ‘National’ 🙂

I’m flattered to have been asked to contribute to a number of websites, blogs and newspaper articles.  Usually, these have come through getting to know the business owner or journalist via friends and networking connections.  Then, when a topic has come up for discussion or, they need a piece on property marketing, they already know what I do or how I can help and a quote ‘from me’ has been included.

This time though the email was from a stranger, working for the Daily Mail!

The email led to a phone interview and further emails, as information was exchanged and questions asked.  I waffled on about case histories and how amazing property styling could be, what a difference it could make to the value of a property, how people buy homes with emotion not logic, the importance of correct online marketing and how selling empty (of furniture) properties is a complete no no…………..

I am sure the guy requesting the information was bored rigid but he was very polite and, enthusiastically thanked me for my efforts and assured me that if he used any of my quotes/information The Property Styling Company would get a mention. Result!

Well today, Friday October 7th 2011 ‘we’ did get a mention in the Property Mail section of the paper.   I got a name check, the website got published and a telephone number included (thankfully no photo!) … I can now use the quote “As seen in the Daily Mail”

My mother was convinced that with all the time I’d spent talking to him and exchanging emails I’d “practically written the whole article for him” .. and if you see below, yes Mum I practically did 😉

And if you can’t read what it says above … >> a transcript follows below

HOME STAGING

Helen Silver, of The Property Styling Company (07789 488446, propertystylingcompany.co.uk) believes sellers can add at least 10 per cent to the value of their property by employing a professional stylist.

She decluttered and restyled a four-bedroom home in Swindon valued at £275,000 — now it’s on sale for £320,000.

I caught the tail end of a discussion on Twitter the other day, a few people were debating the term ‘blog’ and whether or not many ‘blog’s were in fact just extended web pages... i.e more business than personal.

This got me thinking about the blogs I read and why I like them.  Many of them I do find appealing because of the personal element and the fact that many of the bloggers lead such interesting lives … or so they would have us believe 😉 

A daily update of my life would involve Boys, school runs, our Dog, currently a family of hedgehogs, washing, ironing, the task of deciding what to prepare for supper every night, trying to encourage regular showers and the daily struggle to find sports kits, uniforms…. socks 😦

And I can’t imagine anyone wanting to read about that!

Obviously in between ‘family stuff’, I try to fit in as much Property Marketing and Styling work as possible but, and here’s the awkward thing; many of my clients prefer to remain secret, at least until their homes have hit Rightmove or in a few cases until they have a firm offer on the table.

Some of the properties and owners I meet are fascinating.  They have character, history, clutter, weirdness, tidyness, problems, celebrations – enough stories actually to fill a book nevermind a blog! However, they are first and foremost people I work for and hopefully will work with again..

What I’ve done in the past is to try and write or find articles for people with an interest in Selling or Letting property with perhaps a bit of interior design on the side.

Perhaps the way to go is to write about the sourcing and ‘doing’ – leaving out the actual property details until the deed has been done.

Hmmm, business or personal?  The jury is still out ….

…… these are titles often used to describe me.

I run The Property Styling Company a business designed to help you sell your property faster and for more. I can show you how to maximise your property’s potential, whether it’s for sale, to let, or to live in!

Having written numerous articles for other blogs, websites and newsletters, I thought it was about time to start a blog of my own.

Hopefully my passion for property, and effective property marketing, will come across in the articles posted here, along with guest blogs from those in related industries.  The plan is to add hints, tips and ‘other’ property and interiors related news.  Well that’s the plan, lets see how I do!  Thanks for reading so far…..

If you need advice on selling, styling or buying property and would like to discuss working with me … my main website can be found at www.propertystylingcompany.co.uk. Contact can be made through this wordpress site, by email or calling/texting: 07789 488446.

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