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A couple of years ago, a colleague and I were approached to put together a package for styling newly refurbished student houses.  The Landlords had come to realise that upping the presentation of their properties scored major points with their target market.  Their houses stood out from the others available to rent and, enabled them to achieve a faster Let and demand higher fees.

We worked in 3 or 4 university cities on probably about 35-40 houses.  Whilst each area had major differences, all the properties we styled were very similar.  By viewing the company’s previous rentals we had a good idea of the look they wanted and by viewing competitors accommodation, in the same location, we also got a good idea of what they didn’t want!

Involved from (almost) the beginning, when walls were coming down and extensions were being built, the colour schemes, along with kitchens, bathrooms, appliances and flooring had already been chosen.  Our task, was to complete the furnishing of the student houses with furniture, artwork, accessories etc and successfully style them, within a very limited budget.

We worked with suppliers we knew and trusted to provide the bulk of the furniture; beds, sofas and blinds but our buying skills were tested to the limit as we tracked down decorative items and hunted out bargains.  Budgets only became available when the houses where nearing completion and often with less than a fortnight’s notice!

The hours were long, the work was stressful, the deadlines were tight.  More often than not we’d turn up with cars and vans packed to the gunnels only to find builders ‘finishing off’ and paint-work still drying.  Once I turned up on site at 6am to find a house full of snoozing carpet fitters (who’d worked late into the night) sleeping off their celebratory hangovers.  The end result though, more than made up for the inconvenience … well that and being able to indulge my passion for shopping with someone else’s money… even if I was on a bargain hunt.  Seeing the total transformation from grotty terrace to stylish student pad always made the job worthwhile.

Of course just improving the property presentation doesn’t necessarily guarantee a Let; good marketing, a proactive agent and creating a buzz, definitely helps too.  Once we’d installed, styled, itemized and taken marketing shots for the first house in each area, an Open day was held.  Nicely furnished, well equipped, clean and contemporary our houses were not only a hit with the students but the parents too!  Mums and Dads noticeably perked up when they walked through the front door – yes there was a premium to pay, more than 20% in some cases – but they’d rather their son or daughter live there than the dirty net-curtain clad property next door.

Our ’employers’ had researched their market, called in the professionals and offered something different.

Their houses were  cleaner, brighter and more stylish than many others on the Letting agents books –

They soon had something else too…. a ‘waiting list‘ of eager tenants!

If you need advice on styling, selling 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 by calling 07789 488446.
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A ‘how to’ guide for conducting successful viewings.  This was an article I wrote for Sarah Beeny’s property website Tepilo in 2010.

When selling their homes my clients benefit hugely from advice given for their own individual circumstances and properties but the general advice given in this article can help clinch that sale!

Show Time

Posted: on Teplio.co.uk, Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Supposing all your hard work has paid off and after you’ve tidied up a bit, taken some good photos and advertised your property, you suddenly get asked if a potential buyer can come and view your home.

If you’re not going down the conventional Estate Agent route, selling your property and achieving the best price, is now all down to you!

Unless confident that you’re fully prepared and left the place looking spotless before rushing out to work, avoid the temptation to agree viewings on the spur of the moment.

Before you show anyone around, spend a little time deciding which rooms to start with. Think about the last time you viewed a property and plan a route that gives buyers the very best impression of your home. Just because the downstairs loo is right by the front door, doesn’t mean it should be the room you take buyers into first! Equally, if you have more than 2 floors, is it really a good idea to take them to a room on the top floor last?

For some, the ‘show round’ can be a nerve racking nightmare; Where do I start? Will they like it? What do I say? What if they offer? Much is common sense but the emotional attachment you have with your home is often hard to put aside

To conduct a ‘perfect’ viewing, I find that many of my clients need advice on individual aspects of their property. However, the following guidelines can apply to every viewing and might just help you clinch that sale!

1. Its all in the planning;

Plan your route. Practise on family or friends if necessary; avoid having to ‘double back’ all the time.

2. Welcome your guests;

Don’t make the buyer feel like an intruder, let them view your property in a relaxed and unhurried manner.

3. Turn up the heat;

Check the temperature. Don’t worry about the utility bills now, if you need to wear a jumper – its too cold!

4. Not seen not heard;

Get rid of the kids, pets, lodgers and any other family members, your property will seem more spacious and you can give the buyers undivided attention.

5. Light and bright;

Turn on side lamps for warmth and atmosphere, take down the nets, pull up the blinds (unless there’s an unsightly view!) and let the light flood in.

6. Let them linger;

Offer tea or coffee, relax with a chat, the longer they linger the more ‘at home’ they will feel.

And finally, Engage with the buyer by all means but steer clear of the hard sell!

By Helen Silver from The Property Styling Company www.propertystylingcompany.co.uk

Follow Helen on Twitter: @propertystyling

TEPILO

Whilst Estate Agents are experts in selling property and closing the deal, many are not ‘design savvy’.  That’s not to say they don’t know what factors help sell a property but it can be difficult to get a property into the best-selling condition, in a timely manner, without some sort of professional assistance.  Preparing a property for sale before you go on the market, before you even enlist your agent, gives your property the edge.  Estate Agents are the same as the rest of us.  If they call to value before a property is ready and consider it will be a ‘hard sell’ – the overall valuation is likely to be lower.  Property Styling works to achieve the best-selling conditions to effectively promote a property in the marketplace.  You wouldn’t sell a car without giving it a good clean and polish would you? So why advertise your property without sprucing it up a bit first?

Know your market.  If it’s a buyers market, you really need to pull out all the stops to sell for a decent price and to motivate the buyer to make an offer.  If a buyer’s afraid that someone will jump in and buy their ‘dream home’ they will take action but if there’s no real incentive to buy, they’ll continuing viewing lots of other properties, possibly waiting for the prices to drop.

In a seller’s market, Property Styling can help you achieve a quick sale and potentially achieve a higher price than you were asking!

Whatever market you are in, it’s pays to do something.  You are marketing your biggest asset, launching a new product if you like; putting it out there for all to see.  It’s always wise to style but the key to Property Styling is appealing to the largest audience … that’s what it’s really all about!

One of the most beautiful houses in Bath is up for sale through Savills and receiving a huge amount of local publicity.  Set in 9 acres of secluded grounds, Widcombe Manor is an historic albeit ‘mini’ stately home.

Perfectly intact Georgian architectural features, with elegant, well proportioned rooms, the property also boasts, a wine cellar, croquet lawn, tennis court, infintity pool, pavillion, summerhouse, 2 storey cottage and incredible views.

It only has 6 bedrooms; although three of these are suites on the 1st floor, with the remaining bedrooms and bathrooms on the 2nd; ideal for those who require space for living/entertaining but would like to preserve something of a ‘family atmosphere’.

The downside for me? …… Well aside from the in “excess of £10million” price tag, the property details (now removed from the property portals) are very lacklustre and the photos unfortunately don’t appear to showcase the interior spaciousness and charm.  Then again I don’t suppose those with + £10m to spend will be searching for properties on Rightmove along with the rest of us!

What is Property Styling?

Home Staging, Property Styling, Property Staging, House Fluffing, Property Presentation…

These are all popular descriptions used for explaining the practise of preparing a property (and its contents) for a faster sale or let, with the sole purpose of achieving the highest price and appealing to the widest possible audience.

However, professional Property Styling is much more than just ‘painting it all white and clearing out the clutter!’

Styling a property for sale ensures that the presentation of the property is the best it can be.   This might simply mean rearranging what you already have or, it could involve bringing in new furniture, accessories and artwork.  Professional Stylists work with the ‘flow’ of a property which normally entails things of an aesthetic nature; overall appearance, clutter, design, colour, as opposed to major structural improvements.

The goal of Property Styling is to improve the property’s appearance in the eyes of a potential buyer.  Typically a buyer has made up their mind whether to buy, within 10 seconds of walking through the door, forming an opinion as they pulled up outside – that doesn’t leave much time for error!

To achieve the desired outcome, a property should be presented at its best right from the start.  Each viewing should lead to a probable offer. If it doesn’t, it’s a wasted viewing and another likely buyer lost.

If your property looks fantastic, buyers can immediately imagine living there and are more prone to making an offer – Most buyers can’t figure out how their furniture might look in an empty property or see past unattractive and disorganized spaces; people buy with emotion but shop with logic!

…… 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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