In this post, I wanted to talk a little about the design choices we make when renovating a property to sell. Every piece of advice for selling houses seems to be ‘keep things neutral to appeal to all buyers’. I don’t disagree with this necessarily but I do think that the market is saturated with homes that are indistinguishable from the next. You know the ones with grey walls and carpets, wet wall paneled bathrooms, and a gloss white kitchen with dark laminate worktop and some metro brick tiles? I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this style, it’s inoffensive but I do think there is more space for creativity in the property market.
I spend A LOT of time on Rightmove looking for flats and noticed how easy it was to spot a property that had been renovated by a developer. They generally look cold, empty and well . . . boring. I understand the logic behind a neutral design to not deter any potential buyers but I don’t think this style attracts many buyers either.
If you think of it from a buyer’s perspective, what makes your property stand out from the others? Normally when someone starts looking for a home they will have a list of wants and needs. They will know the area they are interested in, the number of bedrooms they need and how much money they want to spend, they type all this into an online search and get a list of everything that matches their criteria. Let’s say there are 30 matches to start, maybe 10 of them need work and our buyer isn’t interested, that still leaves 20 possibilities. On average a buyer will view six properties before making a purchase which means that just fitting the criteria won’t guarantee you a viewing.
My tactic is to make conservative design choices that add some personality but remain neutral enough to appeal to the masses. Enough to make a buyer stop scrolling and decide to book a viewing. I’m not saying that if you love purple and horses then you should indulge yourself and paint the walls lilac and cover them with pony posters. I’m talking about researching interior trends, reading magazines, scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest, then finding subtle ways to incorporate these trends into your design. Taking risks may alienate a small number of buyers but in my experience, they also generate more interest and create more demand. Generally speaking, a buyer who is interested in a ‘move-in’ ready property doesn’t want to have to decorate. This doesn’t mean that they lack style or personality, so why would they want a home that is missing these qualities. When they find something that excites them then they are more likely to pay a premium for it.
When you look at the statics on empty vs staged properties I don’t understand why anyone would advertise an empty space. On average a staged property sells for 17% more and 87% faster than it’s empty counterpart. There is a reason why the big developers have show homes and display suites, it works! Filling a space with furniture and decor helps a potential buyer see it as a home and easily imagine themselves enjoying the space.
There are lots of home staging companies who can help you with this process but I LOVE decorating and I wouldn’t want to pass it on to someone else. To me, staging a home is the best part of the transformation. I have so much fun finding and making pieces to dress a space that I’ve even been thinking of offering a consulting service to help people make the most of their homes before putting them on the market. So hit me up if you are thinking of selling and would like some help getting your home to reach its full potential.