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Home Stagers

Many people will have first come across Channel 5's House Doctor - the doctor calls to help you turn what is currently designed as a home just perfect for you into a house that other people want to make their home. We have teamed up with Home Stagers, home of the HomeStagers™ who are available on-line.

Dressed to Impress

If you're having trouble selling your home, or need advice on how best to present it, check out a new service which will help you smarten up, 'dress to impress' and have buyers swooning in the hallway...

Tina Jesson
Back in 1999 Tina Jesson was having a hard time selling her home. A trained designer, she applied interior design techniques to the problem, spotted a gap in the market and set about creating a Home Re-Style Interior Design consultancy.

Several years later and the idea has matured into what it is today:homestagers, a hands-on makeover service backed up by a web site bursting at the seams with articles, tips, case studies, financial tools and free advice for those looking to develop their property's true potential.

The company now has a team of fully trained consultants across the country who will visit your home and give feedback on how it looks and feels to a prospective buyer. This will be followed by detailed advice on how to improve the property, maximise its value and make a positive impression on viewers.

"We are increasingly called into houses all over the UK which are in the right area, at the right price but still refuse to sell," explains Tina. "Interestingly, sellers' problems are exasperated in a booming housing market rather than at quieter times, when their expectations for a quick sale are sometimes over optimistic."

Sarah's Success

Sarah Lowe
A case in point is Sarah Lowe, a full time secretary and mother of one whose three bed 30's semi had been on the market for four months. Although she lived in a very popular residential suburb, she had received no offers at all and was becoming increasingly despondent.

Prompted by her estate agent, she called in Home Stagers to give the place a full appraisal. "The consultant was extremely helpful, making various suggestions regarding the house and its presentation," Sarah explains.

"The biggest problem was the 25 year old Walton carpet I'd inherited which dominated the lounge and dining room with colours that clashed with all my other furnishings. There was no way I could afford to replace it, but the consultant was a real inspiration".

"By using a couple of my own accessories and a few from the consultant's 'tool kit', we were able to neutralise all the clashing patterns away. We moved a couple of pieces of dated furniture into the garage to make more space inside, relocated a couple of other pieces and de-cluttered the bookcase".

Three hours later the house was 'staged' to best effect and the following Monday Sarah conducted a viewing with a prospective buyer who put in a full price offer later in the day. "Truly amazing! I had no time to think about what needed doing," says Sarah, "but there is more to selling your house than having the sale board outside".

"You need to accept that its not your house anymore and work at making it as acceptable as possible so someone can see themselves living in it. I think people today just want to move in. Houses like mine can become difficult to sell and need a bit of help. The kind of help that Home Stagers give, did it for me".

Tina's Top Tips

Tina Jesson, something of a veteran on the home staging front, has walked through many houses on the market and reckons there are a set of recurring problems which she encounters again and again.

"The key to selling a home is to 'neutralise rather than personalise'" she says. "Viewers are not buying the owner's décor, furniture and, more importantly, clutter. They want to walk in and imagine themselves living in that house surrounded by their own taste."

Tina's tips to help your house 'dress to impress' include:

  • Tidy the frontage and add such features as hanging baskets to increase drive-by desirability
  • Clear our clutter as this is the first thing that people notice
  • Ensure the hall is welcoming as first impressions count
  • Banish pets and children during a viewing - in that order!
  • Ensure paintwork is clean and get out the paint pot if necessary. White paint work is preferable to dark wood
  • Clean or replace carpets and curtains with economical alternatives
  • Ensure there are no dark, unwelcoming areas and put on lights and lamps when showing people around.
  • Give each room a specific purpose - for instance, ensure a dining room or office area is given one role
  • Kitchens and bathrooms are the biggest selling points: replace flooring (economically) if necessary; clear surfaces (including children's artwork from the fridge) and ensure they are both spotless
  • Ensure all cupboards are tidy, as they will be opened!
  • Stage the garden as an extra room and take down the washing line
  • Waft smells through the house such as coffee, baked bread, pot-pourri or just good old fresh air

Information about Home Stagers

A full Homestaging consultation, including a copy of their Viewings into Offers guide, will costs £160, but the company will also provide you with free advice if you send a set of photographs to their web site (now developing into an impressive online community).

Clients will also have their properties featured on the Hot Property section of the site and those looking for a more delux makeover can choose the One Day Re-Style or the Complete Home Sale Re-Style.

If your property needs work carried out homestagers will help you prepare a full DIY plan. If you'd rather use professionals they can recommend reputable builders, provide contact information, or make initial introductions on your behalf. Buyers are also catered for, with a special house hunting service.

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