Selling a home quickly can be a challenge in the currently slower-than-average property market, but there are things you can do to sell your house more quickly. However, what do you do if you don't currently live at the property you're trying to sell?
Research shows that prospective buyers respond better to properties that look lived in – it is much easier to imagine living somewhere that looks cosy and well decorated than a house without any furniture or window dressings.
Temporarily decorating the place with some of your own furniture if you have some in storage could be an option, but that's relatively rare. Which is where home staging can come in as a solution. Not only will it maximise your chances of a sale, but also, according to the Home Staging Association UK (opens in new tab), home staging could get sellers an offer that's up to 10 per cent higher than if the property were left untended.
So what is home staging, and how can it be used for an empty property to maximise those viewings and offers?
How does home staging work?
A home stager will decorate your home in a way that makes it look lived-in for the purpose of a sale, or revamp existing décor to make it more attractive to potential buyers. Don't worry – you won't be buying lots of expensive furniture you don't need, you'll just be renting it until the house is sold. Home stagers have lots of experience in decorating houses especially for the purpose of selling, and will choose the furniture and other decor that will appeal to as many people as possible. If your current decor is dated or garish, they'll help you tone that down, too.
Can I try home staging myself?
Of course – there's no reason you can't try staging a home for sale yourself, but be prepared to spend a lump sum on some new furniture and furnishings. Ikea is always a good candidate for cheap furniture and homewares that look good, although we'd also give somewhere like Next a good look.
The thing you'll need to consider before buying lots of stuff, though, is what you will do with it afterwards. If you have a garage to store it in, great; if not, think about how you'll get if off your hands. Some buyers might want the furniture, but not all will.
Which is cheaper: professional or DIY home staging?
This really depends on the kind of look you'll be going for: if you're selling a large property in an affluent area, paying a home stager will likely be cheaper than buying expensive furniture in the hope that you can add it to the house sale. However, if you're selling a smaller property with first-time buyers in mind, then you may well benefit from keeping costs down by decorating the place cheaply yourself.
As a general idea, it's worth knowing that many UK companies will often offer a free initial consultation, but if there's no one in your area that does, expect to pay between £50 to £200 for the initial meeting then from £20 to £75 per hour for the staging work.
In the USA, where this is an established business, expect to pay from $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation, and between $500 to $600 per month per room.
Need more practical advice? Find out how to sell a house or flat in our expert guide. And find the best mortgage with our mortgage comparison tool, below.