Wednesday, 09 September 2020 10:44

The Art of Property Staging

    Like all industries, the property sector is having to adapt and overcome a host of challenges laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the sector embraces a ‘new normal’, it’s more important than ever to ensure properties stand out, and capture the attention of prospective renters and buyers restarting their search for a new home, says Nicola McEwan, Head of Design (South) at LOFT.

    Property staging involves the art of designing to attract, and utilises a host of design principles to maximise the rooms within a property and showcase their potential – all to help viewers visualise their own future within a space.

    Here, Nicola McEwan, Head of Design (South) at interior design and furniture specialist, LOFT, explores the key benefits of property staging, and why it’s time landlords and agents understood and unlocked its potential for themselves.

    Stand out to attract

    The number of people searching properties online has bounced back to pre-COVID-19 lockdown levels. According to Rightmove, on the day the housing market reopened in May, nearly 5.2 million people visited the company’s website, with banks reporting mortgage applications spiking.

    However, with virtual viewings still being prioritised over in-person viewings due to safety, it’s more important than ever to capture the attention of buyers and renters scrolling online for potential places – and property staging is a prime way to pique interest.

    Everyone wants to live in a beautiful home, and having photos that showcase perfectly placed furniture and accessories can transform a viewer’s opinion of a space, encourage click-throughs and enquiries, and attract a whole new set of buyers who otherwise might’ve scrolled past online.

    Create an illusion

    The art of property staging is about showcasing potential. Empty rooms can often be perceived as smaller than they actually are, putting potential buyers off.

    However, furnishing a space lets a viewer envisage the possibilities, and can change their opinion completely. It can make a space look and feel bigger, and helps create a picture for how a room could look if space is effectively utilised. It can also offer design inspiration – highlighting ways to maximise a space that viewers might not have thought of. For example, making the most of a corner space as a reading nook, or showcasing a potential dining area. For this reason, property staging is particularly useful in small homes or those with awkward floor plans.

    Property staging doesn’t just look great – it can eliminate questions and doubt, like whether a double bed, wardrobe or side table could really fit. This additional peace of mind can really make the difference, and help turnaround an offer.

    Fuel imagination

    When it comes to home layout, 68% of British buyers would most like an open-plan kitchen and dining area. However, open-plan layouts leave more space to fill, which can be a daunting task for many to envisage.

    Utilising property staging in an open space can help viewers compare and contrast the furniture used to the furniture they currently own, or help inform the furniture they plan to buy. It’s also a great chance to showcase the potential zones within a space – providing inspiration of how a large area can be broken up with strategically placed furniture. For example, a bookcase utilised to split the space between the lounge and dining area, or the use of plants or larger accessories to add colour and personality to corners and shelving.

    Evoke emotions

    First impressions are lasting impressions, and whether a landlord or letting agent is looking to make a sale or attract tenants, evoking positive emotion is essential. On average, home viewers take 65 minutes before submitting an offer for a home purchase, and with only 27 minutes spent per viewing, it’s vital to help prospective buyers picture themselves within a home.

    By using property staging to introduce the right combination of colour and texture through the use of furniture, art and soft furnishings, potential buyers or renters can feel excited, inspired and imagine the aspirational lifestyle they could achieve by living there.

    In addition, creating the sense of ‘need’ to own or move in can drive up the price, especially if multiple viewers picture themselves within a property.

    Digital designs

    Property staging doesn’t have to be a physical task – virtual staging can actually deliver all the benefits, but for a fraction of the price.

    It involves using professional photography, and adding computer-generated visuals of furniture, decor and accessories.

    The process just involves an initial conversation with a design team to discuss the vision for the space. At LOFT, our property staging service has been designed to give landlords and tenants the edge over other properties, so the team has a wealth of knowledge on property presentation, and how different design themes will attract the buyers in mind.

    Once that’s decided on, the images can be turned around quickly, results in eye-catching designs that are perfect for use on adverts, or to be showcased on a tablet in person when a viewer is looking around a space.

    Make a quicker sale

    According to the Home Staging Association, the average staging investment is between 1 and 3% of the home’s asking price, which generates an ROI of 8 to 10%. Generally speaking, these properties sell over 8% above asking price.

    With 75% of homebuyers spending more time viewing a home that is staged, as opposed to a non-staged home, and the benefits and return on investment clear, now’s the time for landlords and agents to unlock the potential of property staging for themselves.

    With competition on the property market stronger than ever, it’s vital to attract the best potential buyers or tenants in as little time as possible, and broadly appeal to wider audiences, so more offers come in. Property staging can be an essential element in achieving this without breaking the bank.

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    Inex magazine and its complementary website is the ultimate specification resource for design professionals working in both the domestic and commercial marketplaces.

    Exclusive, cutting-edge content is delivered to inform and inspire esteemed professionals on a whole host of topics and discussions impacting the industry.

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