If you’ve ever sold a home, then you’ve probably heard the terms ‘property styling’ or ‘home staging’.
Some may think it’s only about adding colourful cushions, but home staging goes far beyond just re-arranging furniture.
Presenting a home at it’s best, is a crucial part of marketing a property and home staging, or styling, plays a very integral part in making that all important first impression a great one.
Homebase is a Staging and Interiors company that offers a range of services to help style and decorate a property. We asked owner Anthea Baker to tell us a little bit more about her company, exactly what home staging is and her top tips for getting a property ‘open-home’ ready…
Q. What led you into interior design and home staging?
For as long as I can remember have had a love for Design, Colour and Fabrics. When I was a young child my mother would spend hours in fabric stores looking and buying fabric to sew our clothes. This is where I would say I developed my love of fabric – the textures, colours and even the smell. Using my mother’s off cuts I would use the scraps of fabric for the renovations of my dolls houses, adding extensions and making furniture for the new rooms I had made.
My very first job, while still at school was in a fabric store where I found a natural talent for putting things together. After leaving school I became an apprentice hairdresser where I honed my still in colouring. During my lunch breaks I would leave the salon and spend time in furniture stores, I started buying pieces of furniture that I loved, paying them off on layby as I was on a miniscule apprentice wage. The very first furniture item I bought was a chrome and glass art deco tea trolley which I still own today.
Recognising my passion for Interior Design I trained in this area starting with a correspondence course while still working. In the late 90’s I started buying and doing up houses. From the collection of furniture that I owned I would dress them up to add value to them for sale or rental. I saw how this really increased their value. A friend saw what I was doing and asked if I could put some furniture into an empty house he was selling. It took me a week to stage his one property, once it was done the real estate agent asked me to stage another two properties that she had coming onto the market, essentially I fell into starting a Homestaging business quite by accident. Over the next few years I worked and grew the business buying furniture as it was needed into one of Auckland’s largest staging businesses, staging between 60 and 90 properties at any one time.
Thinking back to the time that I was staging my own properties I guess I unwittingly came across a service that is well needed by many people selling their homes. I would use what I had but would find that there were a few bits missing, maybe art, furniture or accessories. I struggled to find someone who could just hire me the bits that I needed. I did ring a Homestaging company at the time to see if they offered this service. I was met with a very hostile response and told that I would need to remove everything from the house and that they would come in with an entire house lot to dress the house. This was not what I needed as the furniture I had was actually very nice. This very thing is a product that we offer to our customers, we call it our “Pick n Mix” service where someone is living in the home and they just need some help with a few select pieces.
Q. What do you love most about what you do?
Every day is a different day, I love working with people to help them achieve the best possible outcomes for their properties.
I also love the instant gratification that you get from Homestaging, at the end of the day I can look back and be proud of what I have achieved.
Q. How does home staging differ to the other interior styling and pre-sale design services you offer?
Homestaging is where we are fully furnishing empty homes to create an appealing home for a potential buyer. Interior Design or Styling is when people are planning to stay in a home and need help to do the finishing touches. Pre-Sale advise is where we give all of the ideas of how the vendor should present their home for sale using what they have. Sometimes this may mean some cosmetic enhancements as well, for example painting, re carpeting etc.
Q. Much of property marketing is about first impressions and the ability to make an emotional connection with a buyer. What kind of atmosphere / ambience do you aim for in your styling to make that connection happen?
It depends on the location of the property and also the potential buyer in that area. Together with the agent we are able to have a fairly accurate idea of who this person is and how they would like to see the property.
We dress the property to attract this buyer, remember a house is a product, so we need to market to its best advantage.
Q. Do you take a different approach to styling/decorating a clients home that is for sale as opposed to a client who just want’s to redecorate the home the live in?
Definitely, when selling we tend to neutralise the home to attract a wider audience. When someone is planning to stay in a home long term they need to decorate it with their own taste. Which means it could be all painted purple if that is what they like.
Q. You have an excellent ‘Getting Ready To Move’ checklist on your site.
In your opinion, what is the most simple & effective thing(s) from your checklist that people can do to do get their homes ready for sale, not matter what the condition of their house?
Cleaning, particularly the windows. This helps a property sparkle. Then secondly, look at the entry to the home, this is what is going to entice your buyer. Buyers make a decision if they like this home or not within the first few seconds of standing at the front door.