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How to avoid over or under staging your open home

Sat April 08, 2017

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For anybody looking to sell a property, open homes are an opportunity to entice buyers, and make them fall in love with the idea of living in your house. It's therefore becoming more and more fashionable to 'stage' a home before inviting the public through, but this can come with an element of risk. How do you strike the right balance between appealing and over the top? 

To solve this problem, many are turning to professional home stagers, who will look over the property with an objective eye and dress it according to the latest trends. Often this means renting furniture, which can come with significant expenses. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be this way, and sellers can absolutely stage their own homes, as long as they are aware of not over or under dressing it. 

An empty house can be hard to imagine living in.An empty house can be hard to imagine living in.

Under dressing: Too little

We've said it before on this blog, but an open home should always present buyers with a blank canvas, full of potential. You want people to be able to imagine themselves and their families living happily in your property, which means removing anything that too obviously identifies the house as already 'lived in.' Photographs and personal knick-knacks fall into this category, but it's important not to go overboard and remove the elements that give your house character. 

A property empty except for a few pieces of furniture is likely to look barren rather than inviting, and won't have the warmth and cosiness that's so attractive to many buyers. Neutral colours and fabrics are very useful here, along with any key elements that suggest how living in the house might actually be. For example, A comfy chair with tasteful cushions suggests a snug spot to curl up with a good book. These are the touches that really make a difference, so don't be too hasty with putting everything into storage. 

We've all been to open homes that look more like a casino than a place to raise a family.

Over dressing: Too much

At the other end of the spectrum, it is definitely possible to overdress a house. We've all been to open homes that are full of clutter or garishly decorated, sometimes looking more like a casino than a place to raise a family. With this in mind, you should consider the market that will be interested in your property. 

A larger home designed for families needs to be functional and welcoming - a place for kids to play. Expensive cabinets of delicate china aren't going to work in this scenario, but may in a smaller apartment targeted towards older couples.

If you're really worried about striking the right balance, it's worth talking to a professional and getting their input. After all, open homes are your best chance to make a great first impression. 

For more information and tips on selling property, contact Laing+Simmons today.

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