Rental property styling – just how effective is it?

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog the value of basic property ‘in-house’ styling. When I say ‘in-house’, I mean our office uses items such as towels, chopping boards, tea cups and saucers, vases, coffee plungers and so on – you get the general idea.

It may sound tacky, but the items are tastefully used and when carefully placed around the kitchen and bathroom in our vacant rental properties, an otherwise empty property, makes it appear more lived in and presentable. These properties are usually one or two-bedroom apartments that rent quickly and it means we’re able to offer to our landlords a value-added service that sets us aside from our competitors.

In larger and more expensive properties that take a little longer to lease, we encourage our owners to have them professionally styled.

This is what I wanted to talk about today.

When we first started asking our owners to pay for professional styling in their rental property, we thought we would be met with a lot of resistance and an old-fashioned attitude about it being overkill, unnecessary and expensive. We were pleasantly surprised.

Having stumbled across a great stylist who had just started her own business working from home (in our area), we were able to negotiate a really reasonable rate for four weeks of styling. As we styled more and more properties, we found it incredibly easy to lease these properties more quickly and achieve the full asking price. Plus, we took the opportunity after having the property professionally styled to then have professional photos taken so we could reuse them again each time the property came up for leasing.

Let me tell you about our most recent success story.

We listed a three-bedroom property about a month and a half ago. It was a unique mixture between an apartment and a house in that it occupied the lower level of the house but there were two apartments above. It didn’t have a garden or lawn area but it did have a pool (with maintenance included) and a double lock-up garage. It was spacious and renovated.

Originally listed at $1,100 per week, which we truly felt was its rental value, we were then forced to reduce it to $1,000 per week after four weeks. We were getting the numbers through but just no serious takers. People were struggling with the floorplan and how they would utilise the areas. After a further two weeks, rather than reduce the price again, we decided it was time for styling. A chat to the owner and we got the green light to get the stylist in. Less than a week later, we had an application at the full asking price and a holding fee, followed closely by the lease signing and the new tenants moving in another week after that. Success – and a very happy landlord.

Initially, we felt a bit silly asking landlords to have their high-end rental property styled, but we have seen proven results time and time again. Don’t be afraid to suggest styling to your landlords. You will be surprised how receptive they are to the idea and they will appreciate that you’re not only doing all you can to get their property leased quickly for the best possible rental amount, but that you’re using some ‘outside the square’,  pro-active thinking. 

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Sarah Latham

Sarah Latham

Sarah has over 20 years’ experience in property management on Sydney's Lower North Shore. She previously managed a large property management department for eight and half years until mid last year when she made the decision to team up with an ex-colleague of hers, Jaala Cusack, and open her own boutique property management business called Latham Cusack Property Services. Based in Cremorne, they manage properties along the Lower North Shore. Their main focus is to offer a more personalised and proactive style of property management – one dedicated to listening to and meeting their clients’ individual needs.

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