Putting careful thought into the way a property is styled for inspections is key to making a house feel like a home. Here, director and principal stylist at Vault Interiors, Justine Stedman, talks to REB about how the styling of a property can make all the difference when it comes to evoking emotion in buyers.
Property styling, Ms Stedman says, highlights something that seems fairly obvious but is important to remember:
“Furnishing a property will make it more memorable that a vacant space,” she says.
Chances are that the potential buyers who show up to your open home have been hitting the pavement all day, looking at countless properties that may all just blur into one by the time they’re done with inspections.
But a thoughtfully styled property will stand out, grab their attention and linger in their minds for hours afterwards.
Styling can create an ‘aspirational’ living scenario
Ms Stedman says styling a property effectively is not just about the placement of furniture.
“It’s about creating an emotional response from the buyer by dressing the property in a warm, welcoming and functional way,” she says.
Potential buyers can connect emotionally with a property when it is styled to include aspects of the lifestyle they hope to achieve. She offers the example of family homes:
“It is especially important to dress different areas to appeal to the different age groups within the family unit,” she says.
“Kids love it when they can identify a bedroom or lounge room as their future space; it helps the property stick in buyers’ minds if all family members are catered for.”
“Also, it is best to create defined zones such as a parents' retreat, study nook or an alfresco entertaining area, as this will help buyers visualise how they could actually live in a property,” she says.
Different design elements can, however, appeal to different demographics, she adds.
Empty nesters may prefer a home presented in a neutral palette, whereas young executive buyers may be attracted to a “designer edge with bolder accent colours”.
Buyers can better visualise how to furnish the space
When inspecting an empty property, buyers often have to think about where they’re going to put all their furniture when they move. Styling a property effectively can help to facilitate this process.
“Most buyers cannot visualise how a place can look or feel when it is presented empty,” Ms Stedman says.
“Physically, placing the biggest possible bed in the bedroom is a great way to convince buyers that you can fit that double or queen bed,” she says.
This could be the deciding factor for many buyers – their choice of property could hinge on their consideration of how their furniture will fit into the space.
“If it’s left to the buyer’s imagination to scale up the space, many won’t be able to and may walk away assuming the property is too small for their specific needs,” she says.
Ms Stedman also points out that buyers can best visualise how the space can be furnished if the entire property is styled rather than just a few key rooms.
She is often asked to furnish only the lounge and dining room and master bedroom but emphasises that it is worth extending the budget slightly to furnish the secondary spaces as well.
“It could be the small back bedroom or the small courtyard that is the difference in a buyer’s interest or dismissal of a property,” Ms Stedman says.
“If the buyers don’t have the spatial awareness to size up the spaces properly or imagine how it can look when they furnish it, it can work against the property – especially if half the property is presented beautifully.”
“Styling should showcase the best features of a property,” Ms Stedman adds. “If you turn a dead space into a study nook, or create a secondary living space, that’s all added value in the potential buyers’ eyes.”
Things to remember:
Ms Stedman highlights a few things that agents should keep in mind when it comes to property styling:
- In peak selling seasons like spring, it is best to allow a few weeks from the quotation to furniture installation to avoid disappointment
- If a property is going to be painted or carpeted, it’s worth asking for colour advice from the stylist to ensure a cohesive end result
- Get a quote even if you think it’s unlikely that a vendor will proceed. Once vendors understand that a styling package can increase their sale price by up to 25 per cent, they often proceed and are thrilled with the sales result
According to Ms Stedman, a well-styled property can:
- Attract more buyers to your open homes
- Create an emotional connection with buyers viewing your property
- Showcase your property’s true potential
- Set your property apart from competing properties
- Strengthen your sales campaign
An effectively styled property can also help you achieve for your vendors:
- A higher sale price
- A faster sale or shorter sale campaign
- More bidders at an auction
- More interested parties