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Home-staging tips to make your listings shine 

By Larissa Gardner
22 December 2015 | 11 minute read
Larissa Gardner

Ensure your client's house shines for its open for inspection by recommending these simple low-cost staging techniques.

Make sure they understand that when it comes to leasing their home and getting the best price, it is important to market it to potential tenants in the most attractive way possible.

Clever staging can be the difference between a quick lease and a house that sits on the market for months, which is not good for you or your client. 

Here are seven easy tricks to pass on so landlords can skilfully stage their home without breaking the bank, and most importantly tempt tenants to apply.

What staging techniques should my client focus on when getting a house ready for inspection?

  1. De-personalise

One of the most important things a tenant needs to do when inspecting the property is to imagine themselves and their belongings living there. To help make this happen, recommend that landlords (or outgoing tenants) pack any quirky, valuable and personal items away and ideally store them away from the home.

All photos and portraits should be removed from view. Generally, wedding photos and family mementos draw a tenant's attention to the owner's family and can stop them from seeing the house as their own family's future home.   

Removing personal photos, collections and keepsakes also means there is nothing to distract or detract from the overall home itself. The seller needs to make sure the house is the centre of attention when staging their home. 

  1. Deep clean

Remind landlords subtly that noticeable grime, dust, pet odours and dirt are very off-putting and gives potential tenants the impression that the home is uncared for and hasn't been well maintained.

Make sure you pay close attention to cleaning light fittings and windows (inside and out) to make sure the place is light and bright come inspection time. From shining floors to gleaming appliances and spotless bench tops, every surface should be sparkling clean and pristine.

If your clients (or outgoing tenants) have pets, have the rugs, curtains and carpets steam-cleaned and remove litter trays, as there is no bigger turn off to potential tenants than the smell of wet dog as you enter a house.

If they cannot handle a deep cleanse themselves or their house is especially large, I suggest you hire a professional cleaning service to give the place a thorough once-over before inspection day.

  1. Let there be light

Tenants want 'light and bright', not 'dark and dreary', so make sure the house is lit up like a Christmas tree for inspections and listing photography.

When staging the home for photography, choose a sunny day and make the house appear as bright as possible. Open all the curtains and blinds and turn on every light in the home, even switch on lights on the range hood and oven to show off the appliances and kitchen.

A fresh coat of paint can also work wonders to lighten and brighten up spaces and makes a property feel clean, new and well maintained. 

  1. Declutter and organise

Too much clutter makes homes feel messy, small and cramped. Clear out extraneous items, like piles of mail and magazines, shampoo and medicine bottles in bathroom cabinets, and remove toys, shoes and clothes from overflowing cupboards.

This can be tricky for some, but is worth the trouble to demonstrate to potential tenants just how much space there is for all their things.

If a previous tenant is moving out soon, it can be a good idea to have them pack up and put into storage off-season clothing, books, extra linen and DVDs to really show off the home's storage space.

  1. Scent appeal

Prior to an open for inspection, wipe down bench tops and surfaces with your favourite subtle all-natural cleaning product to give tenants that just-cleaned, fresh smell as they enter the home.

However, make sure you don’t overdo it. Being overwhelmed with powerful and competing smells when inspecting a home can be off-putting for tenants. So try to keep the potpourri, aftershave, fresh coffee and air freshener use to a minimum.

  1. Simplicity is key

When arranging furniture, remember 'less is more'. The aim here is to lead tenants' eyes to the room's best assets. For example, make sure you don’t block off large windows with bulky furniture or crowd and take focus from a feature fireplace with a TV and armchairs.

A few simple décor touches of bright colour, like a turquoise throw rug or quirky vase help to add personality to spaces and photograph well for listings.

  1. Create a sense of luxury and comfort

A landlord doesn't have to spend a fortune to make their home welcoming and to achieve a sense of luxury. By simply buying fresh fluffy white towels or bathrobes to hang in bathrooms, displaying freshly cut flowers in a crystal vase and pretty throw pillows for beds can make a home look luxurious and feel inviting.

Unlit decorative candles or bottles of luxury hand soaps are great styling tools to recommend for clients to add a sense of comfort to their home and lightly fragrance the air as tenants move through the house. 

In preparation for an open for inspection focus on depersonalising, cleaning, lighting, decluttering, subtle fragrances and making the house feel comforting and homely. All this will help to make the property more attractive, allow potential tenants to envision themselves living there and, at the end of the day, hopefully find a good tenant for the home.

Are there any other staging techniques you use that prospective tenants love? Please share them with us and our readers below.

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