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Help with dressing a house for sale

(26 Posts)
hesterton Thu 04-Feb-16 20:38:42

Watching Location Location, location. We're not selling currently but curious because when that does happen, we would really benefit from having the support of someone with an eye for what gives a house a great vibe, a lifestyle thing. We're a bit crap though we have nice stuff. Too much of it probably but the house is tidy, just a bit old fashioned and cluttered in corners, typical London terrace in an area becoming more fashionable than it was when we bought. In other words, we don't live the lifestyle of the kind of people who might move here now.

I do think it makes a massive difference even though it shouldn't. And I mean to price as well as attracting people in to view.

Does such a service exist? A dress-your-house-for-sale service? A team who will blitz your place, paint the odd wall and box up your lingering undesirables (that 70s cheese cookbook, that muddy walking boot rack.) And waft a few throws and cushions about in whitey colours?

And if not, is there anyone on here who thinks something like that would be worth it? I'd certainly use it if it was not too pricey.

CMOTDibbler Thu 04-Feb-16 20:42:06

You don't need to pay someone, you take photos, post them here and everyone will tell you what to do! Mostly its not about selling a lifestyle, its about showing the house to its best advantage - you want to say 'this house has enough storage and is spacious' not 'look at how much crap we have and how much has been jammed in'. Spend the money on a storage unit, not people to dress the house.

hesterton Thu 04-Feb-16 20:44:24

I agree with you but I'm not convinced that one one level the style of the current owners doesn't have something of an impact even if it's subconsciously. I'd love to see a study on it...

fieldfare Thu 04-Feb-16 21:01:44

That's a fab idea, I'd be great at something like that.
I love decluttering, cleaning and tidying up friend's houses. I've done it with two friends who were holding functions at home, apparently I'm ruthless and a slave driver!
Put photos up and we can advise you on what we think needs doing.

hesterton Thu 04-Feb-16 21:06:58

I will if we decide to move! (and if I'm brave enough).

Was just thinking there must be a business of some sort for people who are naturally good at this. You can't help being drawn to a house which reflects a cooler lifestyle!

wowfudge Thu 04-Feb-16 23:22:33

Well now it's interesting you say that. I think for every person who thinks like that, there is another who is just not interested and who wants a house that fits their lifestyle. I'm inclined to think that trendy places are either too try hard or not actually homely.

There have also been a few threads on here where obviously dressed houses have been criticised!

deepdarkwood Thu 04-Feb-16 23:28:31

There are certainly people who do this (this is the first company on Google... www.housewow.co.uk

However, posting photos on mn will be cheaper.

I agree with you that some staging/lifestyle selling is worthwhile. Whilst everyone likes to think they can make an objective decision I think most people are more easily swayed than we like to think ...

hesterton Fri 05-Feb-16 06:01:48

I agree with that deepdarkwood

And thought there must be something already in existence out there.

lalalonglegs Fri 05-Feb-16 08:13:25

It's called house staging - my friend does it (here is her website). I haven't used her but I think it does make a difference - I do up properties for a living and always furnish them nicely before I sell. Viewers imagine themselves living a life of immaculate Conran sofas, feature lighting and crisp bed linen. When I move all the nice stuff out, the places look a lot less appealing.

Draylon Fri 05-Feb-16 12:08:08

We pimped my deceased mother's house for sale (whilst DB and 3 cats were living in it!). It's a 1940's 3 br in a Wiltshire village where many houses are bought as renovators.

It was tired and cluttered, ornaments on every surface, pictures (not photos) on every wall, wallpaper strips around the top of every painted wall, many wallpapered walls, old lady lampshades and curtains, kitchen cupboards bursting with last-used circa 1990 utensils, yellowed paintwork and slightly grubby power points and light switches; and it was dark, all deep terracottas and beiges, and all a bit fussy; and she was a smoker....

Well, DB and I dedicated 6 months of spare time to doing it up. We sold excess furniture, stored piles of stuff (I'm talking maybe a 1/3 of the furniture!- DB moved some of his more modern furniture in instead), stripped all the wallpaper off and repainted the entire house, gloss and all, leaving it magnolia with feature coloured cushions and rugs; and we (polystyrene) coved the walls, which made a world of difference.

The valuing EA reckoned we added at least £35,000 to the value!

I did have the odd 'altercation' with my DB as he thought the place needed to look more 'lived in' and was very keen to park a large bookcase in the small dining area to indicate that 'intellectual people live here'... grin. I vetoed that, saying I think we need to be selling thin air but with a suggestion of it being a stylish, neutral home. And one thing I didn't allow was more than one or two ornaments per room, only a couple of 'statement' pictures on the walls, lots of big mirrors (£30, The Range) and nothing piled up anywhere, however 'tidy'! ('This house lacks storage').

My feeling is that if you pay attention to detail, a potential buyer walks into a room and appraises it instantly with a single sweeping gaze with nothing to distract or rudely focus that sweep. You don't want their eyes darting around from distracting object to distracting object. You want clean lines. You form a 'Yes' impression in their mind that strongly stays with them even if on the second inspection, if there is one, they actually notice the faults- but they still want it enough to talk themselves away from worrying about them.

As an aside, we thought we'd sell to someone who'd completely remodel the place and turn it into a 5 bedroom exec; but it was bought by a family with 3 small DC who liked it as it is (the neighbours tell us!)

I genuinely think that a lot of buyers have the imagination of tarmac. They need it spelled out to them. I don't think you'd need to go to the lengths we did, but I think it's a mistake to go down the 'take me as I am' route when selling a house, but I also don't think you need to employ anyone. Spend the cash on a storage unit!

Final thought: Spend some time on RM, find interiors you like and appraise what you like about them, then copy!

JeffreySadsacIsUnwell Fri 05-Feb-16 12:24:00

I don't think it's quite as superficial as just pimping a house for sale, however.

The point is that a property that looks as though a little effort has gone into its appearance also suggests that just maybe a little effort has gone into maintenance... No guarantees, but someone who can be arsed to hang the curtains properly, instead of leaving them draped from broken/missing curtain rings, for example, is potentially the same kind of person who can be arsed to service the boiler. Likewise you pretty much know that if the owner can't be bothered to change the dead light bulb and replace the broken door handle, the chances that any faulty electrics or drains that can't be seen will have been dealt with properly are pretty low.

I don't think you're trying to sell a lifestyle, whatever the TV programmes would have you think, but selling the promise of a decent, cared-for property that won't be too much of a money-pit. It's simply about creating a good first impression. Staged can go too far the wrong way though - you don't want to give potential buyers the idea that you're greedy superficial bastards who set out to deceive/manipulate! As a pp said, I wouldn't spend money on a staging company, I'd rather spend it on a general handyman and a professional carpet cleaning company!

mouldycheesefan Fri 05-Feb-16 12:26:25

Put excess clutter and furniture into storage
Repaint scuffed decor
Thorough clean and tidy

OurBlanche Fri 05-Feb-16 12:40:35

Oh! I love doing this. It's how I turn a spring clean into a declutter.

You need: a bin bag; a keep it box, a recycle box and a give it away/sell it box. A trip to a charity shop for a handful of old bedding, sheets, quilt covers, pillow cases. Sugar soap possibly, handful of your favourite cleaning items in a bucket - not for water, just for clarting stuff round in

You pick one room at a time.

1. Start in one corner and put absolutely everything into the right bag or box.
2. Clean every inch of the now almost empty room; pull furniture into the middle of the room, clean it.
3. Cover everything you don't want ruined with the bedding
4. Clean from the ceiling down: dust, wash, dry, all hard surfaces
5. I also take pictures/make a list of things that need fixing/decorating... and, if I have the time correct these before putting the room back together.
6. Hoover and wash the carpet around the walls, leave to dry.
7. Replace furniture/move it all to the walls and wash the carpet in the middle.
8. Go to the keep it box and put everything back. If you don't have space for it, or it belongs somewhere else, leave it in the keep it box

Repeat for every room in the house.

Now go back to the boxes:
Recycle is easy, just take it and get rid of it.
Give it away: Freegle, friends or charity - maybe even sell it!
Now the keep it box... if you can't find a home for it, which of the other 2, now empty boxes should it go in? Don't leave anything in this box. Don't shove any of its contents into a cupboard or drawer either smile

I think I manage to clear the whole house every 2 years. Which is great as I found clearing a decades worth of junk really hard to do. It is much easier once you have been ruthless and realise where your boundaries really are.

If you do a room a week then you can very quickly have your house ready to put on the market/

Believeitornot Fri 05-Feb-16 13:56:12

Take photos of your room. I did and it helped me to objectively decide what to do before we put our home on the market.

Clear all clutter. Put stuff in storage.

Give everything a lick of paint to freshen up.

Tidy up the front and back gardens - just enough so they look manageable.

hesterton Fri 05-Feb-16 18:07:42

Lots of ideas - I feel a fraud though because as I said, we aren't moving yet! It's more a hypothetical thing...

I'll give you an example of the kind of thing I'm not good at doing. We have a typical London terrace living room, two rooms knocked together to make a train carriage type of room. There's an open fire in an original fireplace which we use regularly and we have had bookcases build between that and the fireplace in the back half oF the room. It kind of ties the two sections of the room together a bit which it needed.

But this bookcase is full of books. I'll try and photo it. I don't know if it's ok or if it would be better to empty it out/ rearrange it or what. I just don't have an eye for these things. I sort of get the theory but I'm no good at making things look asthetically pleasing.

Some people have it - I don't!

hesterton Fri 05-Feb-16 18:08:30

When I say full, I mean crammed full.

hesterton Fri 05-Feb-16 18:15:55

Hmm tried to take a picture but the books reveal too much about dh's distinct profession! A bit identifying. Just imagine 7 shelves in three sections each crammed with books vertical and horizontal. Floor to ceiling. Packed in however they can be. Untidy looking really. I know they could be made to look nicer but I can't do it!

mouldycheesefan Fri 05-Feb-16 18:18:53

Purge at least half the books or put them in storage. I got rid of every book in our house twelve months ago except kids book and one shelf. Give yourselves room to breathe.

SSargassoSea Fri 05-Feb-16 18:24:24

I've bought (with DH) some ghastly houses décorwise but I could see what needed done and/or liked the big garden.

I wouldn't be influenced hugely by neutral walls or no clutter.

hesterton Fri 05-Feb-16 18:25:48

IF it were me alone I'd try to purge. I am a total kindle convert so at least they aren't being added to much. But there are loads of books which are important to dh. I could get rid of most of mine though.

I'll give it some thought. Thanks all.

mouldycheesefan Fri 05-Feb-16 18:29:53

It's only whilst you market the house though, box up the books put them in loft or storage. When you move get them out again.

Draylon Fri 05-Feb-16 18:40:26

Purge the bookcase.

If it's, say, 7 shelves, the top one should be 1/4 full, to one side, with a book acting like a bookend, at an angle, holding the rest upright.

Towards the other end you need a tasteful, interesting ornament- which you'll have if you're a 'book' family!

Second shelf, sort of ditto but with more or less books (OK, fewer! grin), different ornament, different size, maybe with the books at the other end?

Third shelf, maybe a few big books on their sides, positioned off-centre? Small geegaw to one side?

And repeat. Making sure 'Joy of Sex' isn't in pole position! grin

Box the rest.

You're selling space, space, space!

hesterton Fri 05-Feb-16 18:42:02

See, that is useful advice! I can Do that!!

hesterton Fri 05-Feb-16 18:42:28

<buries joy of sex under the sofa>

Draylon Fri 05-Feb-16 18:47:23

It was always the beard that aroused me....

grin

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