Staging an empty property to sell

(25 Posts)
SunnyUpNorth Wed 26-Aug-20 22:34:45

We have just put our flat on the market to sell. It is a lovely flat on a lovely street in London. A few years ago it would have sold straight away but with the coronavirus fiasco it hadn’t sold yet as it hasn’t got outside space.

We did have it tenanted and the tenants left just before lockdown. So it’s been sitting empty for months until we could start doing viewings again etc.

We have had it all repainted and recarpeted but it’s totally empty and I’m wondering if a staging company would be a good idea to give people an idea of how to use the space. I have no idea how much they usually cost and if it would actually make much difference.

Flat has been on the market about 3 weeks and I appreciate August isn’t a great time to sell anyway.

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Lindy2 Wed 26-Aug-20 22:39:28

I would imagine that a newly painted and carpeted flat is the ideal blank canvas for many buyers.

I know Estate Agents always go on about dressing up a property and baking bread etc but I've never really seen the point of that. Surely most buyers are able to imagine what a property would look like with furniture in it. I'd see how viewings go first before paying out more money.

brainstories568 Wed 26-Aug-20 22:51:06

Having viewed plenty of properties in the last 5 or so years, it helps me immensely if you have the basics in like a double bed etc as otherwise it's difficult to imagine how much space you'll have in the rooms if the fundamental elements aren't there. I can do without plush pillows, flowers and fruit etc but in the past I've discounted flats because I can't work out where you'd put essential furniture particularly if you've got a room where there's a radiator/window/door etc all on different walls.

brainstories568 Wed 26-Aug-20 22:51:56

The above viewings were all SW London btw.

OhioOhioOhio Wed 26-Aug-20 23:03:58

I viewed a house where the measurements were stuck in masking tape to the carpet.

WhoWouldHaveThoughtThat Thu 27-Aug-20 07:32:03

That's a good idea, I heard of someone who made a 'bed' from cardboard boxes and put a duvet over it to show the proportions.
Just don't sit on it!

SunnyUpNorth Thu 27-Aug-20 07:45:47

A couple of different perspectives. Thanks!

I love houses, I can walk into somewhere and think of loads of different ways to use the space but I appreciate not everyone can do that.

I feel sad selling it empty as it was so lovely when we lived there and I think if it still had all our things in it it would sell more quickly.

It’s hard as it feels a waste to spend a few grand to stage it when you could buy furniture for that much but then if it gets a sale....

I’ll wait and see how things go in September when people are back from their staycations.

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Dinosauraddict Thu 27-Aug-20 07:56:40

Charity furniture shops - you won't need to spend much to get some key items which displays the space well. (I got an entire Stag bedroom set - bedside tables, chests of drawers, dressing table etc for £100).

sbplanet Thu 27-Aug-20 08:30:03

There have been whole series of tv programmes proving the point that buyers (and agents) cannot visualise property as its best ie appearing 'aspirational' to the buyer.
I'd contact a 'home staging' company to get an idea of prices for a couple of months renting furniture. You will save on outgoing and probably achieve a better sale price and more quickly.
Are the 'House Doctor' series not still available to download?

WombatChocolate Thu 27-Aug-20 09:12:31

If the property is looking fresh with newly painted walls and new carpets, and if the bedrooms are good sizes of their type (ie single,module etc) then you could leave it empty. Leaving something with the dimensions, plus 'fits a kimgsize bed and other bedroom furniture' would be fine. People sometimes struggle to know what size bed will comfortably fit. It's where it's marginal (ie will it fit a standard single or is it really a nursery/study) that saying it will fit the bigger item or putting the beds in (can just do beds and avoid all the other furniture if you want) that it helps.

Beds are available from lots of charity shops or their websites for a very few quid. It's the bedding that makes the room look good.

But to fully dress a house, which is about curtains, cushions, throws, colour co-ordination etc so it looks like a show home requires quite a lot of stuff and cost. I'm not sure it's really needed.

However, if it's been on the market awhile and not had interest or viewings or offers, it might be worth trying. Only do this after chatting to the agent and checking if they think other things are putting people may well be price! It would be disappointing to fork out for a company to come and dress it and to then still need to take a much lower offer as the reality is that's what it's worth and it would have sold easily undressed (as it were) if at the right price to start with.

Mrsmophead Thu 27-Aug-20 11:27:44

I "staged" my husbands house for him when he was selling. I left the furniture, had to buy a plant, a tester pot of paint to tidy up one wall and I brought any other decorative stuff from my own home. I agree it is easier to visualise how a place will look with things in it already. If you do buy things and do it well (can certainly be done on a budget) then consider selling the items separately to your new buyer. I bought the furniture from the vendor in my first home.

Rainbowshine Thu 27-Aug-20 11:37:39

You can rent furniture - I’m not sure how that compares to the cost of charity shop purchasing but then you won’t have to work out what to do with the stuff afterwards.

Rainbowshine Thu 27-Aug-20 11:40:14

Might be a place to see how the cost per month compares to the cost of buying cheap/charity items.

WombatChocolate Thu 27-Aug-20 13:47:52

I wouldn’t look to kit out a house and fully stage from charity shops, but a bed is going to be covered with nice bedding and not seen, so no need for a great’s as much about having the right size for room to show the room off and indicate it really is a double/king size capacity etc.

SunnyUpNorth Thu 27-Aug-20 17:23:59

We aren’t local to the property so I wouldn’t be able to set it up and stage it myself really.

It’s not got an awkward layout or small rooms, so it would be obvious in each bedroom how the beds would fit etc. I don’t think that would be an issue.

We had 4 valuations ranging from around £675-£750. We put it on for £700. Agent doesn’t think it’s overpriced. They said the market has been super slow in August with everyone escaping the heat of London. We have actually agreed a fixed fee with the agent so there is no benefit to him at all overpricing it and not encouraging us to drop.

I think a big factor is that it doesn’t have outside space which post lockdown is high on peoples wish list. I think we will drop to £675 next week and see how that goes. I’ve emailed a couple of firms who do staging to see what they would quote. I agree it could be money well spent if it got us a quicker sale closer to asking price.

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TazMac Thu 27-Aug-20 19:04:28

It doesn’t need an EWS1 form does it? Forewarned is forearmed. I’ve just been reading up on this.

SunnyUpNorth Fri 28-Aug-20 21:38:48

Haven’t heard of that, but no we should be ok as it’s just in a Victorian house split into three flats.

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purpletrees16 Fri 28-Aug-20 23:01:03

Having viewed a few empty properties, try and get your agent to come and air it out the morning of viewings. Closed up houses smell musty when you are the first one in them in weeks and although you can try and account for it, I think the closed up feeling niggles and gives the property the wrong vibes.

WombatChocolate Sat 29-Aug-20 11:19:48

I know the market is said to be 'hot' now, but vast numbers of properties for sale on Rightmove are being sold at 'reduced,' prices meaning they didnt sell at the original price. Things like furnishings can help, but at the end of the day, price really is the big one.

minipie Sat 29-Aug-20 14:20:18

Have you had any viewings? Any feedback from them if so, that might give you an idea of whether staging is going to help (eg if everyone is citing the lack of outside space then it won’t really help but if they say they’re not sure it’s big enough then it may help).

Would you be able to consider renting it out another year, or even a short let (but these are usually furnished), and trying again next year when the market for your particular type of place may be better?

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Sun 30-Aug-20 08:11:20

I’d just make sure there’s a good floor plan, with measurements. And maybe make sure there are copies of them in the flat for viewers, maybe enlarged from the usual tiddly size, with measurements in both Imperial and metric.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Sun 30-Aug-20 08:13:47

Oh, and make sure that info about length of lease and any service/maintenance charges are made clear on the particulars. From experience, agents are often utterly clueless about vital info like this.

lightlypoached Sun 30-Aug-20 08:35:40

John Lewis are starting a furniture rental business. You could try that nylon do some staging?

AdoreTheBeach Sun 30-Aug-20 09:04:57

Friends of ours had to relocate to Australia. They had their place redecorates with plain colours (bizarre colour choices previously). They rented furniture including beds/bedding and photos were taken by the estate agents, then the furniture et al was returned. All from a furniture rental company who cane and set it up. Packed it up afterwards too.

This helped viewers see a possible way of setting out their furniture, put space into perspective

Worked really well.

SunnyUpNorth Tue 01-Sep-20 22:51:10

Sorry all, just seen there are some more replies.

It’s a genuinely lovely, spacious flat. It’s on the best road in the area in a beautiful converted Victorian house. There is a floor plan, it’s share of freehold which is mentioned on the listing.

We have had it rented out to the same group for about 7/8 years. They moved out at the beginning of the year. We had it valued for rent and sale as we were considering both. Decided to rent it again as we were concerned about Brexit uncertainty so thought we would rent for another year or so and then take a view. By the time we had it redecorated and carpeted lockdown was looming and the tenants we had lined up pulled out as they were all self employed and worried about their incomes. Then we couldn’t do anymore viewings. We tried renting it again once viewings were allowed but the feedback was always outside space and sometimes that the third bedroom was too small and the kitchen and bathrooms weren’t modern enough. We dropped the rent to the price of 2 beds locally but then when the stamp duty flurry happened we decided to give it a go for sale.

The kitchen and bathrooms aren’t super modern but are completely fine and neutral. All the agents said not to change them to sell as buyers like to be able to spot areas to add value.

We listed it early August and we have probably had around 10 viewings and I think outside space has been the only real feedback. The agent said they are hardly getting anyone willing to view places without outside space. I know outside space has become more important during lockdown but we are near a few parks and in London there is always going to be lots of places without outside space. I’m sure eventually someone will come along who values the location and space enough to forgo the outside space but I don’t know how long that would be.

We have dropped the price today so will see how that goes. Agent said to give that a chance before trying staging. I’ll chat to them again soon. I’m wondering if we have picked the wrong agent too. They’re quite small and are independent. They have a great reputation but they possibly don’t have enough active buyers on their books to be pushing our flat.

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