Property staging is simultaneously a vanity project, an art form and a psychological experiment. The skill of arranging rooms and their furniture into an aesthetically-pleasing configuration to potential buyers, at the same time as presenting them as somewhere one could live, is a tricky one to master.
Traditionally, a seller would arrange for a professional to come to the property to take those special photographs via a high-street estate agent. With the advent of digital cameras the results could be seen very quickly, but that also placed power in the hands of the seller. Now, rather than paying someone else to do the job, and many online estate agents allowing the seller to customise their options, the seller might as well do the job themselves.
Before you start snapping away there are several considerations to take into account – here are five of the most important.
1) If possible choose a bright sunny day to allow natural light into the home. Artificial light can look ugly and flat. A burst of light from a camera flash can blast out detail in the forefront of the room. If there is no option other than flash, then consult with a photographer friend about pointing it upwards and bouncing light around the room into a more even glow.
2) Remove anything that designates the home as ‘yours’. Yes, it is still your property but you are trying to sell it in the mind of others as something that could be theirs. Certificates on the wall, personal pictures, memorabilia and other items should be hidden from view or placed elsewhere when the pictures are taken.
3) It should be common sense to clean carpets and upholstery, and remove junk and detritus and clutter. Give the kitchen and bathroom a good scrub and polish, and clean the windows across the house. Mow the lawn and remove debris from lawns and paths. Yes, these small details might not sway the deal, but a buyer might question if the seller is a negligent person - not the best first impression.
4) As well as clutter, consider removing pieces of furniture for the pictures to create more space. For example, a large chair might obscure much of the view of a front room, so moving it out of the eyeline could open the room in an attractive way. When one takes the picture of the rest of the room, move the chair again. Don’t forget that it probably won’t be there when the person buys the property anyway,
5) Furnishings age. Wallpaper that looked exquisite when you purchased it in 1984 is likely to look a little shabby three decades on, and has probably aged stylistically. Another example could be the upstairs room painted in pink with white stars, which screams ‘child’s bedroom.’ Change that to white walls and it could now be a bedroom, a study, a games room or a mini gym. The decision is yours to tear it away and start again, or sell the house warts and all - for the sake of a few hours’ work it could be worth it.