This is something I have wanted to write about for a while – especially ever since I discovered sites like Stadshem, Fantastic Frank, Entrance Makleri and so on (all of the homes you see on these sites are staged).
Home staging – for those who do not know, is any kind of improvement you make to your home so that it can sell faster and possibly increase the value as well. (Obviously home staging only applies to people whose homes are for sale, so if that is you, you might find this post very useful, I hope.)
To find out more, I contacted Lucy le Roux who is the founder of Illuminate Home Staging, a company in Johannesburg that specialises in – you guessed it – home staging. She was kind enough to share some of her work (see below) and I also asked her about home staging in general, since it doesn’t seem to be a very common thing in South Africa.
Before and after home staging.
How Home Staging Works
As I mentioned before, home staging is any kind of improvement you make to your home so that it can be more appealing to a potential buyer. The idea is that when a property is on show and empty (in other words, unstaged) as in the first photo, most potential buyers cannot picture themselves living there, which makes the property a bit more difficult to sell. It makes sense.
But how do you go about staging your home and how much staging is enough for it to sell? Well, according to Lucy, it all depends on the initial condition that your home is in. Some homes require a little bit of maintenance here and there and others need something closer to a mini makeover. That will usually be determined by a consultation with a home staging expert, after which they will give you a report that covers what needs to be done, how much it will cost, etc.
“For sellers of un-furnished homes we bring a removal truck filled with an entire house of furniture, art and accessories that we own,” says Lucy. “All they need to do is sit back and we transform the empty space into a lovable home.”
Who Can Afford It?
You are probably thinking that home staging sounds like an expensive exercise and while it can be, it doesn’t have to be. I asked Lucy if home staging requires a large budget and she believes that a little can go a long way.
“We helped one client, for example, to turn an unsellable house with a pink/tan coloured kitchen into a dream property by spending just R5000 on paint and new handles. Not only did our client sell in less than 4 weeks (after battling to sell for 3 months) but they also received an offer for R200 000 more than their last offer.”
But even if you spend a bit more than that on your home before selling, Lucy reckons that more often than not, it is worth the investment.
Small changes can make a big difference, as you can see above.
Just How Effective Is Home Staging?
To give you an idea, Lucy told me that the norm in South Africa is for sellers to receive roughly 8-10% less than their asking price (for unstaged homes, that is). Apparently staged homes, according to some studies, sell about 50% faster than their unstaged counterparts and for 8-10% more.
“We’ve seen a number of clients receive multiple offers and full asking price after they stage their properties.” However, as she also mentions, your home should still be reasonably priced. “The only homes we have not been able to sell in the past are those that were over priced by R1 000 000. These properties have still not sold after more than a year.”
Is Home Staging for Everyone?
You may be thinking that home staging is not for you, and it seems that a lot of South African sellers are not really interested in it (some are even critical of the whole idea). Lucy thinks that many people are missing out on an opportunity by not staging their homes and I have to say that I agree with her.
“The fact that many homes, one of the most expensive items most people will ever buy, are sold with little or no thought on presentation and marketability is a lost opportunity. Unless you have a natural flair for interior design or have hired an interior designer, chances are your property sale would be optimised by home staging.”
“I’m selling my home – now what?”
Lucy’s number one piece of advice to anyone who is selling their home is to be honest with yourself and look at your property from an objective point of view.
“Sellers are usually too close to their own properties to be able to look at them critically and estate agents compete for properties making it hard for them to always be honest with sellers for fear they might not get the sale,” she says.
“While I could list endless advice about decluttering and adding stylish pieces, chances are most sellers can’t see the clutter anymore or realise their style may be outdated, so getting a professional in to assist is likely to have the best impact.”
If you would like to know more about home staging or perhaps you are selling in the Johannesburg area and are interested in staging your home, you can visit Illuminate Home Staging’s website or Facebook page. You can also follow Lucy le Roux on Instagram to see more of her work.
If you love this post, let us know in the comments or on Facebook – we’d actually love to hear your thoughts and opinions on home staging!
All images courtesy of Lucy le Roux / Illuminate Home Staging.