Blessed (and a bit stressed!) to have been so busy in the last couple of months staging houses. Haven’t even had time to blog which isn’t like me because I love to write my blog.

But here I am on a Sunday evening, the house is clean, no food to cook, admin all done so I thought I’d share a few houses I’ve staged since I last blogged.

First up, a low set brick in Jindalee with river views and gorgeous floors needed a light touch. Forthcoming auction

 

 

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A 3 bed apartment in a historic woolstore in Teneriffe. It was a long way from the delivery truck, up the lift and along the corridor (then up the stairs again!) with this one  but we got there in the end. This needed a more modern feel. Forthcoming auction

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A stunning renovated house overlooking the Brisbane river at New Farm. Lots of light streaming in. I went with a pretty luxe look. This sold under the hammer at auction (but sadly not to me!)

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A huge 5 bed new build in Fig Tree Pocket. This house had great finishes. Less was more to showcase this house’s features. Just listed

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I loved staging this Queenslander in Auchenflower. It had been on the market for a long time with no sale. I took a lot out and styled what was left. This bedroom is a good example. Result? Sold!

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Got my angles wrong on this before and after but I wanted to show it. I do a lot of houses where I keep some items, store some items and bring in some items. It’s like one big jigsaw. Just listed

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I staged this house a couple of days ago. The feature wall had to go! I gave the room a purpose and laid out the furniture in a way that made more sense.

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Finally, a beautiful renovation that I measured mid renovate. My client was able to communicate her vision for the 1930’s house which was soft, pretty and glamorous. This one lists next week. Run don’t walk!

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I hope you enjoyed the before and afters. I was reminded again whilst posting this that I treat every house differently depending on the style, the most likely buyer and what the house needs. As someone said to me on Instagram the other day:

“I’m really impressed that unlike so many stylists you work with the home and owners style, rather to one generic beige/grey style of your own”

I don’t want my houses to look staged. I want them to look like happy, comfortable spaces that prospective buyers connect with and want to buy. Selling houses is what it’s all about.

 

I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you are thinking of staging your house to sell I’d love to help. Call me on 0432994056 or contact me through my website 

You may also like:

For the love of a Queenslander

Home Staging: It’s more than buying package B

Home Staging: It’s all in the layers

 

 

 

 

 

 

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View back onto my Queenslander

Just putting it out there; I love to stage a Queenslander. I would be a happy home stager indeed if I could specialise in staging this fabulous type of house.

I grew up in a modern house, as did my husband but we’ve spent our married life in period properties – firstly in London and now in Brisbane, Australia.  When we moved to Brisbane 8 years ago it was my husband’s dream to live in a Queenslander on acreage complete with ride on mower and to drive a Landcruiser. Living the dream!!

A Queenslander is an often sprawling wooden house with a pitched iron roof,  wide covered verandahs and beautiful internal features such as lead light windows and breeze ways. A great commentary on the Queenslander can be found here - you may even decide to build one!

When I stage a house my aim is to highlight its features. This is a joy to do in a Queenslander as there are so many to choose from – timber floors,  high ceilings, lovely verandahs, french doors – the list goes on. A Queenslander can also ‘take’ a variety of staging styles from traditional to colonial/tropical to more modern.

Here are some of my favourite Queenslanders that I’ve had the pleasure of staging.

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Samford House on 88 Acres. Sold in 10 days. Click for blog post

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Chelmer House. Sold before listing. Click for blog post

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House in Corinda. Sold at first open house. Click for blog post

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House in Manly. Status unknown. Click here for listing

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House on Hamilton Hill. On market for 18 months. Sold within weeks of staging. Click here for listing

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House in Woolowin. Auction this weekend! Click for listing

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House in Bunya. Just listed. Click for listing

I’m Imogen Brown a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you are thinking of selling your Queenslander  in Brisbane I would love to help you stage it to sell quickly, for the best price and with the least stress. Call me on 0432994056 or contact me through my website

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My latest 2 clients have both given me the same piece of feedback – that I spent time thinking about what each house needed and didn’t just offer an ‘off the shelf’ package.

To paraphrase one of those clients: ‘you were here for a couple of hours. You told me what to store, what to leave and what you were going to hire by room. What you did was comprehensive. The other staging company were in the house for 20 minutes and I felt sure they were just selling me Package B.  You were also a lot cheaper because you only hired what you thought I needed.’

That’s the thing with staging to sell. Every property I see is different, is aiming at a different buyer, is in a different location, has a different layout. In terms of furniture required each room requires different furniture and in a different style.  The approach is (and should be) different every time. If the house is occupied not vacant these differences will be even more apparent. Maybe the client has a bed but needs bedlinen. Maybe they have 2 bedside tables but they are better used in the kid rooms, and on it goes.

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Staging is not just plonking a package into a house. Staging should deliver a bespoke approach not a ‘one size fits all’ package.  This takes time, thought and planning and, I believe, better results.

 

If you are thinking of selling your house and would like some thought through advice then give me a call on 0432994056 or contact me through my website

You may also like:

Good home staging isn’t cheap

Home Staging – It’s all in the layers 

Home Staging, it’s not a half way house

 

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One of my future projects is to stage a vacant house. I’m staging the living and outdoor spaces plus the master bedroom but not staging the remaining bedrooms or the office. There are special circumstances surrounding the house but really I hate to only stage part of a house – the first time I’ve ever agreed to do it.

As I write this post I have a quote under consideration that is ‘competing’ with a quote from another stager who recommends not staging the bedrooms, office and rumpus of a lovely modern house in Brisbane. Obviously her quote is cheaper and the client is weighing up his decision.

Primarily the decision to only stage half a house comes down to money. These are the kind of reasons I hear from clients:

” The quote has come back for more than I wanted to pay. I need to shave some rooms to save money”

“I only have X. How many rooms can I afford?

” I just want to stage a couple of rooms to show people what’s possible”

Agents can get caught up in this money issue with their clients and tell me:

“I’ve told the owner that he doesn’t need to do all the rooms – just the ones that will be in the photos”

As a side issue I find that many agents are nervous of telling their clients how much staging will cost – maybe fears that they will lose something from their marketing budget?

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 A Staged dining/living room and an unstaged bedroom. Confusing isnt’ it?

So, what’s my view on staging only some rooms in a house.

  • “Buyers shop on logic but buy on emotion” (Staging Diva). They buy the lifestyle they will lead if they live in the house. Imagine your buyers walking through the house “oh, this living area is fabulous -more than enough room for our sofa and a place for the kids to do their homework. Look at this beautiful dining room, this table is a fantastic size for family gatherings… oh, what happened here? what’s this room for? Where’s the furniture? Is it a bedroom or office? would our bed fit? did they vendors run out of money? did someone move out? are they desperate to sell? what’s the story?  The focus moves from lifestyle to ‘what’s happened here?’
  • My aim when staging is for prospective buyers to think that the house is owned by people with great taste who have prepared the house well. My aim is never for buyers to think the house has been staged. A house where only some rooms are staged has obviously BEEN staged.
  • 9 out of 10 buyers can’t imagine the purpose or layout of a room unless it’s shown to them. Buyers will be confused by every empty room they see even if the agent is standing next to them saying “this is the bedroom”
  • Half staging a house is a mismatch, a confusing contrast, a feeling that something isn’t ‘quite right’
  • Staging a property is a means to an end – selling a house fast, for the best price and with the least stress. My view is that this will be more successful if the whole house is furnished

If you are planning to stage when you sell and are considering doing half the job, I hope the above has given you another point of view.  I’m not negating that money may be an issue but I urge you to think of return on investment not just initial cost outlay. Your buyers and their offers will thank your for it.

I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you want to (fully!) stage your vacant property then I’d love to help. Contact me through my website or on 0432994056

You may also like:

Latest RESA proof that home staging works

Home Staging – it’s all in the layers

Good home staging isn’t cheap (and cheap home staging isn’t good)

 

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I measured up at a partly furnished house this morning for hire furniture.  It struck me after the consult that I’m getting quicker and more decisive about  what goes where. Finally!

With this in mind I thought I’d share with you how I go about planning the furniture layout. Whether you are a budding stager or are wanting to prepare your own house to sell I hope you find this post useful

What you need:

A tape measure, pen, paper and camera

A vacant, partly vacant or occupied house.

What you don’t need

Any drawing skills or CAD programs

Firstly

  • Research the location of the house. What schools, shopping centres, public transport is it near? Who else lives in the street? Consider the size and layout of the  block and the house  – Is the master close to the other bedrooms? can you see the pool from the kitchen? is the garden child friendly? is there a separate living area? All this will help you imagine the most likely buyer of the property.  Click here for more on ‘most likely buyer’.
  • With the above in mind you need to give each room or section of a room a clear purpose. e.g. Dining area, study nook, rumpus. This is easy if the property is vacant as you will have no preconceptions. If the house has furniture in it try and ‘blank this out’ so that you can make the best decision based on the most likely buyer and how they will live in the house.

Secondly

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  • Room by room draw a rough sketch to show the fixed elements of a room (windows, wardrobe, door, alcove)
  • Then, think about how buyers will navigate around the room. They need enough space to walk into and around the room. I often mark a walk way onto my drawing and position the furniture so as not to obstruct the walkway.
  • Think about the features you want to highlight in the room (e.g. fireplace, doors onto verandah, bank of windows)  The furniture needs to highlight not obscure these features. For example, the room below has doors onto a fantastic view of the river. I positioned the sofa looking out at the view and the 2 chairs framing but not obscuring the view.
  • Make sure the buyer can tell the purpose of a room immediately on entering. This is particularly true of bedrooms. The bed needs to be visible from the doorway but not obstructing the door way.
  • For larger rooms consider how you will zone them into different areas with a different purpose.

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Thirdly

  • Once you are clear on the above you can start to sketch in your furniture. A Staged house typically has less furniture in it than a house that is lived in but as with everything it’s a balance. I usually sketch in for example a sofa, chair and coffee table and THEN measure to see the size required.  I don’t measure the room (unless it’s very small) I measure the space the furniture will take up in the room.  Don’t be afraid to ‘float’ your furniture in the room. There is no rule that states that furniture needs to be placed along the walls
  • Consider whether the furniture is balanced across the room in terms of positioning and height. You don’t want all the visual ‘weight’ over on one wall.
  • When I’ve sketched the furniture in I can add lamps, rugs and artwork.  For artwork I locate it above a piece of furniture to help ‘place’ the furniture e.g. sofa, bed, console table. I also consider the sight lines of prospective buyers so their eyes can ‘alight’ on the artwork as they move through the house.
  • I also make notes of accessories I may need e.g. large vase for dining table, ‘something’ for nook in corridor.

Here are a couple of notes by room:

Bedrooms: These are the easiest so I usually start with them. Work out where the bed will go then build the bedside tables, bedside lamps and artwork around this. If you have space you can add an occasional chair or a console with chair as a dressing table or a chest of drawers or toy shelves. Don’t go crazy. Less is more. I don’t put TV’s in bedrooms but that’s just me!  The bedroom below was large. I placed the bed opposite the door with bedside and lamps beside and artwork above (this is usually the view that the photographer takes). There was still room for an occasional chair and a console table with art above.

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Family Living: I do put a TV in a family room as its surprising how many people worry about where their TV will go. Best to show them!  I often use a modular (sectional) sofa in a family room especially when there isn’t much space as you get a lot of sitting area for the size. A round or rectangular coffee table and an occasional chair to balance out the ‘square’ plus a TV unit and TV is the only other furniture you may need. A rug always helps to ‘zone’ the area. You can then add a lamp, artwork etc as required

This family room had 2 sofas not a sectional but the effect is the same (NB: this is actually a sectional that has been pulled apart to fit the space better – the warehouse didn’t have quite the right size sectional on the day I was selecting!)

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Formal living: I like a sofa opposite 2 occasional chairs for a formal living room.  Not as heavy as 2 sofas opposite each other and, in the space below, helps me to position the chairs away from the doors.

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Outdoor verandah: Very important in Queensland. If I have a dining table inside I try not to put a dining table directly outside (and therefore next to the other dining table). I would put an outside lounge here instead and move the dining table to another position

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Finally

  • Take photos of each room and any specific things you want to remember within each room.  Think about where you will stand to take the after picture so that your before picture can marry up!
  • Take out the furniture you don’t want and add in the furniture that you do!
  • I write down a few words that sum up the look/feel that I want to create e.g. comfortable, fun, family.  This is easier than thinking about a colour scheme or furniture ‘look’ only to find that it’s not available at the furniture warehouse.

I hope this has given you a few pointers when planning your layout. If you have anything to add or have any questions I’d love to hear from you.

 

I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you are a budding stager and want to chat or you are selling your house and need some furniture layout advice then I’m here to to help. Contact me through my website or on 0432994056

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The Real Estate Staging Association based in the US compiles a yearly report called the Consumer’s guide to Real Estate Staging  It covers many areas but most interesting is their research into days on market for staged vs un staged homes.

To read the full report click here but I thought I’d share the top line.

The first part of the study looks at vacant and occupied homes (491 in total) that were staged BEFORE they went on the market. These homes sold on average in 23 days

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The second part of the study and the part that’s really interesting is the homes that listed, didn’t sell (63 in total) then were staged and re-listed. The average time on market unstaged was 143 days. This turned to 40 days after the homes had been staged. When compared to the data above (23 days on market)  staging THEN listing is definitely the way to go rather than the ‘lets list it and see’ approach.

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All the date above is American but I see the power of staging in Australia time and again and its why I love what I do.  Helping people sell quickly, for a good price and with less stress so that they can move onto the next chapter of their lives.

I’m Imogen Brown a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If would like me to stage your property then take a look at my website or give me a call on 0432994056

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As you know I love to style a period property – they have so many beautiful features. But the reality is I’m asked to style dated brick built homes too and the house below fitted right into this category.

The clients, a brother and sister, were selling the property on behalf of their elderly mum who had moved into a smaller place. Their agent had recommended that the house was staged and called me in to meet them. The sister was open to the process but the brother was doubtful that staging would work. I understood his point of view totally. In his eyes he didn’t want to waste his Mum’s equity on something that might not work or that wouldn’t make a difference to the sale of the property. Staging a house is a fairly new concept and, with little data available on its effectiveness, I often have to ask my clients to take a leap of faith. This is what I asked the brother to do.

My clients wanted a fast listing and wanted to work with what they had which was neutral so a good base to work with.  All I asked was for them to take the curtains down.

I’ve written before about house’s talking to me but with this house I picked up cues from my clients too. I wanted to stage the house so it was a more modern version of what it had once been but still ‘in keeping’ with the house. My pet hate is when the staging and the house don’t match. Good staging is a lot more subtle than just plonking furniture into houses to show the purpose of each room.

Here are some before and after photos of the main living area. I loved using the orange. It’s warm and a bit retro at the same time.

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The kitchen was relatively new and a good layout so it just needed some accessories to warm it up.

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The dining area was next to the kitchen. I’ve used these terracotta coloured chairs in a few ‘dated’ houses and they’ve worked really well. They add warmth yet aren’t too ‘trendy trendy’.

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The Master bed in this house was huge. I managed to get my hands on a king sized bed at the furniture warehouse (always a challenge!) then found the wide bedside tables. This sent me off on a bit of a colonial look for this room. I love the lamps and the leather occasional chair. The artwork on the right belonged to  one of my clients. We used quite a few of her pieces throughout the house and they had a big impact. I arranged for an art hanging company (called, you guessed it – The Art of hanging) to hang this artwork as the hire company aren’t insured to do this.  If you are in Brisbane and need some art hanging I can definitely recommend their services. They are super quick and accurate.

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Alongside the master there were 2 other bedrooms. This is one of them. I continued the warm and comfortable look here.

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On install day I’d arranged with the brother to come back to the property to lock up when I left. His response when he saw the house was fabulous. He was taking photos and sitting on the chairs and just being so enthusiastic. “I’m a believer” he said.

A fact backed up by the real estate agent when she wrote:

“I wanted to say thank you for all your help in staging the house so beautifully. The owners are over the moon, their excitement when they saw the dressed house for the first time was unbelievable, they both commented on how you had created a feel for what their parents liked in furnishings, even though you had never met the old couple. I know it will help to sell the home, it looks vibrant and alive rather than sad and empty. All the best, Shall call you again!”

So.. after all that, did it sell? It surely did . Here’s the agent again:

The home went under contract at the first inspection and the first inspection was before the first open house. I know that having the home dressed helped in securing this offer so soon“.

So there you have it, another home staging success story – and a home staging convert into the bargain

 

I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you are a non believer and want to chat or a believer and want your house staged then you can contact me through my website or on 0432994056

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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