As I was unpacking boxes, making beds and running upstairs and downstairs at an install the other day I wondered  how much time I actually spend fluffing cushions and placing accessories – the fun bit in other words!

Well, I’ve totted it up and this is my answer. 10% of every install is spent styling with accessories. Everything else? Well let me explain….

 

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10% : Waiting for the truck

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If the house is vacant I sit on the floor or take ‘before’ photos. If the house is partly furnished, I never quite know how much my clients have put into action before I turn up. Sometimes I have to move a few things round or sweep ‘mess’ into the corner so that the delivery guys can do their job when they arrive.

10% : Unpacking accessories

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The accessories are delivered to the kitchen in boxes. I unpack everything onto the kitchen counter

5%: Placing artwork, bedlinen and lamps into the right rooms

All the bedlinen, bedlinen inserts, artwork and lamps are delivered to a central spot so I place them in the right rooms and make sure I have enough pillow and doona inserts for the beds.

15% :  Troubleshooting

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Troubleshooting can be anything from: “Imogen, where does this go?” to dining tables and sofas not fitting up stairs, dirty or damaged stock, not enough inserts for beds, walls being built in a different place than I was told (happened only last week), wobbly lamps, waiting for a swap and lots more. The light above was broken when a sofa was carried up a tight stairwell.  I raced down to the property manager and negotiated a spare that the delivery guy fitted for me.   Problem solved.

20% : Making Beds

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For some stagers this is their favourite bit. Not for me and especially not in  35 degree heat. It doesn’t matter how good I get at making beds or how many new techniques I learn, it still takes a long time!

10% : Cleaning furniture

I select furniture from a large warehouse. It gets dusty so once all the furniture is in place I go round cleaning everything and removing all my ‘stuck’ stickers. If there are footmarks on the floor this needs a wipe. I’m usually the last point of contact before photos and first open house so I need to leave the house show ready.

20% : Hanging Artwork

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For larger projects I recommend that the artwork is professionally hung but I still hang lots of artwork too.  Measure twice bang the nail in once to paraphrase a popular saying.

10% : Styling with cushions and accessories

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At last!  As much as I’m itching to start styling during the above process it’s a good idea to wait and do it all at the end.  Whilst selecting I have a pretty good idea what will go where so the styling is moving it into position then swapping things around a bit until it looks right.

 

So there you have it – the anatomy of a home staging install. There’s a lot that goes on before the fun bit.  However, the really fun bit is how the house looks at the end of the install and the feeling when the house sells. And 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 looking at staging your house to sell then I’d love to help. Contact me through my website or on 0432994056

 

 

 

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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