“My house has been on the market on and off for 5 years. I’m ringing you as a last resort , can you help?” is enough to strike terror into most home stager’s hearts. Terror aside, I like a challenge and a call for help and I couldn’t wait to see this house that wouldn’t sell.
I’m unclear of the 5 year time line of the unsuccessful sale but it involved a number of agents, a number of price reductions and at least one period of rental. Another price reduction had been mentioned to the client and that’s what prompted her to find another way and that’s how she found me.
I’m so glad she did.
I’ve talked before about gut feeling when staging a house. When I walk through a house for the first time, I use my gut reaction because it will be similar to the reactions of potential buyers and that’s good information for my clients to know. As my lovely clients walked me through their house I felt a heaviness in my chest and a lot of noise in my head. My heart was sinking and my brain was trying to compute everything that needed doing, how it was going to be done and how much it would cost. I remember standing in the middle of the high maintenance garden saying to my clients “there’s just so much to do, it’s scaring buyers away. You need to do the work for them and show them how lovely this house is”. It was a lovely house too – an antidote to all the modern boxes being ‘thrown up’ in Brisbane’s burgeoning estates. I felt sure that someone would love this house and want to buy it.
What we focused on:
Painting: The owner, an artist, had painted every room a different colour. It was a fabulous extension of her and therefore very personal. The whole interior (with the exception of a couple of areas) was therefore re-painted a neutral colour. This was done by the clients themselves. A huge undertaking.
Timber and kitchen: The house was chalet style and with this came a lot of timber. The result was quite dark and dated. The timber panels were painted out and the timber kitchen was sprayed white and given a new counter top and flooring.
Furniture: When I first saw the house it was being rented out so actually different again to the ‘before’ photos below and the furniture was a hotch potch of rental furniture along with some of the owner’s furniture. I wanted to do the house justice and make it more appealing by bringing in some hire furniture.
Here are the before and after pictures:
When staging a house it’s important that the furniture is placed in a way that sells the features of the house – in this case the fireplace and the view out of the window.
When a house is painted a lot of different colours buyers know that they won’t be able to move straight in. This is a barrier to purchase and the aim of selling a house is to knock down those barriers. Off white with a simple table and chairs and the same mirror feels a lot calmer.
Again this lilac colour isn’t to everyone’s taste and the curtains are overpowering and dated. The bed is the right size and scale but just needed some lovely comfortable bed linen.
The dated timber in the kitchen was a big focus. Buyers assume they would need to rip this kitchen out to change it. Not when you spray the cabinets in white, fit a new counter top and replace the floor. Looks like new, and certainly more modern but still in keeping with the house.
No before picture of the family bathroom but the pine cupboards were sprayed white and the vanity top was new. I kept the blue. It looks fresh and pretty.
The Guest bedroom: This bed belonged to my clients, as did the artwork. I just hired the bedlinen, side table and accessories. A lovely room looking out onto the garden.
So… after all the owner’s hard work and a change of agent, did their house sell? It sure did!
About 6 weeks after it listed I got this text message from my client: “Hi Imogen…unconditional as from today… Yarhoo!! Can’t believe it yet!…thank you once again so very very much for all the time that you invested in our home for the sale…can’t tell you how much it helped us..love Bx”
I’m Imogen Brown a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you have a house that won’t sell and you don’t know what to do then maybe I can help. Call me for a chat on 0432994056 or contact me through my Home Staging Brisbane website
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