When 2019 saw property prices across Australia experienced the worst decline since the GFC, homeowners scrambled to find a point of difference to ensure their homes would sell.
Enter: home styling.
Though a new concept, professional home styling uses design techniques to highlight a home’s assets, remove clutter and appeal to a range of buyers.
As growth in national property value soars to a 17-year high of 2.1 per cent, homeowners might question whether they need to style their home when they’re almost guaranteed to sell successfully.
Though it might be tempting to ditch styling entirely, it could let you down in the premium market.
Toop & Toop’s Director of Sales, Bronte Manuel, says although buyers per property have never been higher, investing in home styling can ensure an extra 10 per cent profit.
“Last weekend, for example, we saw about 1080 people across 82 open inspections, whereas this time last year we saw 1200 people across 160 to 190 open inspections,” Bronte says.
“So, if you could ever get away with not styling, would that be now? In short – yes, it would.
“But, I wouldn’t be game – you still want to get it right.”
Show your home’s functionality
Vendors may look at putting an empty premium property up for sale, under the impression their beautiful home will sell itself for the best price.
Manuel says empty larger properties make it harder to see the function of multiple rooms.
“In the premium market, you can have a lot of bedrooms, you can have a lot of living areas, and people can really struggle to understand how they’re going to live in it.
“And some homes, the bigger they are, the more they can feel cold, they can feel a bit clinical sometimes.
“Stylists can really exacerbate and demonstrate to people the functionality of the domain while putting in soft furnishings to make it more homely.”
Not styling can make you the odd one out
Manuel says most premium property sellers he’s currently encountering are styling their homes.
While choosing to not style can save you a few thousand dollars in the short term, it can make potential buyers remember the flaws in your home – making them less likely to put in a competitive offer.
“Right now, homeowners could risk their properties standing out for the wrong reasons because most homes are styled,” Manuel says.
“I would look at property styling as like a $3000 to $5000 insurance policy.
“I wouldn’t want to risk that.”
It can evoke emotion
Bronte says professional styling takes away personal stylings that may make it harder for prospective buyers to see themselves in your home.
“Professional styling lets people visualise themselves in your home,” Bronte says.
“The minute the children start bagging bedrooms, you go, ‘Wow, they’ve already moved in’.”
Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) Director and Principal of Refined Real Estate, Victor Velgush also says home styling – especially when the market is strong – can make buyers more emotionally attached to your property.
“When you do start to create emotion for your house people will pay even more for your home because you’ve made it feel like the ultimate place to live, and they’re already fearful they’ll miss out.
“Given that houses are selling really fast, and a lot of demand doesn’t change that, just because you can sell it quickly, doesn’t mean you should sell it for a lower price.”
Styling helps attract your target market
Velgush says high-end buyers are more likely to sacrifice buying a home if they think it doesn’t suit their image.
Although he says property styling isn’t necessary if you have the furnishings to attract your ideal buyer, you should consider it if you have outdated furniture.
“Quite often, people buy the lifestyle, not the house,” Velgush says.
“If a room has a nice rug, a bed and all the premium finishes buyers will think ‘That’s nice, I can imagine being there’.”
“A house is an amenity for them that gets them to having a comfortable, nice lifestyle and this is harder to achieve with an empty room or old furnishings.”
It allows buyers to spend their time wisely
Bronte says a buyer will spend 10 to 12 minutes in an open house on average.
He says an empty home can make buyers question if their furniture will suit a room, whereas a styled home indicates what furnishings will fit where.
“If I were to put a buyer in a bedroom and ask them to step out the size of a bed, they would probably step out 60 per cent bigger than what an actual bed is,” Bronte says.
“Whereas if I have a smaller bedroom, and I put a double bed in, a buyer will see that and think ‘perfect, double bed fits’, and then they’re already on to the next room.”
Having your home styled allows buyers to spend time looking at parts of the home that mean the most to them, limiting the need for multiple inspections.