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So, what does actually go into staging a property for sale?

I’m told all the time how much fun my job must be and how easy it would be to complete projects each and every time we go style a vacant property for sale.

Truth is, yes, it is a great deal of fun and we pretty much always have a great time doing what we do however the notion that home staging is an easy career choice is somewhat untrue.

The amount of time that has to be invested prior to the installation and after the installation is what most people don’t see and this is the hard bit.

Managing a range of furniture and accessories is a big project and takes a considerable amount of time to ensure it stays in good condition and looks near new every time it goes out to a project.

Our furniture inventory is pallet ranked in a warehouse and our accessories shelved for easy access and for ease of selection for each project. Where possible the latter is colour coded in order to make our job that little bit more manageable in selecting items for each new project.

When we get asked why it takes time to prepare for an installation of furniture, we have to answer that in order to get a coordinated look in the property, we have to select the right stock that will aesthetically look pleasing, but we also have to select furniture that will fit the space available in the property.

The other issue we have to work with is furniture and accessories that are currently in stock. It can be difficult sometimes when a property comes up that we think we have the perfect items for, only to check the register to find it is currently in another property. Our process is that we work from stock available and if a project returns where items can be used, it goes out again.

If we don’t have something right, quite often we will have to invest in more stock. But if we do this, we need to be sure it will work not only in the property we are about to style, but also in other properties down the track.

Before a job goes out we visit the property, size up the space, colouring and any textures/features to work with internally in the property and any external factors to work our designs in with. We don’t charge our clients for this time, it is part of the preparation process.

We then return to our warehouse and begin the stock allocation process. Decorative accessories, artwork and linen are usually selected first and then furniture stock is matched to these items. The items are wrapped for protection and boxed up ready for transport.

Furniture is then selected and removed from the racks in preparation for the removalist team to arrive. Stock is given a light all over clean before being placed in the truck so when we arrive at the property it is cleaned again and put into place.

Repairs to furniture (should they get knocked or chipped) usually occurs when the stock returns from the last project. It is amazing how many edges get taken off stock while it is sitting in a vacant property. Worse still on the damage list is UV damage. We style a lot of new vacant property that do not have window dressings and affect our stock terribly. Sometimes we may only get one use from a new quilt set due to the yellowing effect of UV. Other stock may peel, discolour or get broken from open doors in properties on windy days.

We use removable hooks in all our installations wherever possible to reduce damaging walls, but even these are not immune from causing issues from time to time. They do no adhere well to newly painted walls, nor do they react well to paintings acting like spinnakers when doors are open during open homes. Not do they like having the painting straightend and dragged across their hook by the unfamiliar. These hooks take about an hour to cure before we can actually hang the artwork.

When we arrive at the property the team of between two and four people need to allocate stock to each room we are working in and then (hopefully) have a spare room to place excess items and iron linen. Even this simply task is a time consuming process considering we have to iron king or queen quilts, pillow cases and towels to get them just right. We believe in attention to detail.

While this is happening, beds are being built, accessories unwrapped and boxes are being piled high in vacant spaces available to us ready for loading in the trailer to head back to the warehouse.

Once furniture is built, we allocate the item to its place, align it and space it out to suit the room dimensions and then go about accessorising each room one at a time in order to achieve the wow factor.

Once all this is completed, artwork is hung, the trailer is loaded and photos are taken before returning to the warehouse to put excess stock back into inventory. This process takes a few more hours with two people working on the job.

People always go through our installations once they are completed and comment that it was lucky that the painting matches the view out the window, or the colouring of accessories match the countertop in the kitchen or bathroom. In our line of work there is no luck, it is the end result of preparing a property properly rather than just renting furniture. Our properties are ALWAYS styled for sale.

Shift by Design are more that a furniture hire company though (anyone can put furniture in a house), we specialise in theming and fully styling a property to match its environment and the season, helping to further engage the home buyer. Define the look in your display or vacant home to compliment your property to give buyers a sense of dimension within rooms helping the buyer emotionally engage with the property.

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