Tag Archives: #homestaging

How to maximise your selling potential during winter

Many people believe it’s harder to sell your home in winter than summer. But there are a number of real advantages to selling during the colder months.

For one thing, removed from the sometimes frenzied action of the spring market, sellers can take a little more time to consider offers, and with fewer homes on the market, there’s less competition. And don’t worry; the things that lead people to make new home purchases i.e. a new job, a growing family, up or downsizing ; happen all year round, and there are still plenty of buyers out there. In fact, winter is a great time for accentuating your home’s cosy, family-friendly charm.

Here are a few tips you can follow to make your home more appealing to buyers:

Clear all exterior pathways of snow and ice

Nothing will turn away potential buyers faster than a treacherously icy path. Open-house guests should be able to easily walk all the way around the house and access outbuildings. Provide as much off-street (snow-cleared) parking as you can to make things easy for visitors.

Preparation is key

Be sure to prepare for those wet and snowy shoes and boots. No one likes having snow and dirt tracked around their home by shoes or wet socks, just as no one enjoys having wet socks and dodging puddles in the doorway.  Be sure to implement a strict “shoes off” policy.

Place an absorbent mat protecting the flooring. Be sure to have a shoe rack or appropriate storage area for shoes, not only to avoid the puddles but to show off the organization of your home.  Apply this also to winter jackets, hats and scarves. Show functioning and organization by thoughtfully arranged set ups, don’t just have outerwear exploding out of closets or haphazardly hanging on hooks or coat rack.

Fix anything that is noticeable

Winter time is when a lot of the problems in a house can become more noticeable. Cracks or gaps in the walls next to doors and windows can allow the wind to whistle in, for example. Fixing any visible problems is an important part of staging at any time of year but it is something we need to take extra care over in the coldest months of the year.

Consider your home’s temperature

Homeowners often turn the heat down in the winter months to save money, but home sellers should turn up the heat to make it more comfortable for buyers. It doesn’t have to be tropical in the home, as buyers will probably have their coats on during the viewing, but you want your home to be warm and inviting. If it’s too cold buyers won’t want to stay and look at all your home has to offer.

Turn on all the lights.

It gets dark very early in the winter, so lights are extremely important. Whenever possible, show your home during daylight hours. Open all the windows so the buyer can see where the natural light comes in. Turn on all the lights, so the buyer feels welcome to look anywhere and doesn’t feel like you’re hiding anything. If you have to show the house at night, make sure all of the outside lights are on and open the windows so people can see the inside lit up as well. Consider bringing in some extra lamps so your house is bright and welcoming.

Give each room a warm touch

A folded throw draped over the back of an armchair, a plump quilt at the foot of the bed or an area rug in warm hues are a few small additions that will make a big difference to the way a room feels to prospective buyers.

Keep decorations simple

Preparing your home for sale includes depersonalizing the home, so keep the Xmas decorations simple. Don’t overdo lighting or ornaments. You want the home to be festive, but not distracting. And after the festive season is over, make sure you’ve taken the decorations down.

Pet-friendly and groomed

If you do own pets, be sure to have the appearance of clean pets…especially dogs. We love our furry friends, but it’s best not to leave those dirty, wet towels and doggy outfits laying around. The last thing you want is the smell of wet dog greeting your buyers at the front door; this can be a real turn off!

Selling a home requires knowledge of the local market, experience in negotiations and the know-how that only an estate agent can bring. As always, correct pricing coupled with great marketing are keys to a successful transaction and our experienced team will be pleased to advise you on maximising the result and helping you to achieve a great sale price at this time of the year.


Why this autumn is predicted to be one of the busiest yet!

September always feels like a new beginning in itself. Thousands of children return to school and even though we have worked during the summer months, there is a sense of returning to normality. It is also the time that many people re-start their quest for a new home, there are already signs this is going to be a busy autumn.

One of the signs that autumn is going to be a busy period is the recent news that a few major lenders released fixed rate mortgages deals that are back below 3 per cent. This is amazing news for buyers, with some being put off by the imminent increase in interest rates together with the new ‘stress test’. The worry of not only getting a mortgage but also being able to meet their repayments has seen some light.

Mr Hollingworth of broker London and Country in the Telegraph on 5 September stated that those ‘considering a five year fixed mortgage should not hold out for a better deal.’ In affect now is the best time to buy. He continues, “The recent falling five year fixed rates that we’ve seen shows just how rapidly prices can change. Rates might get slightly better but the market leaders are looking very competitive.”

We always see an upturn in properties coming on to the market this time of year.   This year is no exception; the first week in September we have seen a particular increase in the number of buyers looking for their next home and wanting to be in before Christmas.

But we must urge all those looking to sell that is not a done deal. Staging your home for sale will not only increase your chance of selling quickly but also can have an impact on the price offered, with many well-staged homes receiving above their asking price. Home staging is so important as it creates the lifestyle of your home, and is the first impression they may see of your home on property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.

Always go with the principle that they can’t see through your cluttered rooms or unique décor. The actual fact is that the majority of potential buyers want to be able to walk into a home without having to do any work to it. Yes they may down the line wish to decorate, but they want to move into somewhere where they can feel at home straight away.

With an increase in buyers and below 3 per cent fixed rate mortgage deals, why wouldn’t you want to move before Christmas. Contact us today to arrange your free valuation and register your buying needs.

At Ellis and Co we will not only sell your home quickly we will work hard to make it as stress free as possible. Let us to do the hard work, and you can enjoy planning your new home.


10 Finishing Touches for Home Staging Success.

Home staging is all about creating a lifestyle for potential buyers to fall in love with.  It’s about enhancing your homes best features and creating a home that they can see themselves living in.

Our 10 finishing touches are for that all important viewing to ensure you give your home the best possible chance of success.

1. Flowers

Placing fresh flowers in your key rooms, adds beautiful natural aromas, they also look good too.


You don’t have to spend a fortune, seasonal flowers or even use flowers from your garden.


2. Lemons and Limes

Citrus fruits always make a home feel clean and fresh.  Use lemons and limes in your kitchen either in a glass bowl or vase for a perfect touch.


3. Setting the table

Set your dining room table, and if it’s lovely weather, your garden furniture.  You are not looking for a completed table but a couple of place settings and e.g. cake stand or salad bowl.

Sainsbury's Home
Sainsbury’s Home

4. Shelves

You want your shelves to consist of a small mixture of items such as photos, books, accessories, and maybe even a plant or two.  These images will give you a few ideas.


5. Coffee Table

A coffee table should be simply and elegantly staged with a few simple accessories.


If you only have a side table, place a couple of hard back books neatly in size order for an elegant look.  If possible use coffee table books.


6. Toiletries

Hide, Hide, Hide except for any of your high end products then stage a couple accordingly.


7. Smells

Try and keep the smells in your home natural and not use any overpowering air fresheners.  It is true that fresh coffee and baking are really attractive to a home-buyer; maybe even leave them a cake or two to sample.


8. Cushions

Cushions can really bring a piece of furniture alive; make sure they are placed square on and not at an angle.  Again you do not have to spend a fortune there are some fantastic cushions available on our high streets.

Matalan (Source)
Matalan (Source, Source)

9. Light

Make sure all your curtains and blinds are open as you want to ensure that as much natural light as possible is streaming into your home.


10. Kerb

Let the start of your home be the signature for what is to come.  Remember you want to give your home the best first impression to potential buyers.  Add a hanging basket or tubs with fresh flowers if your budget allows use two Bay or Olive trees at either side of your front door.


For more ideas for Selling Success contact James Ryan on 0208 457 5590

For more Home Staging Ideas check out our Pinterest Board

Our Home Staging Expert Shares her Secrets

We hope you are enjoying our new look monthly newsletters; March is our Home Staging month.  We grabbed a moment with our featured expert Sharon Johnston to see if she would share some of her home staging secrets.

As you know it is home staging month at Ellis and Co Golders Green.  As our home staging expert can you tell us what is meant by the term ‘Home Staging?

Home Staging is styling and presenting a property to stand out from the crowd.  You want to highlight its strengths and detracting from any weaknesses.  The aim is to broaden appeal and sell quickly for the best price.

How important do you think it is for vendors to stage their home for a sale?

Very! A buyer will first look on the internet at property sites and will make a snap decision to view based on the images they see. The photographs can only look good if the property looks its best.  Buyers will also see many different properties; yours needs to be the one that stands out for the right reasons.  There should always be a wow factor people will remember.

Is it OK to have colour in your home, or is it better to have a blank canvas?

All neutral will be bland, so colour is good, but should be brought in through furnishings and accessories, thus leaving a blank canvas that buyers can use for their own look.  If a featureless house, colour can be introduced on a feature wall or a large colourful canvas can be used.


A main element to home staging is de-cluttering, what would you advise if you didn’t have time to do it yourself?

Bring in a professional.  As little as four hours working with a professional will achieve great results.  They will be focused and impartial, making difficult decisions much easier to make.  They also take items away.  Follow the mantra of The Spacemakers which is based on the 4 Cs.  Cherish, Charity, Cash or Chuck.  Everything will fall into one of these categories.  Your home can look twice as light and spacious with clever de cluttering and no one needs to take their clutter with them!

People always say it’s Kitchens and Bathrooms that sell houses, so what are your top 3 tips in staging your bathroom?

1. Fresh white towels that are exclusively used for viewings only are essential.  Or if an all white bathroom that hasn’t got much of a wow factor, use coloured towels in aqua or coffee to add some colour.  Only white loo rolls are permissible!

2.  Only have a few aspirational premium branded toiletries on show ie Chanel 5 perfume, The White Company liquid soap.

3.  Remove all other items from bathroom – no potties, bath toys, old soap tablets and ensue loo seat is always down (for viewings and photos)

Our signature touch is to place a white orchid in the bathroom for a boutique hotel feel.


What finishing touches would you add to a kitchen for viewings?

  • If kettle and toaster looking a bit tired, invest in new matching chrome items.
  • Wherever possible, ensure there is an area for eating, even if it’s a pull down table with a couple of stools.
  • Dress the eating area with nice coloured trendy mugs and a cafietiere and a basket of croissants
  • Vase of fresh flowers – if kitchen a little bland, brighten it up with red gebera
  • Add some fresh colourful tea towels as an accent colour to main kitchen colour ways
  • Store old and dated cookery books and introduce some current cookbooks to appeal to a wider audience.

 If your property is empty, how would you make it attractive to buyers?

We would recommend buying in some key furniture and soft furnishings, as many people cannot visualise the room’s purpose.  This is of equal importance for the marketing of the property in the brochure and on web sites that the rooms look fantastic.  We often ‘dress’ empty properties and this can be done on a relatively small budget.  The items can then be sold on to the buyer or on Ebay.  Key rooms to dress include the living room/dining area and the master bedroom.  If bedrooms are a small double, it is essential to show it can take a double bed (but be canny and choose the smallest double bed you can buy) and dress the bed with fresh bedding and add cushions and throws to tone or contrast with bedding.  Place a mirror or picture over the fireplace. If a living room/dining room/kitchen area is in an open plan format, use furniture and rugs to demarcate the different zones.

What would be your top 3 ‘Don’ts’ with regard to home staging?

  • Don’t use a strong colour that only a few people will like, for example acid yellow or fluorescent orange
  • Don’t have a wide array of personal photographs throughout the home
  • Smell!  Bad smells will put off homebuyers so it’s imperative the smell doesn’t put people off.  We all get used to the smell of our home and no longer smell it.  Pets, stale tobacco and highly spiced cooking are all key offenders.  Don’t be tempted to mask it with strong smelling home fragrance as some fragrances are too over powering.  Authentic nice smells are always preferable to highly perfumed artificial fragrances, so it’s true baking jam tarts or some spiced buns really does give a homely welcome.

Jam Tarts

Is it expensive to stage your home?

No it shouldn’t be.   At Dressed to Sell we suggest investing 1% of the asking price to achieve the best results.  A good home stager will work with the items you have already and look at what you may have in storage already. And another way of not spending unnecessarily is that if the existing sofa is about to be replaced, we might recommend buying a new one now instead of waiting until after the move.

What would be your key message for our home staging month?

Your property is probably the most expensive item you own.  Make sure it is presented looking its best for viewings and marketing so you can sell for the best price possible in the quickest time.  For those that are short on time, I would recommend you use an expert and invest in ensuring you have a successful sale.

Thank you so much to Sharon for sharing some of her Home Staging Secrets. 

About Sharon

Sharon Johnston started her career as a stylist on glossy magazine, Tatler and later ran a public relations business specialising in luxury goods and home interest brands.  For more than a decade she has been helping people make the best of their homes. Whether it’s home staging a property to sell, de cluttering, restoring order and making the best of the space available with storage solutions and practical advice, or unpacking and organising after a move.