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Makeover tips to style a home for sale

Going beyond just a fresh coat of paint to a total styling revamp could reduce time on the market from five months to two weeks, writes Debra Cleveland.

Furniture rental companies are flat out. Usually there’s a break over winter, says Sharyn Doyle, the managing director of Living Edge Rental, but sellers have been keeping her and her staff busy since May with requests for home styling and furniture rental.

What does it cost to make over and temporarily refurnish a generous family home? Between $10,000 and $15,000, Doyle says. “When you’re looking at high-end properties, that’s to style a large home with three living areas, five bedrooms, a study and several outdoor areas. These are large properties and there is lots of space – it gives people a feel of how they would use these different areas.”

Is it worthwhile? Absolutely, Doyle says. She cites as an example a Hawthorn East property in Melbourne that sold in two weeks after being styled. “These high-end homes normally take up to five months to sell,” Doyle adds.

But not all properties need a total styling revamp – sometimes it can be small touches that make the difference.

Interior designer Beverley Gibson says because real estate agents like to photograph the kitchen, living room, the front of the home and the master bedroom, it’s important to focus on those areas.

She disagrees with the trend for only using a few photographs in marketing. “People like to see as many photographs online as they can. So if the property looks really great, I’d encourage sellers to use more rather than less to heighten the anticipation,” Gibson says.

“Sometimes buyers think that if you put on a photograph of only one bedroom, the others must be awful. If the photographs look great, use as many as you can.”

The first step is to declutter. Then work out whether your furniture has broad appeal.

“Sometimes plain furniture and colours look better – like a showroom with just a few accent scatter cushions – so they don’t dominate the house,” Gibson says.

“If you’ve got multicoloured furniture, put it into storage and rent furniture. You don’t want to give anyone an excuse not to buy. You want people to walk in and imagine their own furniture or taste in there. You don’t want them to be overwhelmed by someone else’s taste.”


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