Staging: The best kept secret to selling your home


27 October 2015

Styling the interior of your home before it is photographed for The Guardian and is an important tactic for selling your property, according to Cathy Craig-Neal of Swan Hill business Home Coach.

Also known as ‘staging’, styling is a selling tactic in which a property is visually transformed to impress buyers.

“Great (marketing) photos, with attention to detail, can be the difference between a house selling in a short period of time or perhaps taking months” says Cathy. “First impressions are very important and presenting an inviting, tidy home with a warm feel creates the right environment for the would-be buyer”.

Declutter and depersonalise

“It’s important to present your property well so perspective buyers can visualise themselves living in your home” continues Cathy.

This can be achieved by removing personal photos, trophies, certificates and effects to ‘depersonalise’ your home and declutter bedrooms, lounges and hallway. Remove furniture, if need be, to give the home that feeling of space.

Cathy continues: “the goal is to make your home as sparse as you can while still styling with that ‘lived in’, homely look. This includes hiding clothing, toys, even toothbrushes from your bathroom and removing dish racks and clutter from your kitchen and laundry benches.

Cathy’s top 10 tips for staging:

  1. Ensure the house is spotless, including floors, walls and windows;
  2. Remove any clutter from around your home including minimalising items on bench tops;
  3. De-personalise the house by removing excess personal photos and portraits;
  4. Place lovely arrangements of flowers whether they be fresh or artificial;
  5. Have a pleasant aroma in the home prior to a prospective buyer’s appointment;
  6. Consider cooking something in the oven, raisin toast in the toaster or freshly brewed coffee just before visitors arrive;
  7. Soft music playing throughout the home will put people at ease;
  8. Remember to take clothes off the clothes line;
  9. Set the dining table in the outdoor/al fresco eating area with placemats, cloth napkins, plates, glasses or a nice runner down the middle. When visitors arrive it provides a “Wow” factor and lets them know you’ve made an effort to help them visualise what could be their new outdoor area; and
  10. If you have a pool, place some beach towels, pool toys, comfy chairs, music playing and a sprinkler going in the background somewhere, representing a cooling environment.

After moving back home to Swan Hill from Brisbane several years ago, Cathy dabbled in the restyling and staging of homes for sale, even once moving some of her own furniture into a friend’s house before it was photographed for

“My friend loved the restyling so much she joked that she’d take the house off the market and stay” laughs Cathy.

Her passion continues through her Home Coach retail business at 290 Campbell Street which adjoins Sun Centre Carpet Court.

The ‘Swan Hill style’

When asked if there is such a thing as a “Swan Hill style” she responds in the affirmative.

“The style in Swan Hill is a great mix of everything. A bit industrial, rustic and eclectic. Martha Stewart, Cape Cod and French Provincial. Timber, white, cane, black still dominate local tastes.”

She goes on to credit popular television programmes The Block, House Rules and the Lifestyle Channel, along with social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest for having a “massive” impact on peoples’ knowledge, taste in fashion and what’s ‘on trend’ with building and home decorating. All this has raised the bar for people to see what they can achieve.

“Since I began selling homewares I’ve discovered that local people really know their own style and if they want it, they will strive to achieve it. I’m really proud of that and am so blessed to be a part of their purchases and styling for their homes” she concludes.

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Staging: The best kept secret to selling your home