It’s the little things that count, such as six strategically placed unopened bottles of Italian sparkling water on a kitchen benchtop or plumped cushions artfully arranged on a designer fabric couch in a living room.
The styled property has become the norm in Sydney real estate.
Real estate agencies get stylists on-board to create the ‘wow factor’, to transform drab into desirable, to beautify houses to appeal to aspirational buyers.
McGrath Epping’s Omid Sayehban is a big fan of styling, even if it is “partial styling” where a few cushions and art to hang on the walls are brought in to zest up to a house.
Mr Sayehban said that, as well as highlighting a property’s best assets, a styled house gives buyers ideas and helps them to imagine what it would be like to live there.
“It opens their eyes to a property’s potential,” Mr Sayehban said.
An empty or cluttered house could confuse or turn off some buyers.
“They could look at a room and say, ‘How can we fit our lounge in there?’ But if we have the room styled as a bedroom, they realise that it can have another use,” he said.
Mr Sayehban said a simple stylish makeover has made a world of difference to a three-bedroom villa at 6/5 Lovell Rd, Denistone East, which has already had a strong response from buyers.
“People seem to get more emotionally attached if a property looks like a model home,” he said.
“At the end of the day, people want to envision themselves in that home – if they can’t, they won’t commit.”
Mr Sayehban said that even a house that was viewed as a knock down and rebuild could be improved by styling.
“If it’s clearly going to be knocked down and it’s falling apart, then styling won’t add value.
“But if it’s a neat house that could be knocked down in the future, it might be worth having it styled.”
Phil Allison from Belle Property – Hunters Hill said presentation and styling were important considerations for vendors – but there is a difference between the two.
A well-presented property is one that is decluttered and contains fittings and finishes in mint condition – so buyers walk into a flawless house and garden with not a blade of grass out of place.
Rather than having a professional style their property, Mr Allison said he advised some of his clients to remove unnecessary furniture to showcase bigger pieces such as lounges and dining tables.
There are occasions when a stylist’s work can be complementary, Mr Allison said.
He is marketing a property at 39 Charles St, Ryde, that has been “staged” except for statement pieces – a couch and dining table – that remain on display.
“It used to be a house that people would walk into and say, ‘Isn’t this a nice house?’ But now they walk in and say, ‘Wow, I want to live here.’”
Mr Allison said a professionally styled property had the power evoke buyers’ aspirational desires.
“People see houses in magazines and think, ‘I couldn’t have a house like that,’ then they walk into a property like 39 Charles St and realise it might be possible.”
Mr Allison said styling had the power to increase the potential value of a property.
“A styled house can attract the buyer who may not have been interested before so it can help to increase competition between buyers and decrease the time a property spends on the market,” Mr Allison said.
Mr Sayehban said a partial style could cost the vendors hundreds of dollars while more thorough styling can start at about $5000.
“It’s a small investment,” Mr Sayehban said.
“What you put into it, you are going to get back.”
The three-bedroom villa at 6/5 Lovell Rd, Denistone East, is for sale for $1 million.
The seven-bedroom house at 39 Charles St, Ryde, goes to auction on Saturday, February 16.