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Dress your home to sell
1:10pm Thursday 3rd May 2012 in Lifestyle
Clearing clutter and re-energising clients is all in a day’s work for professional home stagers Jane Cooper and Sharon Johnston of Dressed2Sell.
As friends and business partners, these friendly working mums have been helping people de-clutter or dress their homes for sale for nearly ten years.
In that time they’ve managed to help properties ‘stuck’ on the market for months make tens of thousands of pounds over the asking price.
But while the Dressed2Sell team loves transforming properties, it’s the surprising transformation of people’s lives that has brought them most satisfaction.
“We know that sometimes it takes a lot of courage for people to pick up the phone to us,” said Sharon. “Sometimes they want to sell their home and sometimes they just want to get organised. They know they need help, but often think it’s a sign of weakness to call us in.”
Some clients are so grateful for Sharon and Jane’s help that they are in tears by the remarkable transformation of their homes. In one case a client was given £500 by her mother-in-law to go to a spa because she was so stressed trying to cope with a busy work and family life.
“She decided to spend the money on Dressed2Sell because, as she told us, “my stress is all around me in my house”. “All the clutter and chaos was the cause of her anxiety. Mind you, I think we would have taken the money and gone to the spa!” joked Sharon.
People call in Dressed2Sell for all sorts of reasons. They may need to move rather than want to – because of divorce or bereavement – and as a result of the emotional stress, don’t have the time or the energy to make the house look good for a sale.
Jane gave the example of a young man whose mother had died. He had to clear her home to sell it but found it too painful to go through his mother’s things, so he called in the dynamic duo.
“Sometimes we walk into a house and we can’t put our finger on it – we know something is not quite right and it can be quite poignant,” said Jane. “Sadly viewers and potential buyers can pick up on that. We have to sit clients down and be honest about what needs to be done – and it is our honesty that our clients like.”
When you think that your home is probably the most expensive asset you own – and that most people take less than a minute to make up their minds about a property at first viewing – then first impressions really count, making the difference between selling it or not, said Sharon.
“People are buying into a lifestyle when they buy a new home,” she explained. “They want to imagine themselves living there. They want the ideal – but if your home is cluttered, full of your things, or decorated in bright colours, it makes it harder for buyers to imagine themselves living there.”
Hiring a home stager is really just about bringing in the right people for the job – just as you would bring in experts for other areas of your life, said Jane.
“We often ask people why they chose us to help – after all they are bringing us into their home and that requires a lot of trust,” she said. “What they usually say is we looked friendly and approachable – creative without being too ‘interior design’. We’re not interior designers, but we do know how to present a home to look its best. And we are also sensitive to the fact that we are in someone’s home.”
Jane and Sharon, both young mums who have backgrounds in PR, frequently find their clients have become their friends.
“When we started out we thought once the job was done, we’d say goodbye to clients and that would be it,” said Sharon.
“But as you work with clients on their home, you do often end up becoming quite close. “Many say they wished they had contacted us to give advice when they first moved in.”