London Property - Home of Super Prime

How to Stage Your Home for a Swift Sale | Michael Handford-Arnold of Palace Gate

June 08, 2022 London Property - Home of Super Prime Season 4 Episode 14
London Property - Home of Super Prime
How to Stage Your Home for a Swift Sale | Michael Handford-Arnold of Palace Gate
Show Notes Transcript

Michael Handford-Arnold joins us again to explain what to consider when you are putting your house up for sale.  We discuss seasonality and how to make the outside area and/or street work for you (think cherry blossoms in Spring and cosy fires in Winter). 

Staging can start from the very basic things like cleanliness, uncluttered spaces and basic maintenance and work all the way up to getting in professionals. There are a number of excellent staging companies and decluttering services who can assist you with this. We have some personally handpicked ones listed in our experts directory to get you started. 

We discuss how to avoid making your space too sterile while keeping a balance between clutter, pets and children and how to show off potential furniture placement by adding in suitable options like a small desk with a printer on it for a home office space.

As always we love to hear your thoughts. Let us know your experience of staging a house for sale and if there are any tips you would like to share with us. Connect via email at or follow us your way on our social media platforms.

Interviewer - Farnaz Fazaipour  | Property Investment & Ownership


Unknown Speaker  0:00  
London Property, home of super prime, where you can find informative educational and entertaining content, covering all aspects of property.

Farnaz Fazaipour  0:11  
Hello, and welcome to London property home of super prime. I'm your host Farnaz Fazaipour. And today we're in conversation with Michael Handford-Arnold, who is an experienced agent at the top end of the market, speaking to us again today about what to consider when you're preparing your house for sale. Welcome back, Michael.

Michael Handford-Arnold  0:30  
Hello, Farnaz. Thank you for having me back.

Farnaz Fazaipour  0:33  
So let's hear it, Michael, what do our listeners need to know if they are preparing their house to put on the market for sale?

Michael Handford-Arnold  0:40  
It's the age old question that keeps being repeated again and again. And again, because people just do not do it. Some do, of course, but a lot of people don't. And constantly, we have to keep going back to people in a nice way. Because they may take a front straightaway. If you say, Oh, you do this, though. It's also your approach. But number one things it's always the first impressions when you walk into a property, quite literally, you know, if it's a flat in a converted house, okay, the common areas are somebody else is somebody else's bagged. But if there's a bike, there might be somebody staying, you know, it's not legal to get on to the managing agencies bicycle in the hallway, make sure it's all clean, do a bit yourself, it's not going to harm you know. And first impressions really are important. You need to get the windows sorted out, make sure they're clean. And just make sure that the main when you enter the property, it smells nice. Everything is as pristine as it possibly can. If there are children and evidence of children, that can be quite good, because, you know, they're thinking, Oh, my God, how on earth? Can somebody live in a house like this with children be so immaculate? We'll just show a few bits and bobs of children's life? That's absolutely fine. But presentation and first impressions are absolutely vital.

Farnaz Fazaipour  1:57  
Yeah, people always think, you know, well, if they like the square footage, it's in the position, it doesn't really matter. But it does doesn't it

Michael Handford-Arnold  2:05  
matters an enormous amount. I mean, this is again, another example of the old adage, do as I say, not as I do. I mean, you'll take somebody around a property and they'll say, it's a bit untidy in the bedroom. No, it was nice, but it was a bit untidy in the bedroom. And, you know, I think they could have cleaned the cooker and goodness gracious me. But we'll consider it actually I'm selling my property. And of course, there's an agent to say, oh, goodness, where is it? And if it's in your areas, they will, we'd be delighted to help, you know, come and do evaluation circles, they have you around to their house. And you walk in and there's beds unmade, and the guards onto there terrorists, a dead plant and a coke can and you're thinking, hang on a minute, you were very critical of the other property that you went to see. Yeah, yours is a complete mess. And you said yes. Well, you'd be you know, you'll be tired. Oh, no, it's otherwise. I mean, it's fine. Basically, it's in a much better area than the one I saw and you closer to the Dupit? Well, no, the same rule applies in any property that you go into first impressions, is it clean? If you are, I don't know. If you're outside London, or even inside London, if you've got a house and you've got a dog. Don't let the place smell of dogs. It's very easy. These days, there are so many products to give your dog a bath, make sure it's not smelling doggy in the room where the dog goes there all sorts of air fresheners. Take the dog to the doggy parlour. There's one near our office on Gloucester road where you can walk in and get the dog completely sorted out and back again, you know, all these things matter massively. Also the cluttering and the inner property? If it's absolutely, as I said earlier on fine after a few kids toys, you know, put into the corner neatly. But you really do want to make sure that there's not like personal details absolutely everywhere. And people's attention then for long term goodness gracious me Look at all that sort of lots of shoes in the corner there. And they're all you know, all of a certain label is that the other make sure it's uniform. Make sure that nothing interrupts the eye and the property flow and you're viewing flows.

Farnaz Fazaipour  4:13  
So you want to actually keep people focused on what they're doing. They're here to see the house. Let them see the house and it's best

Michael Handford-Arnold  4:19  
clean, uncluttered and let them look at the house. Yes, of course. Don't make it steroidal signs of life. You know, if you pretty scatter cushions here there and everywhere. And and you know, some nice pots and pans fine. Put them at a sort of jaunty angle on the stove all absolutely fine. That's what you could call semi staging. You know, all this helps, you know, people can imagine themselves there. But it's just one of the main things you really have to look at.

Farnaz Fazaipour  4:49  
And actually on the subject of staging you could learn a lot from developers right they finish a product and when you go to show it they make sure the candle is on they make sure the light is at Have a certain mood depending on the time of the day that the music is going through the sound system. So, you know, there is clearly a science to the art of trying to maximise what you get for a property. And it's not just oh, it's frills, don't be ridiculous, it doesn't matter. But on a on a on a bigger scale. What do you think, is good choices to make? And what are waste of money? Because, you know, people often think, well, they're going to change the kitchen, they're going to change the bathroom, I'm not going to do that to try and get more money, because the hassle of doing it and the hassle of actually, you know, trying to upgrade or do some kind of decoration, modernise modernization, you know, where do you draw the line?

Michael Handford-Arnold  5:40  
Well, as I say, always present it cleanly. And to the best of your ability, you can have an extremely dated kitchen, but it can be clean, you know, obviously, if there's a bit hanging off, get it off a door, get it fixed, you know, fix it properly, if you possibly can, even a breakdown A flat is going to be completely broken down, present it cleanly. If it's been tenanted or whatever, have it professionally cleaned, have it put back together, make it look as though you've made an effort. Obviously, with a brand or a newly refurbished flat that's been stage, if you've got the luxury of being able to do that fine, because people can then walk in and buy a lifestyle, we're seeing all this turnkey business going on. It's been going on for a while. But basically, you know, you can have a turnkey flat, but you can also make something in its own way. equally attractive, if somebody's just spent a little bit of time make showing, you know how they can create additional space and show how the property might work in several ways. You know, you could have a sort of nice smart little design a printer in the corner there next to a dining room table show this could possibly be a home office area, little tricks like that, think about it, there's so much research you can do on the internet, which literally will hold your hand from start to end. Yep, people, a lot of people just don't do this. And they take a front sometimes when it's strongly suggested. So you've got to be careful in the way you, you put it across to tell somebody to maximise this. So know your animal people are very different get to know your client, then you tend to know how you weigh you can present, you know, the sort of little package of sort of say, well, you could do this a bit more, you know, in this area, would you like us to help or do that because you know, if you're selling the property, if you just take a little bit of time, just to help help them well socially staged the property. So you put this here, put this there, you're actually helping yourself because it'll sell quicker,

Farnaz Fazaipour  7:35  
right? So for our listeners, who are actually sellers of these homes, you know, how they could help themselves is to actually saved to the agent, don't be frightened. Tell me what you think I need to do, you know, within the realms of what I'm prepared to do, I'm not refurbishing this place. I'm not redecorating this place. But feel free to tell me what you think I should do, in order to maximise my potential. That might include the agent saying to them, pack your stuff and send it to storage because it's too cluttered.

Michael Handford-Arnold  8:03  
That's exactly those are the dream words, which you rarely hear. You know, there are a lot of lovely straightforward people, but you don't generally hear them. So that's part of the course. So you've got to check, check your client, see what they like. And just really try and guide them as best you can. If you feel that they won't take it from you, then refer them to a hit list. There are so many, as I say, on the internet, you know, looking looking at how to make the best of your house for the property market. And then you can sort of very sort of subtly so say oh, did you have a managed to have a look? Yes. Great. Okay, any points you want to help with? And oh, yes, you know, I might decorate that lavatory at the back there. If you think it's good. Yeah, yeah. And always have some handyman on call. Because, well, do you know what we could have that done, I know a chap called John, and he'll pop in just give you a quote. But this really, really would help and just try and just try and help them because you're helping yourself at the end of the day.

Farnaz Fazaipour  9:04  
And apart from the internals of the property, there is also time to market. Absolutely. So you know, choosing the right time to bring your property to the market, depending on what you've got

Michael Handford-Arnold  9:16  
completely. And also so there's a road in Chelsea and SW 10, which is very, very famous. I think it's got a couple of stars living on it as well. I think Hugh Grant owns a house around the corner Elizabeth Hurley lives there. But that road is covered with cherry blossom trees, and it is absolutely picturesque and very well photographed. So bringing your property on a regular road or round that immediate block where you go up Red Cliff road or down Red Cliff road to access the property. That that could be literally a winner.

Farnaz Fazaipour  9:47  
Yeah, well, spring has always traditionally been the time to bring your property to market. But that's not to say that you know, you can't make a cosy autumnal theme of your property and bring it on an autumn but, but to just think about To the outside factors as well, of how to maximise what you're going to get for your property. You know what type of property we got if it's a cosy, you know, flat, you know?

Michael Handford-Arnold  10:12  
Well, absolutely. That was just one example because we're currently coming into spring now and then the next couple of weeks or possibly no haven't been down, that road will look absolutely amazing. But equally in winter time, if you've got a gas effect fire in your sitting room, or if the flats got a dining room, if it's got a house with a playroom or whatever, and they've got a fireplace and they've got a gas fire, get there beforehand, make it look cosy, put the fires on, that's what they're there for. And you've got this wonderful cosy feeling as somebody comes in when the leaves are blowing down. Whatever streets you're on, put fires on how lovely they'll walk into flickering flame and feel immediately what a cosy place.

Farnaz Fazaipour  10:54  
So don't underestimate it. No, don't be lazy. Nope.

Michael Handford-Arnold  10:57  
Look at every aspect of your house, look at everything in presentation and how you would like to see it yourself.

Farnaz Fazaipour  11:05  
And pull on on the services that are available. Because you've got staging services, you've got people who can come in and declutter

Michael Handford-Arnold  11:12  
everything, depending on your client, you can be handheld right up to the very angle where they will handle decorations, they will put in even a new sort of lower ground floor bathroom, if it's a sort of glue that looks absolutely terrible. And the rest of the house looks absolutely superb. But nobody's ever got around to doing that. Lou, they'll do that. They'll stage it, they'll do everything. But back to basics, presentation, cleanliness, does it smell right? And, you know, how can you use this space? Is it not overly cluttered, try and make a dining area or a sitting area. Just try and make the house the flat flow, be logical

Farnaz Fazaipour  11:49  
basics that everybody can do without having to spend an awful lot of money?

Michael Handford-Arnold  11:53  
Exactly. You can spend a fortune or you can spend a small amount of money or you can just lose plain logic. Declutter, get rid of a lot of stuff, clean the carpets. Clean the dog, as I said, and just, you know, just present it nicely. And there's so much information out there on how to do any of this.

Farnaz Fazaipour  12:13  
So in conclusion, be prepared for guests at every moment. And then you've got it right.

Michael Handford-Arnold  12:18  
Absolutely. Absolutely get the coffee on, you know.

Farnaz Fazaipour  12:22  
Brilliant. Well thank you very much for a bit of insight for our listeners who are getting ready to put their properties on the market. And they can head over to our experts directory to find the right people to help them.

Unknown Speaker  12:32  
Thank you Farnaz. Thank you. Thanks for listening to the London property podcast, head over to London And subscribe to our newsletter to receive latest updates.