When preparing your home to go to market, outsourcing the styling can make a serious difference to the price buyers are willing to pay.
But, with so many companies now offering home staging and styling services, you'll need to sift through a myriad of options first. While Google is definitely your friend when it comes to scoping out potential interior stylists, be sure to look beyond the pretty pictures.
Here are five strategic moves you can employ to ensure you pick a winner:
1. Do your research
Unlike many of the choices we regularly make (this hairdresser or that one? The optometrist here or across the road?), hiring an interior stylist to style your property for sale is a decision that can have potentially huge financial ramifications. So it pays (literally) to do your research first. Seek out online reviews and ask around among friends, colleagues and acquaintances who have recently sold property.
2. Shop around for your interior stylist
Next, shop around among your shortlist before making it official with your chosen interior stylist. What should you look for? First up, browse their online portfolio to gauge their aesthetic - are you confident this stylist can dramatically elevate the look and feel of your home, and can they deliver this within your budget? Also consider whether they have an extensive range of quality and/or designer furnishings, artwork and accessories. Do they stick to a signature style, or do they have product and experience in styling to a wide range of themes? You'll need to go with a theme in your interiors that works with the location and exterior of your home for a cohesive feel (no matter how much you adore French provincial, it may look slightly out of place in an uber modern apartment).
3. Peek behind the scenes
Once you have ensured they have got the goods to prettify your home, don't overlook the practical factors. It's crucial to consider the size and capabilities of each vendor - are you happy to go with a one-person show, or would you prefer the services of a larger company that can provide project management, admin, installers and service staff to co-ordinate your project from start to finish? The behind-the-scenes factors can be just as important - for example, an interior stylist with an experienced team to handle the furniture and hangings will ensure your property is kept in tip-top shape and that the install process is smooth sailing (this is not a job you want to be left with the day before your first open home!).
4. Book a meeting
Before locking anything in, schedule a meeting with your interior stylist. Good vendors should offer a free consultation and on-site assessment. As well as making sure you trust and gel with them, use this meeting to ask questions to gauge how well the stylist understands your local property market. Pay close attention to their language when describing their process as well - styling that evokes an emotional response in potential buyers is largely what will get a sale over the line, so assess whether this is an integral focus of their work.
5. Do the numbers
Ultimately, the rationale behind hiring a professional interior stylist is that they will help you to sell your home for the best possible price. This means your mission is to hire someone who can deliver style that gets results. When considering hiring a potential stylist, be sure to check their previous sales records: have homes they have styled sold above the initial valuation/asking price? Don't settle for vague promises here - request specific figures that will enable you to compare several vendors before making your choice, this will ensure you'll reap serious rewards down the track.