Selling a property in Marbella is a lot more competitive and professional than it used to be – learn the importance of staging a property. Whether you have a luxury villa, townhouse, penthouse or apartment for sale, the market has learned from the best techniques of North America and northern Europe for presenting homes to buyers. In short, to sell it, stage it.

Long gone are the days when brewing up fresh-smelling coffee, placing a vase of fresh flowers on the table and making the beds was enough to secure a sale at the asking price.

More and more sellers are trusting in real-estate image experts to get the look and feel of their property right, and with some impressive results. With the work of a skilled styler or design consultant, a home can increase significantly in value in the eyes of the buyer and sell a lot quicker, making it a very wise investment indeed.

It seems easy to do but there is a real art to staging. Marbella now has some of the best in the business at delivering it.

Homerun Brokers provides the option of a staging and styling service when listing a property for sale. This has helped dozens of clients in the past few years. Depending on the villa or apartment, it could be a simple reordering of the furniture or could extend to a full ground- floor alteration. There are many options to maximise sales value in today’s ever-more professional marketplace.

Connecting with the seller

Robert Bazo, Sales Manager at Homerun Brokers, gave us an insight into the staging process which these real estate brokers carry out in house, drawing on expert interior designers and project consultants.

“It might be a surprise but we don’t think about the property first,” said Robert. “We start by understanding the customer who owns the property for sale and try to understand who they are and their needs.” He explained that the Homerun philosophy is always to connect with a client first and this goes not just for sellers but also for buyers.

Issues to consider include how the seller currently uses their home, how soon they want to move out and the degree of emotional attachment. “A staging solution that works for an older person living full time who has a long-standing link to the villa or apartment is different to a younger couple selling a second home, and we get that,” he added.

Huddle on all the options, costs and benefits

Once Homerun has taken time to get to know the client and the property, the team will compare different staging and improvement options with them to analyse likely extra value that can be unlocked, as well as compare it to the cost of doing nothing. “It is important to give the customer good, unbiased advice on what staging a property may achieve,” added Robert.

“People often think their villa interior needs to look like it is out of a lifestyle magazine to sell at the top level and that is not true,” said Robert. “The property needs to look good enough for the vast majority of buyers, but these don’t expect perfection when viewing.”

However, Robert is keen to point out that it is the Homerun team’s job to see the key potential in a property and make it as easy as possible for a buyer to see themselves living there. “Usually a buyer is viewing several properties at once and it can be hard for them to quickly visualise the key opportunities in each property for sale unless we make it obvious,” he explained.

Quite often the team will aim to create the new feature or space for it to go in the future, whether it be, for example clearing an area of furniture for a future home office or gym, suggesting a replanting on the terrace or doing a change of lighting in the hallway.

Go heavy on the up to date, go lighter on the personal

Designers working with Homerun say that a refreshed look needs to be up-to-date and not overly personal to the property owner, as otherwise potential buyers can be turned off.

“We aim to create a look that 90% of people will like on walking in,” said Madeleine, one of the independent creative interior designer who works with Homerun’s clients.

“We have to make sure the room layout focuses on the positive,” she continued. “For example, if the room has a great view, everything has to be arranged to focus on that and not other, less interesting features. It is about finding that magic spark and special touch.”

Robert explained his three hot tips that can make most practical difference to villas and other types of real estate for sale in his experience. Firstly is the paintwork – a freshen up in neutral colours can have the most impact. This is followed by adjustments to key pieces of furniture. “It is not just about putting in new furniture,” explained Robert. “It is about having furniture or styling details appropriate to the architecture of the house, and this could mean an older colonial style, for example.”

Artwork works

And lastly, in Robert’s personal top three improvements to look at is the use of artwork. “People need to resist the temptation to cover walls with large TV screens. Those moving to Marbella are expecting the amazing outdoor life we have here and watching TV is not a big part of it. Good, neutral artwork and wall decoration, not necessarily at a high cost, can do far more for a home’s perceived value for buyers than audiovisual equipment.”

The Homerun design consultants find that often the simplest, cost-effective solutions can work, such as refacing existing kitchen cupboards or replacing bathroom accessories from everyday stores like Zara Home.

It is not just the obvious downstairs living spaces that can benefit from staging. Other parts of the house can be equally important. “The bedroom is a vital space to get right for a potential buyer,” explained one of the most experienced design consultants working with Homerun. For her, the aim is to create the sense of walking into a well-prepared hotel room where a buyer can lay down their head immediately and relax. “I go to great trouble to iron the duvets and top sheets for the best first impression,” she said.

Adding value to realise objectives

And how much value can a staging plan add to a property for sale in the Marbella area. Robert is keen not to put a figure on it. “We plan to help the seller realise their ideal, dream price, whatever that is,” he said. He added that it might not be the aim to increase price but, instead, perhaps ensure there is a higher number of viewings more quickly and offers on the table sooner.

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