In Melbourne's Inner East, Janet and John are putting the finishing touches on their four bedroom family home. They started out with a design consultant, and have had painters and gardeners complete work, and have hired furniture while their own has gone into storage.
They're not redecorating or renovating, they're about to put their home on the market. Before the professional photographer has even arrived, they've spent thousands of dollars preparing their home for sale.
Property staging is the process of ensuring a home is at its optimal presentation for sale. While it's been popular in the United States for many years, it's now being seen more and more in Australia.
A property staging consultant will consider the demographics of the likely purchaser, the current decor and the layout and architecture of the home, and make a series of recommendations. Real estate agents, and of course the stylists themselves, claim that property staging can increase the final sale price achieved and decrease the number of days a home is on the market.
While property staging is commonly utilised for homes at the top end of the market, the principles can be just as useful for homes in any price bracket. This is especially true of areas with a glut of stock.
In recent years, the importance of internet marketing has significantly increased. Most perspective buyers are doing their research online, finding out about location, price and other market conditions before they have attended a single open home.
Rather than look at dozens of properties at the direction of an agent, these days purchasers have their selection narrowed down to one or two just by using the internet. It's becoming more common to see virtual tours and single websites for property listings. Some have even invested in Google ad campaigns.
In the United States, desperate vendors have gone well beyond the regular avenues of marketing a home. There are accounts of some raffling off their home, with the goal of ticket sales reaching the ideal purchase price. In one instance, a home owner held a colouring competition, the first prize being their home, with a $100 entry fee.
More commonly, free gifts are given as incentives with the sale of a home. These could include holidays, fuel for a year or even a car.
Whether these methods pay off or not, depends on who you talk to. However, there's no doubt that presentation does count when it comes to marketing a home for sale. Of course, you don't need to hire a professional designer. Small things like mulching garden beds, cleaning windows and getting rid of clutter can make all the difference.