This was almost a double-page spread in the Nottingham Evening Post, including lots of my tips on preparing a home for sale. Let me know what you think! Click the link, or read the copy below:

Nottingham Evening Post

Have you set the stage to make a good impression?

By  Nottingham Evening Post

Thursday, March 15, 2012

CREATING the right impression is one of the key ways to ensure a house sale – and yet so many people make the same mistakes when it comes to “staging” their property.Lynn Pick, who runs the East Midlands home makeover company Home Stylers Ltd, has seen it all over the past ten years.

house doctor ann maurice

Lynn Pick with Ann Maurice, TV’s House Doctor

Having trained alongside TV’s House Doctor Ann Maurice, she’s worked her magic on homes throughout the region, including many in Notts.

“My specialities are home staging for sale or rent, home makeovers on a budget, and de-cluttering and re-organising homes,” she explains.

“Sometimes clients just need a consultation, and I give lots of advice and ideas to homeowners who carry out the ideas themselves.

“Or it may be that I take on some or all of the tasks myself and complete the project for them. Sometimes they even go away for the last couple of days so they have a big ‘reveal’ like on a TV makeover show.”

Lynn, who formerly worked in hotel and retail management, has around ten years’ experience in the field.

She is also one of the founder members of the House Doctor Network – training, mentoring and assessing potential new consultants.

Here are her top ten home staging ideas:

Control children’s toys: When trying to sell your home, choose ONE room to keep all the children’s belongings in, so the rest of the house is clear. Even potential buyers who have children don’t want to imagine their house will look a tip.

Remove bold colours: If your colours are very vivid, it’s time to tone it down. Go for a more sophisticated look with subtle colours.

Finish all jobs: Many homes are on the market for ages, looking tired and worn out with doors waiting to be painted, etc. Finish all DIY jobs before putting a home up for sale, so potential buyers feel they can just move in.

Don’t ‘neutralise’ everything: Numerous clients have heard that they need to ‘neutralise’ and declutter their rooms when trying to sell – so they take everything out apart from the furniture, and paint all the walls cream. This leaves totally bland rooms that look terrible in photographs. Declutter, yes, but keep interesting accessories and artwork, to create focal points and interest in each room.

Use all the space: Use every space to its full potential, so your estate agent can display more photographs of your property.

Stick to one colour scheme: It feels so much calmer in a house where colours flow smoothly from one room to another. Don’t mix warm and cold colour schemes together, and don’t try to change to an entirely new colour scheme, or everything will need replacing – just look at the colours that already exist, choose three that blend nicely, and remove all other colours from sight.

Use what you already have more effectively: Look around your home and rearrange it, with the estate agent’s photos in mind. Put matching furniture back together again, put plants and flowers in key positions in the room. Take your own photographs to get an idea of layout. Don’t hide beautiful items.

Name each room: I always name each room I’m staging, so that everyone understands its main function, and will keep it like that, especially when selling. A sitting room, a dining room and so on. Even the multi-purpose rooms such as a small ‘spare’ room that may be used for a bedroom, a storage room, an office etc – choose one theme and hide all other uses away.

Don’t leave empty rooms: Inexperienced viewers find it really difficult to imagine what can fit into an empty room, as there is nothing in it that they can relate to. In addition, empty rooms are so uninviting on the estate agent’s website. Some key pieces of furniture make the room so much more appealing.

Declutter, declutter, declutter: De-cluttering is the simplest and most cost-effective way of preparing your home for sale. Nine out of ten viewers can’t ‘see’ your rooms any differently, and they won’t want to buy into a messy lifestyle. They want calm, space and organisation, even if that’s not how they live in their own homes.

Another idea Lynn suggests is to remove old fixtures like tatty bedroom overhead cupboards – it’s an easier job to do than many people think.

She adds: “Also think carefully about furniture placement – sometimes moving the TV around is all you need to do.”

Meanwhile, the House Doctor Network is searching for another suitable property in the East Midlands to feature in the final stages of its established home makeover training programme.

The selected house will benefit from a complete makeover during a five-day period in April.

Lynn stresses that this is not being filmed for the TV show and nor will Ann Maurice herself be present.

She comments: “The ideal house will be in need of a cosmetic makeover – needing tidying, re-arranging, maybe a little decorating and lots of finishing touches, rather than one requiring a full kitchen and bathroom refit or decorating throughout.”

The property must be within half an hour’s travelling distance of Kegworth, where Lynn is based, and will ideally be a three or four bedroom home in good condition throughout.

The homeowners must also be willing to invest some money into the project (agreed beforehand) for accessories. But all  design work and styling will be complimentary.

Anyone interested should call 01509 551392 for further details or visit www. Nottingham Evening Post.