Are you visually challenged? Your buyers are!

When you walk into a property can you see the size of the rooms, how the buyer would use the space and what the function of that room would be? Then you are one of the few, says Janne Petrie of the Staging Professionals.

Did you know that less than 10% of people can visualise a space? They have difficulty in determining the size and scale of a room and then struggle to see how to use that room effectively. Ensuring that this issue is alleviated can maximise the impact and retention of buyer interest.

As a professional home stager I see this all the time. Those 90% of buyers need help and their lack of spatial awareness can be compounded by two major factors within a property:

1. When a property is vacant.

In this situation there is no reference for the person to be able to gauge the size of the room. They can be standing in the space with a tape measure or a floor plan and still struggle to visualise how their furniture will fit. Then there is the added dilemma of the unknown, those areas of the property that are question marks. The strange corner area or small, undefined room and then there are often those awkward rooms that challenge us all. Where do you put the furniture? How would I fit in this awkward room? What would I do with this room if I live here? Without reference these questions go unanswered and could be the difference between a buyer remaining interested or walking away putting the property into the ‘too hard’ basket.

2. The second issue is the opposite to having no furniture – and that is having too much!

This is a common problem in occupied homes, particularly if an owner has lived in the property for an extended time period. They accumulate more and more ‘stuff’ and it is difficult for the buyer to look past the ‘stuff’ to see the real size of the space. This is not just directed to the old and unkempt property either, it is very often an issue lovely, well cared for homes. It is purely a sign of living. In many cases the addition of extra bookcases, display units and other freestanding cabinets instantly highlight the question of storage, even if there is no issue. Additional furniture pieces that are collected, handed down, carried forward from home to home can crowd a space and make it feel smaller than what it is. Rooms take on different functions for the owner’s personal needs, living room into a study (shown), bedroom as a gym or garage as a home office. It raises questions like “will my family fit”, “is the room big enough for my furniture”, even worse “what an awful room”. These are questions and thoughts that can be avoided with a conversation and a little preparation.

In both vacant and occupied property it is possible to maintain buyer interest by providing the visual inspiration to connect them to the property. So, how do you help the spatially impaired? Simple. By furnishing the property with the right amount of furniture to show the buyers how each room should be used. Appropriate size furniture can make a small space feel bigger (shown) and a large space feel warm and welcoming

If this conjures up thought of high end luxury homes with designer furniture and a price tag to match then think again. Everything discussed here is about space, visual inspiration and helping the buyer to connect. Perhaps it is time to shed the old concepts of styling for the luxury market and consider the impact of visual presentation as a tool to engage the buyer further. It is a concept that should be consider for any property in any location and in any price range.

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Janne Petrie

Janne Petrie is a Certified Staging Professional (CSP) and a co-principal of the Staging Professionals based in Sydney, Australia.