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In a competitive real estate market, the more appealing a property looks, the faster it is likely to sell. On the other hand, an empty home can often leave prospective clients struggling to visualize how to use the property's empty spaces, and thus potentially become an obstacle to closing a deal.
Great home staging maximises buyer appeal by highlighting a home's best features, minimizing the less desirable ones and creating a lasting first impression. In the UK, home staging is often referred to as property presentation or home doctoring, while in the US it is known as home staging and sometimes dressing to sell.
''Staging a property uses furniture, art, lighting, accessories and interior decor to create an uncluttered, inviting space for potential buyers, with skilled stagers turning a house into what feels like a home,'' says Mathieu Nakkach, Founder and CEO of Signature Stagers, a pioneer in luxury home staging in the Middle East.
The company recently partnered with Sloanes Real Estate to highlight the advantages of home staging when it showcased a contemporary villa at the Emirates Hills community.
While the high demand for smaller units such as two-bedroom apartments in Dubai Marina ensures that these properties are usually sold very quickly, Nakkach explains vendors of larger property need to go the extra mile to win over potential buyers.
''There is a lot of luxury here in Dubai and many beautiful villas in many different styles,'' says Nakkach.
Well-staged luxury homes give landlords and owners an edge over the competition as they tend to sell faster and for more money.
A staged property does more than just stand out from other houses on the market. Recent statistics from the US found that staged homes spent less than half the time on the market than non-staged property and sold for more than 6 per cent above the asking price.
''Buying a home is an emotional process,'' explains Nakkach. ''People build memories in homes and this is what we take into consideration when we stage a property — that dining table where you eat with your loved ones, the bedroom where you sleep, those little corners where you'd be reading a book.''
With larger spaces, he explains it is even more difficult to get a clear idea of the size until you fill the area with things that you can relate to, such as a bed or sofa.
''Clients respond well to seeing a furnished property,'' agrees Suzie Qureshi, Client Relationship Manager at Sloanes Real Estate. ''It looks warmer, more appealing and they are able to determine how each space can be used. Some of our clients are new to Dubai and are also looking for recommendations for interior designers and high-end furniture to save time.''
Signature Stagers has tied up with high-end showrooms, including Nakkach Gallery and Caspaiou, which supply the company with European interiors brands. As well as providing furnishings, Caspaiou, which has partnered with Signature Stagers since the company launched, also has interior design experts to help in designing the property, saving time and money.
Unlike many US staging companies, which return the inventory to the supplier once the house is sold, furniture used in a home staged property by Signature Stages can be purchased by the homebuyer.
''The first thing people do is start negotiating on the furniture,'' says Nakkach.
He explains it is a situation where everybody benefits: the home owner raises the bar against the competition, the interiors suppliers can showcase their furniture to potential customers and buyers can get a feel of their future home and also have the opportunity to purchase the furniture at a very competitive price, instead of sourcing the items themselves.
''This was why we launched the company — it is the cherry on top.''
The home staged property at Emirates Hills was a 9,500-sq-ft, five-bedroom, six bathroom high-end villa that boasted extensive landscaped gardens, a temperature-controlled swimming pool, a water feature, a barbecue area and lake views. The villa's price: Dh29.5 million.
The property's sleek, contemporary design was complemented by Caspaiou's strategy of using modern European furnishings to create a luxury lifestyle experience.
''It is our flagship project. The villa is absolutely beautiful and everyone immediately fell in love with it,'' says Nakkach. ''As with every project, we approached it with love, and Caspaiou has done an incredible job in enabling the property to reach its full potential — it truly is a work of art.''
Source: Claire Glasby, Special to Property Weekly