Styling a home for sale: everything you need to know

Australian property is an incredible asset, so when it comes to selling your  home, it pays to put your best foot forward.

Property styling is designed to make your home appeal to the broadest market possible, so it attracts more attention and a higher sale price and spends fewer days on the market.

Find out how to maximise your home’s value by styling it for sale – either working with a professional property stylist or following their DIY tips. 

What is property styling for sale?

‘Styling for sale’ refers to a home being styled or staged specifically when marketed for sale. The intention is to attract as many buyers as possible by highlighting a home’s best features through the selection of appealing furniture and accessories.

Real estate agents will often advise vendors on tricks to help style their home for sale, or they may recommend using a professional property stylist who understands the market and can do the heavy lifting for you.

What are the benefits of home styling for sale? 

With more than 500,000 properties (according to Core Logic data) sold in Australia throughout 2022 – styling your home for sale offers a chance to stand out in the crowded market. 

Creating a memorable experience for potential buyers is the goal of The Real Estate Stylist, a company that specialises in styling properties according to their design, location, and target market.

‘If you can create cut-through online, then deliver an experience when people are in the home, you're putting your property as a frontrunner in a market where buyers have got a lot of choice,’ says Sara Chamberlain, director of The Real Estate Stylist.

The financial benefit of engaging a professional stylist is the main drawcard styled properties could sell faster and at a higher price point than comparable unstyled properties.

‘We believe anecdotal research would suggest that for every $1,000 you're putting into a property styling, you should be looking to get $5,000 back,’ says Sara. 

What are buyers looking for when inspecting a home?

Buyers will consider a number of factors during a home inspection – everything from the architectural style to the location and size of the property. A professional stylist will consider all these elements and tailor their furniture and decor selections accordingly.

‘When we are doing our styling, our approach is that we always lead from the architecture first,’ says Sara. 

‘The architecture is going to be what the people buy. The furniture and the flowers don’t come with the house, so we know that somebody who falls in love with the Queenslander versus somebody who falls in love with the beach view apartment is naturally inclined to like a particular style, so we lean into that.’

While in the past many property stylists may have focused on creating a blank canvas for buyers to imagine themselves in the space, Sara says the market has evolved to embrace homes that offer more personality and ‘wow factor’. 

Good property styling will also instil a home with a lived-in feel, leaving buyers wondering whether it’s been staged, or does in fact feature the owner’s original furnishings.  

What can I expect when working with a professional property stylist?

Most property styling companies offer both full and partial install services. A full install is the most common, where all the vendor’s existing furniture is removed and replaced by the stylist’s own pieces. 

Some companies have an inventory of items that they own and use to style properties, while others may loan items specifically for each project. These items will be arranged in the home prior to photography until the end of the sales campaign – generally around five weeks. 

Based on the size of the home, the price of full install generally ranges from $5,000 to $20,000, with very large homes costing up to $40,000.

Sara says one point to keep in mind is that you’re hiring a property stylist for their vision and experience, so it’s important to step back and allow them to take control. 

‘You'll always be directed by a stylist,’ she explains. ‘There's not the opportunity for you to go and make your own personal choices from their inventory.’ 

How do I know if a property stylist is right for me? 

With the exception of properties being sold for their land value alone, every home could benefit from some sort of property styling.

‘It's exactly like selling a car. It doesn't matter what type of car you're selling or how expensive your particular model is, you should always have it detailed and you should always take the time to have it looking spick and span for your sale,’ says Sara. 

Professional stylists work in all manner of spaces, using their skills to create balance in large homes; to define zones in houses with open plan layouts; and to elevate apartments so they offer a point of difference. 

Tips for DIY property styling

Get your home looking its best with these DIY styling-for-sale tips:

  • Freshen up any dated colours with a natural white paint.
  • Remove personal items such as photographs and sentimental artworks.
  • Air out your house to ensure there are no lingering smells.
  • Make an impression on entry with a clearly marked house number, a new doormat and brightly painted front door.
  • Remove purely decorative window coverings to enhance the size of a room.
  • Turn lights off for photography, but keep them on during house inspections.
  • Swap printed bed linen for plain white doona covers.

Ready to make the move?

If you're thinking it's time to sell up, one of our BOQ home loan specialists is here to help with your fresh start.

Find your nearest BOQ Branch