Thursday, August 21, 2014

All about Home Staging

So what is home staging?

In the words of a home buying/selling expert, it is about illusion. It is how David Copperfield would sell a house. It's about perfecting the art of creating moods. Home staging makes your apartment looks bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, more loving and, best of all, it makes potential home buyers want to buy it and tenants want to rent it.      

Home staging, or sometimes referred to as "property presentation" or "property styling", is a very established business in the United States and UK. But the concept is still fairly new to Singapore, with only a handful of companies performing the service.  

According to a home staging service provider, there are three distinct features in the home staging approach: 
1. Creating universal appeal -   This differentiates home staging from interior decorating. The later is centred around the owner's taste and not "everyone". Universal appeal maximizes your pool of potential buyers or tenants. 

2. Suggestion of a lifestyle -   Home staging aims to suggest a lifestyle to aspire to which is connected to the property. This creates a reason beyond the "brick and mortar" considerations. 

3. Creating emotional trigger-points -   Creating a "bond" to the property by eliciting emotionally charged "wow" moments. 

The wife and I were invited by the good folks at Singapore Furniture Rental Pte Ltd (SFR) to witness and blog about the home staging process.  We must admit that prior to this, we have little knowledge about home staging and have largely associated it with what we see in showflats at new launches. Thus we were glad to have the opportunity to learn more about the service. 

SFR is a relative new company founded by 4 young entrepreneurs. It is the first and only furniture rental company that provides home staging services in Singapore. The company has been in the furniture rental business for a year now and have started providing home staging services about 3 months ago. Unlike other service providers, SFR possess a vast array of furniture that they have put on their online catalogue.
During the span of 3 months, SFR has completed 6 staging and their portfolio included conservation shop-houses, condo apartments and land homes. The company operates out of a warehouse and office in the Northern part of Singapore (where all the furniture are stored) and outsources the transport and assembly to dedicated partners in order to keep operating costs low. 

SFR provides both long- and short-term furniture rentals. There are also rental packages available for the longer leases. But for home staging purposes, a short-term lease of 3 months is common. And should the unit be sold or rented out earlier than expected, e.g. within the first month, the customer can opt to terminate the rental contract prematurely without penalty as long as they have fulfilled at least one month on the lease. 

A home staging engagement typically begins with a free consultation cum site visit. Thereafter, a staging "floor-plan" is drawn with the proposed furniture set-up. The proposal is discussed and agreed with the customer and once agreed, the actual staging is ready to be performed within 5 days. 

The staging that the wife and I attended was for a condo unit of about 1,300sqft located in the Bukit Timah area, which was up for rental.  As the development is older and the unit concerned is located on the ground floor, it can be rather challenging to find tenants especially given the current market condition. Thus the marketing agent has decided (rightly so) to "differentiate his product" by home staging the unit prior to showing it to prospective tenants.                    

Given that property viewing usually last an average of about 10 to 15 minutes, it is crucial to provide the best first impression. All it usually takes is the first couple of seconds for the potential buyer/tenant to decide if they are interested in the apartment. And as you can clearly see from the "before and after" photos, a nicely furnished apartment provides far better eye-candy compared to a bare unit.    
Living/Dining (Before)
Kitchen (Before)                                                    Kitchen (After)

Master Bedroom (Before)                                   Master Bedroom (After)
Living/Dining (After)
And for smaller apartments, home staging may provide prospective buyers/tenants with a better perception of space.    

With the large number of new apartments expected to come on-stream within the next two years, both buyers and tenants will be spoilt for choice. As such, it may be increasingly important for older apartments to distinguish themselves to compete with their newer counterparts. And even within the new property sector, the deluge of new homes will definitely create more intense competition on both the resale and rental fronts. So home staging does provide the option for property investors to differentiate their units from others, thereby nudging prospective buyers/tenants over their tipping points to buy or rent.  



Anonymous said...

Hi how do I go about contacting them? Nobody answered the call

I need to stage my home for rental. Do I mention your blog (to get a discount)?

The Folks @SG PropTalk said...

Hi Anonymous (21/8/14, 1:50PM):

Drop us an email and we will reply with the mobile number of the person we liaise with. Meantime, we will feedback your inability to get through to them.

As for the discount, you can certainly try but we do not have any specific arrangement with SFR. :-)

The Folks @SG PropTalk said...

Update: Just got word that there was some technical problem with the SFR land-line during the early part of today, but this is now fixed.

So there should be no problem getting through to them now.

K said...


Do you know anyone who can assist to recommend and perform the minimal renovation to "spruce/update" a unit up for rental again?


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