New Homes - London News Shopper
"Are you familiar with the House Doctor Ann Maurice, the razor tongued presenter of Five's hit home series?
She has made her name in home staging. This is a process where a property is restyled and often redecorated to make it appeal to a wider market of house hunters - and therefore sell faster, potentially for a higher price.
The house doctor banishes bad bathrooms, declutters dining rooms and calms colour schemes to straighten out the chinks in the property chain.
Brian Cotsen was on a career break from personal training when he first discovered House Doctor. He had been spending his time renovating and styling the homes of family and friends and he found Ann's techniques and knowledge inspiring.
He even admired her curt comments and shades, worn to shield her eyes from decor faux pas.
So he emiled Ann some of his house staging ideas. To his surprise she replied and took his number.
A few months later the show's producer called Brian, interviewed him and offered a job of location coordinator.
During his three series on the show, Brian developed a sound knowledge of home staging, assisted Ann Maurice with House Doctoring seminars and took interior design courses to further his skills.
Since the show, Brian has been helping clients to stage their homes for sale all over the south east. Some of his most recent makeovers have been in Bromley and Beckenham.
He feels home staging is equally as important, if not more so, than the interior design of a home, in order to sell it.
To get people to understand this concept, Brian has designed a ten-step course which people can get by subscribing for free on his website.
He said "property staging is new and people can get confused with interior design, which is why I want to educate the public on shaping their property to a 'buyers' not a 'seller's' needs."
"I work on taking the personality out but not the soul. Big Personalities don't sell in a property, quite the opposite from interior design."
Brian's course covers the use of colour, light, space and atmosphere to your advantage when trying to sell your property and his formula has had many successes in the past.
One London home, which had beed static on the market for 18 months, priced around £250,000 was sold within a month after its stagings, for more thatn £300,000. Brian's budget? A mere £7,000.
"I set about removing the emotional triggers" explains Brian. "Buyers want to picture themselves in the property not be reminded of someone else."
Other tricks include spinning a background colour through the property and using it in varying shades in different rooms to create a theme. He creates depth and interest with light, by putting illumination around the edges, not just in the centre, of a room and aims to give the eyes (of the viewer) something nice to rest on by creating focal points.
"I also eliminate warning signals" says Brian. "unfinished DIY or repairs are the green light for lower offers"
Clutter, unpleasant smells and sounds and items, such as stuffed stuffed toys which, according to Brian, are notoriously hard to get a seller to part with, are all off putting to buyers.
Brian Says the property industry needs to stop holding onto its secrets. He hopes to develop a range of courses to make staging and style much more accessible, advising on issues such as sustainable style and green living.
For more information visit property-coach.co.uk.