WITH Zoopla forecasting that one in 16 properties in the UK were on track to have been sold in the past year, and the UK House Price Index valuing the average price of a property to be over £274,000 – reflecting a 10.8% annual price change – can sustainability create a buzz around your property amid the hot market while ascertaining value for money?
Observing current price rises and the shift in eco-conscious consumer habits, Kirsty Fisher, business development manager at national home staging firm Lemon and Lime Interiors, believes that home staging with sustainability front and centre is an approach that can help increase a seller’s odds of attracting immediate and lucrative offers.
She says: “Sustainability is having a huge influence on the purchasing decisions of buyers. Whether it be long-lasting and energy-saving alternatives in a home or the presentation of upcycled furnishings on initial viewings, current buyers are finding themselves more drawn to eco-friendly spaces.
“The very concept of home staging is circular in its methodology. It’s about refurbishing and reusing over repurchasing. We have forged partnerships with furniture and wall art rental companies, we re-paint and upcycle our stocked furnishings, and we have even been known to use crates to stage a bed instead of purchasing something new to fit out the room.”
“We will also look at what furnishings the home already has available to us, is there an item that can be recovered, should we be re-painting or adding to built-in wardrobes and units to improve their appeal, tying them into the overall look and feel of the home?”
Kirsty says for vendors and developers, a sustainable model such as home staging often means for a more cost-efficient improvement to the home when putting it on the market, driving better return value.
“As home stagers, we cannot make wholesale sustainability changes like installing solar panels or a heat source pump, but instead we look to create a captivating living environment that demonstrates resourcefulness and longevity to the materials and items within its homely spaces.”
Sustainable living spaces
With the working from home phenomenon still at the fore of buyers’ minds, home staging is about creating a space that feels natural and functional.
Kirsty says: “Adorning both your outdoor and indoor space with plants and eco-friendly designs, opening up dark spaces with lighter, more natural materials and creating cosy eco-hubs in your garden space is just one way to improve your home’s interest.
“If you’re looking to put your home on the market, spring is a great time to invest in your outdoor appeal. Wildflower gardens are great eco-systems for insects and breaking these up with long textural grasses and reed-like woven pots with muted tones can give a sense of relaxation.
“We are also seeing buyers intrigue pique with wooden furnishings such as large dining tables created from repurposed parquet pallet wood, and private serene spaces in gardens created with bamboo screening and ‘living’ walls made of plants and moss.”
The arrival of eco-homes
Smart home technologies have also revolutionised sustainable homes over the past five years. Home automation systems such as Hive are becoming more commonplace, projecting to be integrated in over 45% of homes by the end of this year (Statista, 2022).
“As more people become accustomed to living with smart home technologies, buyers are increasingly seeking integrations in properties that they view – so they can relate to their current experiences or can envision themselves living within their new surroundings.
“To captivate attention, developers should be looking to cultivate sustainable ways of living – not just in homes but as part of a greater community. Gusto Homes are one such shining example, providing communal wellbeing spaces and allotments accessible to all residents. In this respect, with sustainability comes an added sense of community, something which can stand you apart from the competition.”
The introduction of the Future Homes Standard aims to make a tremendous leap in sustainable residential development, ensuring a 75-80% reduction in carbon emissions for new homes built from 2025. The increased uptake of Passivhaus principles to reduce energy demand also hopes to change what buyers can expect from new builds at their price point.
Kirsty adds: “Framing sustainable home and community features front and centre when putting the property to market – albeit with smart technology integration and making use of natural resources – is a sure-fire way to captivate the attention of buyers. “Sustainability is as a need, not a want from future buyers, as people seek greater value when parting with their cash – and therefore the process of staging and selling a property must shift accordingly.”