Despite the warm spell, London's property market is still feeling the chill.
Nationwide reported the slowest growth rate in London – just two per cent – in five years this week. So how can you make your home more attractive to buyers in this throughly uninspiring climate?
We know the simple rules – clean up, tidy up and do those small fixes. Experts also advise “de-personalisation”, taking down photos and mementoes so that the house speaks for itself, rather than coming across as your home. “The psychology of homebuying is one of aspiration,” says Louisa Brodie, head of homefinding for Banda Property. Look at your home as if you were coming through the front door for the first time.
Having great art beautifully displayed says “affluence” and “taste” to prospective buyers. And, as luck would have it, one of the biggest cross-collecting fairs in the world, Masterpiece London, is back in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea this week with 160 exhibitors to browse. So how can you use art to entice prospective homeowners?
Sneakily, this doesn’t have to be art you actually own. In the US and Australia, “staging” a property for sale is not unusual; it might sell much quicker by having key pieces of furniture and decorative objects added by a staging company. After you’ve taken down holiday photos and heirloom pieces, think about hiring art or sculpture that will enhance every room. “Adding works of art, be they paintings, photographs, sculpture, ceramics and even tapestries enhances a sale,” says Chris Currell of Currell estate agents.
After all, this is what interior designers of show apartments do all the time. Orford House is a good-looking new-build family home in Chelsea. For the property’s sale (£9m according to selling agent Russell Simpson), Banda commissioned Carrie Scott of CS&P to curate the art.
In the sitting room hangs a work by the big-name photographer Nick Knight called Blade of Light, which is all about colour and movement and was chosen to complement the warmth of the room’s wood and the coolness of its stone. Scott has considered each room individually and styled the art to bring out the best in each existing ambience. Every piece helps to draw a room together for prospective buyers, rather than being the standout feature.
“On a simple level, art and sculpture can lend personality, colour and warmth to a room,” says Louisa Brodie. “Then, in a practical way, it can be used to emphasise an impressive ceiling height, to make a statement in an entrance hall or fill a void that could otherwise be cold or daunting to a prospective buyer.
“I’ve seen art and sculpture used to lighten dark corners and draw attention away from less attractive features.”
Art advisors can often offer the same service to homeowners looking to sell as they would to a developer, and work to a brief and budget in just the same way. As well as Carrie Scott’s service, Amanda Lambert is an art advisor to private clients, and Nicholas Campbell of Narcissus Arts is also making a name in the field.
“Ultimately, hiring art helps to sell the dream,” says Louisa Brodie, “and selling the dream is what it’s all about.”
Visit carrie-scott.com, aklambert.com and narcissusarts.com to find out more about hiring an art consultant for your home