In this interview, we are joined by Angela Cox – Managing Director and Home Stager Specialist at The Style Counsellor. With 19 years of experience and knowledge in property management and lettings, Angela knows how property sales work from within and managing
The Style Counsellor can turn any house into an attractive property that will become a “no brainer” for the right property buyer.
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Who are The Style Counsellor and Angela Cox?
My name is Angela Cox, and I am the Managing Director of The Style Counsellor Ltd which was founded in 2021.
I work alone but am part of a wonderful network of other qualified stagers who collaborate and support each other around the Country.
My home staging, styling and interior services cover Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and the South West into Devon.
I am a qualified Home Staging and Styling Professional helping my clients achieve the best price for their home, whether that’s home to sell, holiday home or a new build for a developer.
The standard of service I provide to my Clients is very high, I pride myself on that and my level of knowledge in the property business, having worked within the sector for nearly 20 years – there’s not much I haven’t seen and can’t help with !!
What made you enter the home staging business?
For the last 19 years, I have worked in the Residential Lettings and Property Management sector, 15 of those working for myself within my own successful sales and lettings agency.
I realised that it was the design and layout of a property, as well as the advising and preparation for sale or let, that I enjoyed the most and could really turn my hand to so I made enquiries and enrolled on a BTEC course in Interior Design with the British Academy of Interior Design in London.
Making a property attractive to the potential owner, or renter was becoming more interesting to me than dealing with maintenance calls.
I came across an officially recognised service called Home Staging and immediately thought that this was something I could definitely connect and engage with so enrolled on a course and qualified in June 2021.
I am continuing my studies with the BTEC in Interior Design but the business side of things has already started with The Style Counsellor changing empty shells into welcoming homes, or emptying some homes a little before the property goes on the market !!
What are your primary responsibilities at The Style Counsellor?
To change empty, unloved, unwelcoming or cluttered homes into warm, inviting, interesting ones. To inspire and create beautiful homes, to create the lifestyle image that in turn creates the desire to move into or rent that particular home over any other.
What milestones you have set for The Style Counsellor in the new 12 months
To continue to grow the business and promote the various different services that we offer, whether that’s re-designing an existing room in a property or helping home owners and developers stage a complete property for sale or rent.
Describe your preferred design style?
I like to mix things up a little; I guess natural colours with strong contrasts and different textures. For example, layering and creating interest with fabrics and lighting in more minimal settings than fussy, smaller and delicate prints.
I would say that the majority of the home staging work dictates a contemporary style, but for my interior design work, interestingly, I also like working with the mid-century influences.
From where do you draw inspiration for each staging?
Each project requires a lot of research, there is no one size fits all with designing, each room is different, a different size or shape and each Client has different needs and wants.
I carry out research on line, within magazines, trade shows and exhibitions and with my peers. There are so many points of research available that you can drown in ideas so for me the best starting point is always the Client Brief.
What are the challenges of being a home stager in the UK?
The housing market is still buoyant and there are many Estate Agents and homeowners that believe that they don’t need to present their home in any particular way, that it will sell anyway.
It is my aim to educate Agents and homeowners to realise that they would achieve an even higher price and sell their property faster if they were to stage it and dress it as beautifully as possible. There are many statistics that prove this to be the case that can be found on the Home Staging Association website.
What is the wrong way to do home staging?
Thinking that removing everything from the home will create that ‘uncluttered look’ – by all means remove all personal items but property needs to feel as though you can live in it.
There needs to be comfort and a purpose to each room. In contrast, putting lots of incidental and unnecessary soft furnishings and accessories into a room will overpower it. There is an art to this service, understanding colours, lighting, shade and space is vital.
What are the most common objections you hear from people about home staging?
That it will cost too much, that they can’t live in a ‘show home’, that it won’t make any difference and isn’t necessary.
How can homeowners prepare for home staging consultation/session?
They can think about what they can and can’t live without if it is an occupied staging. Perhaps some items will need to go into storage, some may be removed completely.
They will have to be open to ideas that may change their current layout or challenge their style preferences. The best preparation is to be open to all suggestions but to also think about the end goal and result and to focus on that.
On what projects do you work on at the moment?
We have recently completed a two-bedroom show apartment in an office conversion. This was very challenging as the timescale was incredibly tight and the bedrooms were very narrow.
Finding furniture at short notice that would fit into the rooms but still show the rooms were big enough to take double beds was tough but with some ingenuity and research, I found everything I needed.
I’m also working on an Air BnB farmhouse rental and several complete refurbishments that will soon go on the market for sale.
What would be your advice to someone who is not sure if they need home staging for their listing?
Make contact with your local Home Staging professional and have a look at their portfolio. Give them a call and find out a little more about the different services they may offer.
For as little as 1% of the house price, they could really change the first impression that their potential buyers get to see online. So many properties are discounted on an online search because of their presentation. Making sure theirs gets seen and then booked for a viewing and an offer is an ultimate goal.
How did you find your first home staging client?
We advertise in local parish magazines and online social media as well as our website and trade organisations.
Our first client came from one of the smaller local magazines.
Once a decision has been made to sell or let property the whole relationship with that property has to change.
It has to take on a new purpose and personality for the owner and without the help and guidance of a professional changing a home into something that others will find attractive is not always easy or achievable.
By employing the services of a Home Staging professional you are likely to achieve up to 8% more than the competition and spend 50% less time on the market * (sources HSA Report 2020 and Rightmove).