Aquarius Home Staging in Wimbledon can help you increase the appeal of your property so you can sell or let faster and achieve the highest possible value for it…
The founder, Maria Ward was involved in interior design for many years before she decided it was time to direct her interest toward real estate and start using her expertise in a different way by doing home staging. Her aim is to help sellers, landlords and property developers reach a wide range of potential buyers and tenants when selling or letting a property and take the burden of the property styling and presentation off their shoulders.
Aquarius Home Staging can help transform your home ready to sell by:
– removing or re-arranging the furniture to maximise the space (we can temporarily store some pieces)
– minor repairs to the obvious faults and paint touch-ups
– adding some modern accessories and art, even pieces of furniture if needed; it is possible to just rent some pieces and save the cost of buying new ones if they are not needed in future
– adding colour and warmth through cushions, curtains and flowers
– taking care of the front appeal of the property as well as the garden
We got in touch with Maria to learn a bit more about exactly what inspired her to start Aquarius Home Staging, and learn more about the mechanisms that make her business tick:
· Who/ What inspired you to start your own business?
I was inspired to start my own business after being involved in home staging whilst in America. That had been through estate agents and I’d never really had free reign. Before that I had my own interior design company, but since starting a family and wanting a little bit more flexibility and a less intensive and prolonged process, I thought about switching to home staging full time. So, I plucked up the confidence, and applied my previous experience to starting my own business, where I could be creative, help people and do what I love, on my own terms.
· What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
The biggest challenge is spreading the word about home staging here in the UK, and showing people that it really does work. In America, a house is never sold without being staged, but here hardly anyone knows about it, let alone the benefits. Lots of people brush it off as an expensive, stressful and unnecessary enterprise, but it is cost-effective and requires minimal upheaval! It normally takes a day and houses can sell up to 3x faster and achieve up to 10% more than non-staged properties- this means no price reductions or sitting on the market! Other than that, the fact that I do everything on my own can sometimes be a challenge. It really is a one-woman enterprise. I occasionally work with movers to bring in bigger furniture, and handymen where needed. But, all of the styling is done by me. That means sourcing the soft furnishings, artwork, accessories, and even furniture and then installing it all myself.
· What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
I love being able to help people through doing what I really enjoy. The whole process of thinking about how to maximise a space, choosing accessories and even furniture where necessary, is such a thrill for me. It is so satisfying seeing the before and after, and of course getting fabulous results and quick sales, but I truly enjoy just finding ways to make every space even more beautiful and reach its full potential. Helping people through such an important part of their lives is a privilege, and seeing their reactions to the result is so fulfilling.
· Which product/service have you enjoyed creating the most?
One of my highlights was the first empty house I staged. It was the first time I wasn’t working with an inhabited property, so the approach was quite different. Instead of thinking about decluttering and seeing which accessories would complement pre-existing attractive features in the rooms, I had a blank canvas to just let loose on! It was refreshing to think differently and I was really proud of the outcome. The house also sold in 10 days which was so gratifying.
· How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day/International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day has always been a hugely important part of my life. It was so central to my upbringing that I actually put more emphasis on it than Mother’s Day! So, my family made me dinner and bought me flowers. It was so lovely just to spend time with them, even if we couldn’t go out and properly celebrate. I had a day off work and relaxed, but I did go to a webinar that Lucy Kane of Wimbledon Time and Leisure invited me to- Inspiring Leadership on International Women’s Day. It was so nice to feel that community on such an important day for me.
· What advice would you like to pass on?
Be bold and take the plunge! It is never too late to follow your dreams. I started this business in my fifties, after a long break from work to raise a family. Prior to even my interior design business, I had been a teacher- but I knew that it wouldn’t be fulfilling in the long term. So, I took a risk and re-trained, and it paid off. I had to keep reminding myself when I started that it was my life, and if something wasn’t right, I had the power to change it. So, without trying to sound cliché, I would say follow your heart! And don’t be afraid if business doesn’t immediately pick up, once the groundwork is set and people start to hear more and more about you, the ball will start rolling! It is really just holding out in that first push, and not doubting yourself.
If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I would say to go for it and not wait too long to follow what you truly want to do.
Written By: Hannah Ablett | Deputy Editor
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