Kath Evans has enough furniture to fill 15 houses.
But the businesswoman isn’t a property tycoon or a hoarder – for five years she’s been kitting out other people’s empty homes to help them sell.
Vendors and real estate agents are turning more than ever to ‘home-staging’, where a whole house or some of its rooms are made to look more liveable.
Interior designer Evans, whose Peak Interiors has a home-staging division, says most people can’t visualise what an empty house could look like when it’s furnished, and where furniture and objects can be placed.
“We’ve been staging now for five years, and all of a sudden agents are really getting it.
“They’re getting record prices for houses that are staged.”
Evans says her service extends to new and existing houses and apartments in Queenstown and throughout the Southern Lakes.
Quite often she’s commissioned by overseas owners who have a rental property which they want to sell after their tenants have moved out, at which stage the house might be fairly devoid of fixtures and fittings.
“People buy with their eyes, and a vacant house just has a cold, empty feel, especially if it has a lot of glass.”
Evans says she’s commissioned by either vendors or agents to home-stage a house.
“Each house is individual, so we pick a story that suits the house.”
Her business has no fewer than 15 house-loads of furniture to choose from, including a huge art collection.
Evans’ assistant Jemma Goodman says the trick is to make the home look as lived-in as possible.
Little touches like art, magazines, fruit bowls, flowers and plants all help, she notes.
“We sometimes even put plants in a box outside the front door.
“We’ll normally go with a colour palette – if we’re using green in the kitchen, we might have a recipe book open at a green page, so it all goes together.”
Evans says vendors and agents rent her furniture and objects for a minimum of one month, then afterwards, if they like, week-by-week.
“It can be anything from $2000 to $4000, it depends how many bedrooms, how many living rooms there are.
“A lot of Queenstown houses are huge, and often have a lounge, living room, dining room and media room.”
Local New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty sales associate Suzanne Vidak is one of many agents who regularly use Peak Interiors to home-stage her property listings.
She gives the example of an Alpine Retreat property that Evans staged at her request.
“We achieved a fantastic sale for it within four months of listing, along with an excellent enquiry level,” she says.
A testimonial by the vendors says they were impressed and delighted with Peak Interiors’ home-staging, “which greatly assisted in the sale of our beautiful alpine property”.