28.11.2015

Specialist property stylist can now manage work flow

A glance at the food section of the weekend colour supplements reveals just how powerful an incentive quality styling can be to the readers’ perception. Ingredients which would be considered dull or uninspiring on the supermarket shelf take on a brilliance and ‘must have’ quality in the hands of a skilled food stylist.

Move the game up a few leagues to property purchasing, and styling can make all the difference between a new-build being sold before the paint has dried, and remaining (expensively) on the developer’s books for months. A handful of specialist interior styling companies have carved out a niche for themselves working on the all-important show houses for developers. Of course there the often quoted examples of ‘creative’ styling where rooms are fitted out with specially made reduced size furniture to create the impression of space, but the style practitioners generally rely on their presentational skills to help their clients sell new properties.

Retirement housing requires additional consideration over styling

The market for dedicated retirement homes is an important sub-set of the total property scene; inevitably a growing sector which requires a careful focus on the styling to differentiate the successful sales from the also-rans. First impressions can make or break a sale at a time when prospective buyers may be viewing their purchase as their last move along the property-owning spectrum. It has to be right.

Many of the properties in question are ‘community’ developments with shared facilities such as corridors and lounge areas that are viewed as part of the total ‘package’ on offer. The stylists’ brief therefore extends far beyond the boundary of a single show bedroom or adapted kitchen.

How the specialist stylists operate as part of this property ‘supply chain’ is interesting, as it creates a demand for the order finance services provided by companies within the Trade & Export Finance group of companies. The styling contractors are typically given a date for when their services are required: that can be more than a year from the starting point. Any delays in completing the main build have an impact upon those companies which have had to commit to beds, sofas, carpets and other furnishings, and have made at least a part payment for them.

While they may well have contracted with invoice discounting companies to finance the sale from the point of heir completion to payment by the developer, there are no similar financial facilities for covering the initial outlay. Traditional bank finance is usually not a possibility as the invoice discounter will have secured its own funding by a charge over the supplier’s assets. Once utilised, that security cannot be applied against other conventional loans to that company.

Funding has enabled stylist to cope with variations in work flow

UK EXIM Finance, an order finance specialist within TAEFL, was able to take a different approach. It has agreed to purchase the furnishings required by its client. While retaining title to this stock as inherent security, it releases the fabrics and furniture to complete the contract, having first established that the ultimate purchaser (the property developer) has a sufficiently high credit limit and is therefore able to meet its obligations when invoiced.

The interior stylist which has become the UK EXIM Finance client has been handling an average of four development projects across the UK at a time. With access to the additional working capital (UK EXIM Finance has set a £200,000 ceiling), the company can take on additional projects and see its business grow.

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