MARIA Moxham has done what many of us talk about doing. She has ditched her 30 year career as a senior executive in social housing, and gone it alone, setting up in a business inspired by the American property market.

She has launched a ‘home staging’ business, Everdene and Lloyd, and is the first to try the idea out in rural Wiltshire. To kickstart things, she is looking for a couple of homes to stage for free as a case study for her new venture. The idea of ‘home staging’ is already proving popular with the London property market.

Home staging is, essentially, a makeover. And while it may sound like the fodder of reality TV shows, Maria says its proven success is rooted in solid research which she claims makes homes sell three times faster than they would otherwise.

“I’d like to offer my services to someone who is interested to see if staging works, and I am also keen to work with local builders to create impersonal but stylish homes to appeal to the target market and the maximum number of buyers,” she said.

Maria claims a prospective buyer/tenant will form an initial impression of a property within seven-10 seconds of walking through the front door.

“They may not even make it into the hallway if the kerb appeal fails to wow them. First impressions are often final opinions,” she said. “We source our furniture, soft furnishings and artwork locally where possible, also supporting upcycling, transforming items to create that unique look.” Additionally, she says there’s a monetary reason to stage too, claiming that homes that have been staged also sell for 10-17% more than a home that has not been staged.” Maria spent 10 years in senior executive roles running multi million pound capital projects for the NHS and running support, property and estate services for charities.