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  • Writer's pictureJohn Patrick

"Home Staging Blunders to Avoid for a Faster Sell: My Personal Top10 List"

Updated: Apr 8

Home staging is an essential part of the process of preparing a home or apartment for sale. It involves setting up the property in a way that attracts potential buyers and increases its value. Home staging is an art, and it is easy to make mistakes that can compromise the success of the sale. This blog highlights my personal top ten most commonly made mistakes in non-professional home staging.

  1. Over-decorating/Under-decorating: It is essential to create a clean, and uncluttered space to appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers. Over-decorating or adding too much personality to the home can be a turn-off and can distract buyers from the home's features. Also avoid over-simplifying or under-decorating and removing all of the personality. This is a delicate balance, and has taken me years of trial and error to perfect. Bare floors, recently painted white walls without any art, and all the furniture pushed against the walls make it difficult for your buyer to envision themselves in the space. Tasteful, on-trend design draws your buyer in, and keeps them interested.

  2. Ignoring Curb Appeal: First impressions matter, and the exterior of your home is the first thing potential buyers will see. Neglecting curb appeal can be a significant mistake. Make sure the landscaping is well-groomed, the house numbers are visible, and the exterior of the home is in good condition. In an apartment building, make sure your entry door is freshly painted, and that the door bell works. Wipe away any debris or dirt accumulation from around the door and threshold. Tip your doorman so he is courteous to anyone attending your open house.

  3. Clutter: Clutter is a big no-no when it comes to home staging. A cluttered home makes it extremely difficult for buyers to see past your stuff and envision themselves living there. Clear out all the excess items, organize closets, and remove any unnecessary items. Clutter generally implies to potential buyers that there is a lack of proper storage in the property. This is especially true in the kitchen. Too many items on the countertops means not enough cabinet space! A well-designed or updated kitchen is usually in the top five wish list items for most buyers across the board.

  4. Poor Lighting: Lighting is crucial in setting the mood and ambiance of a room. Poor lighting can make the space feel gloomy and uninviting. Open all of your window treatments, make sure all the lights work, and if needed, add additional lighting sources (table lamps, floor lamps, wall sconces). Lack of light is one of the most commonly received issues in feedback from buyers who do not make an offer!

  5. Misplaced Furniture: Incorrectly placing furniture can make a room feel awkward and unbalanced. Avoid pushing all of your furniture against the walls. It is essential to create a clear traffic flow and use appropriately sized furniture for each room. Buyers need to be able to clearly navigate through your space. Less is more!

  6. Personal Items: Personal items such as family photos, political posters, and religious items can be a distraction and make it challenging for potential buyers to envision themselves living in the home. Remove all personal items and replace them with neutral decor. A favorite of mine is to hang abstract art on the walls, mixed-in with black and white photography.

  7. Strong Smells: Odors from pets, smoking, and cooking can be a turn-off to potential buyers. Make sure to eliminate any strong smells and keep the home fresh and clean. Scented candles and heavily fragranced room sprays are also a no-no. Use white vinegar to clean, and open the windows. A strongly scented home makes buyers wonder what you are covering up with the fragrance.

  8. Paint Colors: Bold and bright or dark and moody colors may be your personal preference, but they are not appealing to everyone. Use neutral paint colors such as creamy soft beiges, cool-toned white, or gray (blue or green based) to appeal to a broader range of potential buyers. A pop of color in art or a pillow is OK. Avoid sterile, stark hospital whites or yellow-toned beige paint.

  9. Neglecting the Details: Small details can make a big difference. Make sure to replace any burnt-out light bulbs, fix any leaky faucets, and touch up any scuffed or chipped paint. Ensure that all of your cabinet doors, closet doors and room egress doors are in alignment, and that the hardware is clean and functional. Overlooking these items makes your home appear to be neglected or in poor repair, and in need of updating.

  10. Not Hiring a Professional: Home staging is an art, and it is easy to make mistakes. Hiring a professional home stager can ensure that your home is presented in the best possible light and can increase the chances of a successful sale. Professionally staged homes sell 80% faster and for 20% more than competing non-staged homes. Home staging usually costs less than the first price improvement for lack of offers, and is fully tax deductible from your Capital Gains tax (in most cases).

In conclusion, home staging is a crucial process when it comes to selling a home. Avoiding these common mistakes can help ensure a successful sale and maximize the home's value. Remember, the goal of home staging is to make the best possible first impression with potential buyers so that they feel welcome, comfortable, and excited about the possibility of making your house their home.




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