October 18, 2019
We recently had the opportunity to share our thoughts for common staging mistakes when listing your home. Check out what we and many other professionals in the industry had to share!
Staging Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home
With such a competitive housing market, staging is a critical step in the home selling process. Not only does it make your home stand out in listing photos, but it also helps it appeal to a wide range of potential buyers. A well-staged home will mask years of wear and tear, and can help it sell faster and for more money.
However, the simplest mistakes can be deal-breaking. Which is why we asked home staging and design experts to share some of the biggest staging mistakes they’ve encountered that can turn potential buyers off.
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners can make is not working with a professional stager to create a plan for success when preparing their homes for sale. Stagers look at the home in a holistic way and address potential items that would deter a buyer from moving forward.
– Amy Parker, Parker House Designs
Today’s buyers are looking for homes that have been well cared for and are move-in ready. Listing a home before it is ready is a mistake that will result in low buyer traffic and lower-than-list-price offers.
– Kimberly Bowlin, Southern Allure Staging & Design
Three things sell a home: location, price, and condition. You, as the seller, are in total control of the condition. Therefore, taking the time to do the tasks advised by your real estate agent or home stager will pay off in the end.
– Mikaela Rios, Imagine Gurus
As important as it is to show your staged home to visiting prospective buyers, it is equally important that the pictures of your staged home are professionally shot and displayed on listing websites.
– Nidhika Singh, Impressive Staging
Areas that require attention and are inexpensive to fix are worth going the extra mile to take care of. It allows for clearer professional images and shows potential buyers that care was given to the home.
– Dominique Calhoun, Remix Living Interior Design Firm
A common and easily remedied home staging mistake is to not update the wall/trim/cabinet paint colors and light fixtures. Fresh paint and light fixtures take decades off the look of a house and add so much more value than cost.
– Cindy Gasior, Transitions Staging
While making simple home improvements will provide a great return, all-out renovations with floor plan changes and high-end finishes will likely not be a wise investment.
– Catherine Heleniak, Catherine Heleniak Home Staging
Items like wallpaper borders, Corian countertops, sponged painted walls, 1980’s swag draperies, dated light fixtures, and furniture from decades ago won’t do anything to attract buyers. Instead, remove the dated wallpaper and border. Add a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color. Remove dated window treatments and replace them with solid white or gray drapery panels. Update light fixtures. Upgrade countertops to quartz if possible, and if you have to have the dated furniture in the room, cover it with a neutral slipcover.
– Donna Allen, Dramatix Decor
The ideal height of art is 60 inches from the center of the picture to the floor. If the art is hanging over a furniture piece, like a headboard, the items may hang a few inches higher, but 60 inches is the magic number.
– Jana Uselton, Model My Home
Not neutralizing the color palette in a home will cause buyers to hesitate to commit to a purchase. Today’s buying demographic does not want to make any changes after moving in.
– Trish Kim, Staged Interior
Many sellers think that cleaning and doing a little organizing is the same as staging. It is not. Staging is merchandising a home to appeal to potential buyers. You focus on highlighting the home’s features and deemphasizing the home’s flaws. You create emotional connection points throughout the home to give the buyer a glimpse of what their life could be like if they were to purchase your home.
– Erin Brundage and Allison Sclavakis, Walker Hill Designs
Having a polished and clean look is important, however, giving a space that lived-in look is critical as well. Karate chop the throw pillows, toss the throw, and hang a brimmed hat on the entry hooks to give that desired organic feel buyers crave.
– Jenny Ruhland, HomeSpun Staging and Design
One of the biggest mistakes is not editing, preparing, or staging their homes properly to attract the target buyer in their area. Dated furnishings, wallpaper, dark paint colors, and older wall-to-wall carpets and cabinetry will not entice a buyer to come visit the home.
– Linda Leyble, A Beautiful Staged Home
Many people push their furniture against the walls to make the room look bigger. However, this backfires and actually makes rooms look smaller. One of the first things we do at every stage is push the living room seating arrangement inward to the center of the living room, and we love to float desks in the center of rooms to make them spacious.
– Suzette Gebhardt, Colorado Staging & Design
Pull the furniture off the walls to create a conversation area. It is important for the space you are selling to be understood. Confusing furniture placement is a turn-off to buyers.
– Jill Sykes, Go Room by Room
Often homeowners only straighten out closets and cabinets, when they should remove half of the stuff/clutter and then organize. Buyers will absolutely check these storage spaces.
– Barbara Quitoni, Creatively Transformed
Often we find stagers using indistinguishable furniture and accessories on every listing; a practice we know to be ineffective. The “cookie-cutter” approach does not attract potential buyers and is a big mistake if you want to add value to your property or sell it quickly.
– Marta Burlinska, Polka Dot Interiors
One of the biggest mistakes we see people make is staging their space too plainly. You want your home clean and simple, but not boring. There’s a balance.
– Christy McCarthy, Interiors Revitalized
When staging a home you have to make sure that you create a space potential homebuyers can visualize themselves in. Don’t leave too many personal photographs or specific items that are religious, or age-specific. This can alienate potential buyers.
– Lucila Diaz, Harmony Sense Interiors
A major mistake we’ve seen is someone showing a bright red bedroom with built-in black Formica furniture, and believing that everyone will love it as much as they do.
– Michelle Moss, Florida Coast Staging Company
The interior staging work is critical, but nothing on the inside matters if you can’t you grab their attention at the curb. Don’t overlook creating an attractive, exterior vignette setting as part of the overall staging process to entice potential buyers inside.
– Julie Brown, Flair Style Co.
You need to factor in scale and proportion of furniture when selling your home.
– Nicole Schenk, Simple Elements
If the furniture is too big, a space will feel cramped and small. Alternatively if it’s too small, you may leave more questions for buyers than answers on how to properly live in the space.
– Kimberly Hackett, KLH Home Staging
If the furniture is too small or too large, it will actually highlight the odd features of the home – such as a narrow room or a not ideal layout.
– Magda Grandin, Tactic Staging
There was this time I had given a great consultation and the sellers had a laundry list of items to take care of in a weeks’ time. They listed their home and were able to do everything I recommended. I was super excited, but when I looked at the MLS photos, I noticed they had stuffed everything under the bed and it was visible! Not checking under the bed can really affect how strong your home presents for its best-intended buyer.
– Martha Moore, Impeccable Details Staging & Redesign
When you decide to sell your home, it is no longer yours and should be staged to attract as many potential buyers as possible. Paint your purple walls a nice neutral, remove your taxidermy animals, and hide your grandmother’s ashes somewhere that no one can find them.
– Katherine Maund, Copeland + Co
Some sellers think that placing air fresheners throughout their home will make it more desirable. That is far from the truth. It makes potential buyers think that you are masking a bigger problem. The best scent is simply fresh air. Instead, open windows and doors before any showings.
– Ashley Schiff, AJ Designs Staging
Using scented plug-ins or candles can be a big mistake. Using chemical fragrances to mask smells will turn buyers off and trigger reactions for those who are perfume/fragrance sensitive.
– Rosalind Tantalo, Simply Home Downsizing
Staging is actually one of the best short-term investments a seller can make. Statistics show that an investment of 1-3% of the listing price can increase the final price by up to 8-10% – usually in just a few months. Not staging is leaving money on the table.
– Lisa Vasey, Staged Today, SOLD Tomorrow!
Before you even begin to put a staging plan together, a home needs to look, feel and smell clean. Any staging on top of that will make a home sparkle.
– Leah Jones, LJ Interiors
Ask your realtors to show you competitive listings in your local areas and see which are staged and show exceptionally well so that that you know what you’re up against. Even in a hot market, staging your home properly to accentuate the positives and minimize its imperfections is key to helping you achieve top dollar for what is likely your greatest financial investment.
– Nina Doiron, iStage & Organize
Less is more, always! We recommend keeping it simple and clean, allowing potential buyers to envision themselves in the space. The furniture and decor should never compete with the room, and its features, for attention.
– Victoria Moronta, Adorn Home Staging
Staging with too many decorations is one of the biggest mistakes a stager could make. We aim to show and enhance the space, not distract buyers with too much stuff.
– Parichehr Kimiaee, Belle Home Staging
One of the most important spaces to a buyer is the master bedroom and even more so if it is small. They want to see how the room will function and this room can make or break an offer. We recommend staging any master to showcase a sleeping and a sitting area (even if just one small chair) as buyers want to feel they have a “retreat” space.
– Kim Kapellusch, The Academy of Home Staging & Design
When it comes to choosing the right furniture for each space, it is important to be selective to create a consistent look. While it may be tempting to borrow a coffee table from your mom, and a set of side tables from a friend, these items can appear out of place and will often create a distracting and disconnected look and feel.
– Shauna Lynn Simon, Beyond The Stage Homes
The number one mistake made in an empty home is filling the space with items the seller thinks it needs vs. designing the space to showcase its optimal potential.
– Molly Hilton, Design To Impress
Even if replacing outdated light fixtures is not in the budget, make sure to replace your old light bulbs with clean bright bulbs. We recommend LED bulbs with the color temperature 3000K as it is a bit less yellow and appears crisp and clean. Stay away from anything marked “daylight” or higher than 3500K as the light will appear too blue and remind buyers of sitting in a dentist chair.
– Ines Cortes, Envision Redesign
Staging a house is a psychological game and you want to elicit buyers’ positive emotions. Putting too much color, drama, and decoration elements might actually create undesired emotions – buyers might think you are trying to show off and pushing too hard for the cash. Keep it tasteful, yet simple, because true elegance is understated.
– Ola Mochol, Scena Staging
The trick is making a home feel lived in without actually being lived in. Staging should boost your home, not overload buyers with design, decor, and color right when they walk in the door. Staging a home to sell is the art of designing a “model home” where most people can see their family grow.
– Tiffany White, MidCity Decor
People often overlook the importance of adding a fresh coat of paint when selling their homes. Neutral colors can help in making smaller spaces appear larger.
– Donna Ragona, Suite Design Staging & Decor
If you have to leave dated features in the home, be sure to paint them. Not wanting to paint old-fashioned wood paneling, window frames, and oak kitchen cabinets is a big mistake. These immediately reveal the age of the property.
– Birgit Anich, BA Staging & Interiors
Buyers will mentally compare newly refreshed areas to untouched, dated spaces if you only stage a few rooms. This could potentially open the door for doubt and negotiations, as minds start to ponder the age/wear and tear of the home’s mechanicals.
– Stephanie Katz, NJ Home Decorating & Staging
Too much color can distract buyers from seeing themselves in the space, while too little color can cause a home to lose its character. Neutral wall tones with eye-catching accent pieces (artwork, furniture, accessories) photograph and present much better than heavily saturated colors everywhere the eye goes.
– Mitchell Bage, Maison de Campagne
It’s vital to avoid using furniture and decorations that cheapen the setting. The wrong style of furniture or adding too much décor can often devalue the features you want to highlight, while also making the staging area too cluttered.
– Viveka and Johanna, The Nordic Design Co.
Trays on beds, place settings on tables, and decor in closets – people don’t live like this. In my humble opinion, this over-the-top staging does more harm than good because it is distracting and can leave the buyer with a bad taste of fakeness.
– Jennifer Wenndt, Creatively Staged