In the 2018 Home Staging Resource Survey of over 4,200 homes, 85% of the staged homes sold for 6-25% more than the unstaged homes. It’s proof that even if sellers might think it can cost them so much time, money, and effort to do home staging, it usually pays off in the end as it can give them more money in their home sales. And remember, staging your home doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands of dollars on designer furniture and newer accessories that can actually ruin your home’s best features. And while it’s completely understandable to make mistakes, here are some staging mistakes that every seller should avoid if they actually want to sell their place—at top dollar, that is.
Mistake #1: Hiding instead of removing things
It’s a common temptation for many of us to just hide and cram our clutter in a closet or guest room whenever we’re expecting guests to come over. However, that strategy won’t do you any good if you’re a seller who’s been preparing to stage your home for showing. Buyers today consider space and storage as a valuable factor in choosing their dream home. They will actually want to look through empty rooms and closets to evaluate how much storage there is, so the last thing you’d want is for them to see your personal belongings hidden in those valuable closets.
If decluttering isn’t the first step to preparing your home for showing, then we don’t know what else is. Use this time to organize your stuff—sell, donate, or throw out things that you no longer need. Aside from being clean, make sure that everything in your home is organized. The ultimate goal is to show potential buyers that your home ranks well when it comes to storage.
Mistake #2: Showcasing bizarre collections
We know how much you love your priceless collections and how they are a great source of pride and joy. However, most of them (especially those quirky and unusual collections) need to be packed away and put in storage as part of staging. It won’t be alluring for many buyers if you decide to put your taxidermy or gun collections at center stage. Aside from the fact that these things may consume valuable space, they can also distract buyers from seeing the strengths and features your home has to offer. Packing away your collections will let potential buyers envision their things, not yours, in the home.
Mistake #3: Overdesigning your home
While one of the goals of staging is to make the home as appealing as possible, it’s a big mistake to overdo it. Don’t cover every nook and cranny with too much design even if you think they’ll look amazing. There’s a good chance buyer wouldn’t be impressed, and it will also hinder them from visualizing what the house would look like once they settle in. Lesson learned: keep it simple but nice to make a lasting impression. Use simple but elegant furnishings and subtle home accessories that will complement the space. Also avoid using unnecessary props and fake decorations—fake plants, fruit bowls, flowers, or fake anything.
Mistake #4: Not staging to scale
One awful mistake that many sellers make is using furniture and accessories that don’t match the scale and proportion of the room. They assume that they can create the illusion of having more space by using smaller, lightweight items, but experts say otherwise. Great staging includes using furniture and decor with appropriate sizes and positioning them optimally for the best effect. A few examples where sellers have made poor use of scale are when they put an oversized sofa in a small room or used a tiny coffee table in a huge living room. Likewise, avoid decorating with ornaments that are too small because it will just make the room feel visually cluttered.
Mistake #5: Neglecting the smell
Is the clutter all cleared out? Check. Are the collections all packed? Check. Is the furniture used in the right proportion? Check. But how about the smell of your home? Uh-oh. You might have forgotten to recognize the odors in your home because you were already used to it. Remember: no matter how beautiful your home looks inside and out, one foul smell can turn off potential buyers. Some of the worst offenders include pet smells, cigarette smoke, and even strong food odors such as fish. Even using strong candles or artificial air fresheners won’t do the trick because it can offend some buyers.
The best way to complement a good staging is to have a pleasant but natural smell in your home. If you have pets, clear out their litter box and keep them out of the house for a while. It’s great to also consider a sniff test with a friend and/or your real estate agent to make sure that your home smells great and is ready to entice its next owner.
Mistake #6: Not bothering to stage at all
According to The Balance, “staging is all about dressing the house for sale. It’s about adding the small details: the lipstick, mascara and, for simplicity, a stunning, single strand of Tahitian pearls.” Not bothering to stage at all is perhaps the worst decision anyone can ever make when selling a home. It can have more expensive consequences than spending some time and a few dollars to get your home ready. For a home that doesn’t sell, staging can turn things the other way around because it can help sell the home faster and at a better price. If you’re really on a budget and can’t hire a professional stager, talk to your real estate agent to get the best possible ideas. Don’t forget to also hit the books and heed pieces of advice like this to help you avoid making similar staging mistakes that may actually sabotage your home sale.