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Staging Do’s and Don’ts: 10 Common Staging Mistakes

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You’ve made the decision to sell your house and start enjoying a maintenance-free retirement lifestyle.
It feels great having a plan and knowing what you want! The next order of business? Get your home sold quickly and for the best price. Having the right strategy for staging your home can attract potential buyers and ultimately lead to a successful sale.

A home that’s not staged to sell can draw attention to minor flaws and make buyers wonder if there are more significant problems beneath the surface. Cluttered countertops and streaky windows won’t necessarily deter interested buyers, but it can dampen the “wow” factor. You want buyers to see the potential in your home instead of the flaws. Here’s what you need to know about staging your home to sell.

Staging Your Home for Success

A properly staged home brings out the property’s best assets and takes the focus off flaws that can detract from a great first impression. Staging a house is different from decorating, because it’s not about reflecting personal style. Rather, the art of staging is about making your home appeal to the widest variety of potential buyers.

If you’re working with a real estate agent, they should offer tips to successfully stage your home. Some sellers choose to hire a staging professional, especially if they’ve already moved out and the house is empty. A staging expert will bring in the right furnishings to make it easier for buyers to visualize a property as their future home.

Although expert advice can give you an edge, your insights as a homeowner can be just as valuable. Many sellers choose to handle the details of staging their home on their own. With some logistical planning and a little creativity, you can successfully stage your home to make it more appealing to sellers.

10 Common Staging Mistakes to Avoid

If you want to sell your home fast, staging your home should be at the top of your to-do list. As you focus on highlighting your home’s best features, try to avoid making the following staging mistakes:

1. Wall-to-wall family photos. A home filled with family photos on the walls and displayed on shelves and bookcases can be distracting for buyers. It’s best to remove most of these personal family photos and replace them with universal artwork and design elements.

2. Knickknacks on display in every room. Pack away collections, stacks of books, trinkets, etc. Also remove religious icons, children’s artwork, and other personal items to make it easier for others to visualize themselves living in the space.  

3. You’re stuck on major renovations. There are probably some home improvement projects you wish you had the time and budget to complete, such as updating the kitchen, replacing windows or finishing the basement. Resist the urge to spend money on major renovation projects before selling your home, because they could be time-consuming and may not increase the price buyers will pay for the home. 

4. You skip the small fixes. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can hide wall dings and dirt, or worn carpet. Buyers will notice everything. Be sure to replace burned out lightbulbs and fix leaky faucets, chipped paint, or other minor repairs.

5. You focus on the interior and forget about the exterior. Your home’s curb appeal is an essential part of home staging, because some buyers will keep scrolling when they see a neglected or uninviting front yard. Spruce up the landscaping, hide trash cans, and put away garden tools and children’s toys. If your lawn furniture is worn, consider investing in a few inexpensive new pieces, or take it away altogether.

6. Your home is clean, but not spotless. Give your home a deep clean to make it sparkle and really elevate its appearance. While some buyers will have no problem looking past water stains or streaky windows, others may think twice because it looks like a lot of work to clean. Consider hiring a cleaning crew to professionally clean everything from the floorboards to the cabinets, bathrooms, carpets, etc.

7. The lighting in your home feels dark. Do you have heavy curtains blocking natural light or poor wattage in overhead lighting fixtures? Check the lighting in every room of your home to make sure the wattage is appropriate and allows for a well-lit cohesive appearance during daytime and evening hours.

8. Your closets are overflowing with stuff. Potential buyers look everywhere, so make sure your closets and cabinets are ready for public viewing. Consider removing items from closets and cupboards so your storage areas don’t appear cramped.

9. Pet fur and odors are lurking. Odors of any kind can turn buyers away, especially lingering pet odors. Have your carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture cleaned to remove pet stains and odors. 

10. Pet gear takes center stage. Fido and Fluffy may be part of the family, but it’s best if there’s no trace of them in your home when buyers are looking. Put away pet cages, beds and food bowls, and if possible, take your pets with you during a showing.

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