You may love your home, but that doesn’t mean that everyone coming through the door will feel the same way. What may be “charming” to the seller may seem off-putting to a prospective buyer. Many sellers attempt to stage their home themselves and, in doing so, create mistakes that can actually sidetrack the sale of their homes.
Getting too personal: Home staging is meant to create a neutral canvas that will appeal to the majority of buyers. Staging is all about de-personalizing the space, and creating more of a luxury hotel or a model home look that will appeal to most everyone. This is not the time to bring in your unique style and create a look that appeals to just you. If a room was intended to be a bedroom, but you use it for kid's play room, an office, or some other purposes, turn it back into a bedroom. Help the home buyers who see the property who might not have the vision for what the room could be or is being marketed to be see it as it is and not get distracted by what it's current use happens to be.
Using dark colors: If painting, you should choose a nice, neutral and warm color, such as beige tones, grey tones, or light blue or pale greens. You’ll be amazed at the transformation a few coats of fresh paint will make on your home. Too, darker colors make a room feel smaller and more closed in, cave like if you will! I had a listing a few years ago where the biggest feedback we kept getting was over a dining room painted a dark blue color. The seller painted it a fresh white, it seemed twice as large, and it sold on the next showing!
Not taking advantage of natural light: People love natural light, so blocking off any light with heavy curtains or furniture can hurt your sale, especially if the home has attractive views. Anything dated in a home is a turn-off to a potential buyer and window treatments are one of them.
Thinking more is better: Scale down your furniture. The size of the furniture needs to be in balance with the scale of the room and the other furniture in it. Remember that the purpose of furniture when selling a home is to define the purpose of the room and to show what will fit where. It is not meant to show that you can provide seating for 15 in your living room and every seat has a side table to rest drinks on. Note any passageways or traffic patterns around your house. If there are furniture pieces in the way or furnitature that makes a certain pathway to a hall way, bedroom, etc..tight then remove it!
Leaving pets at home: You need to remove all traces of animals from the house and make sure “Fido” or “Sunshine” is away during showings. Having a pet could kill a sale before someone even steps into a house. This is the same as de-personalization. Some people like cats and some like dogs but usually not both (except for me which I have both). You never want to provide a turn off or eliminate a certain group of buyers to limit that buyer pool! I have seen people who love dogs and dislike cats who were turned off to a smelly litter box and walked away without seeing the whole house! I have seen houses with large metal crates or kennels for big dogs in the kitchen fo example that took away from the design and appeal of the home! Gnawed door moldings, scratched floors due to running paws on the inside of a home, etc.. can make your home look more "worn" and not get top dollar!
Neglecting the outside: People care about the outside space just as much as the inside, so add flowers, make sure the lawn is mowed, the yard is tidy and add a few backyard accessories for the kids. If there is rotten wood around windows or doors or exposed wood where the weather has worn away the paint, replace it or touch it up to make it feel like new! Pick up animal droppings so that house hunters might not have to step on anything unwelcome when seeing your house!
Only dealing with “main” rooms: People are quick to stage living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms, but don’t forget to spruce up the garage, basement and closets as well.
Forgetting fixtures: When staging a home, it’s important to ensure all lights are burning with fresh bulbs, and that all fixtures are working. Make sure the bulbs are the same type as well! I have seen too many listings where some bulbs burn more white and some burn more of a yellow glow! It just seems odd. Causes once again a distraction.
Remember, staging a home means showcasing the property’s many features, not concealing its flaws. Make sure your house is in good condition and use staging to cast the home in the best light. Remember that when selling your home, it is not about you and your design any longer. It is about making sure that design or staged home you are marketing for sale appeals to the most broad group of home buyers! Make it as neutral a canvas as can be found and you will get a buyer more quickly and for top dollar!
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