When done properly, staging a home can help you sell it up to 88% faster. But staging can also be tricky to get right. Make sure you avoid these common (and costly) staging mistakes.
Did you manage to convince a client to stage their home to sell? If so, congratulations! Home staging can help sell a home up to 88% faster than a non-staged home.
But as impressive as the results of a professional staging can be, hiring a professional stager can be pricey. That's why it's a good idea better to learn some interior design basics yourself so you can help your clients stage their home themselves.
So if you and your client are taking the DIY route to home staging, make sure you don’t make the following deal-killing staging mistakes.
Having Multi-Purpose Rooms
Having exercise equipment in your home office may be a good idea if you want to encourage yourself to stay fit. And in fact, multi-purpose rooms could be an efficient way of using all your available space in your home.
But as a staging idea, it’s actually a terrible one. If a room is staged as a combination of home office, gym and playroom, buyers will be confused about the purpose of the room.
Tell your client to stick to one theme per room.
Not Keeping The Home Sparkling Clean At All Times
Make sure you wash the floors, clean scuff marks off walls, and shine appliances and hardware to the point they look good as new.
Cleaning the house should be an obvious first step (hopefully). But it’s not enough to do a thorough clean once.
The property needs to remain clean and spotless throughout the entire time you have it for sale. That’s because it doesn’t matter how beautifully staged the home is if the floors aren’t swept, the furniture is dusty, or if you forgot to take out the trash from the last open house.
Make sure you communicate the importance of keeping the house as clean as possible with your client, and urge him/her to make arrangements for someone to clean and air the house at least once a week.
Ignoring Your Target Audience
Just like there are different tastes in music, cars, and entertainment, there are different tastes in home decor. When discussing how to stage the home to sell with your client, you must ALWAYS keep your potential buyers in mind.
Your client may be absolutely in love with Victorian aesthetics. But not everyone feels the same way. What one group of people may find appealing another might find alienating or even ugly.
As a rule of thumb, if you’re selling a home in a community with an older, rural population, it may be better to choose a more conservative color scheme and more traditional staging.
On the other hand, if the community is full of young, millennial professionals, it might be best to choose a more modern and trendy style.
Undervaluing The Power Of A New Color Scheme
Never underestimate the transformative power of a new paint job. It can completely overhaul the look and feel of any space. Even something as boring as a laundry room can look infinitely better with just a simple color change.
Just like cleaning your home, a new coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways you could stage a home. When it comes to color schemes, you can’t go wrong with neutral tones. These go great with just about anything, and never go out of style.
Considering how easy it is to completely transform a space, and what a huge impact it can have on the look of the room, a new coat of paint should be on top of your list of home staging tools.
Not Updating Window Coverings
After clashing color schemes and unappealing lighting fixtures, nothing kills a room’s appeal faster than ugly, outdated windows.
Window coverings may have looked great back in the 90s. But what was fashionable then, today would look sad and hopelessly outdated. Do your client a favor, and tactfully ask them to replace any outdated window coverings. In fact, it's better to NOT have any, than to have ugly, outdated ones.
The good news is that good looking drapes don’t need to cost a fortune... if you know where to look.
Tell your seller to skip Pottery Barn and Bed Bath and Beyond. You can get window coverings that look identical to the expensive ones on Amazon or Ali Express for a fraction of the price.
Not Setting The Scene
As mentioned in a recent article, setting the scene can really help your purchasers envision their life there.
Setting the table can help them picture themselves having dinner, and see how many guests they can entertain over the holidays.
If it’s winter turn on the fireplace and put cookies in the oven if it’s summer open the back door and set the patio table for a BBQ.
Not Taking Before And After Pictures
Though a well-staged could definitely wow potential buyers, it would cause an even bigger positive reaction if you were to show how much work went into transforming it. So why not take a before and after photo?
By taking empty home photos, you'll be able to provide reference material for buyers who want to digitally add furniture to the home or change the color scheme. Or simply to get a good idea of what they actually have to work with.
Your before and after photos also let you wow new and old clients. These photos can be used to market your services and provide even more evidence of your expertise as a real estate professional and can be shared on social media or on your website.
Not Highlighting The Focal Point Of Each Room
A focal point is a specific feature that immediately grabs the attention of its viewers. Ideally, you want each room of the home to have a focal point. Some rooms may already have a built-in focal point that lends itself to staging the room around it.
Some of the most common built-in focal points are:
Windows and outdoor views: If the living room has an amazing view, make sure your staging highlight it. Help your client arrange the furniture in a way that would highlight the magnificent views.
Fireplaces: Fireplaces naturally attract the eye, and are frequently the centerpiece of the living room. Arrange the furniture and seating areas in a way that takes full advantage of the fire. You could also suggest adding an eye-catching piece of art or decoration above the fireplace to make it stand out even more.
Vaulted ceilings: Vaulted ceilings don’t need a lot of help to stand out. They are already pretty impressive on their own. That's why it's important that they stay freshly painted, and have plenty of illumination.
But what if the room doesn’t have a focal point? Create one! Some ideas for focal points include:
Accent walls: Your client could paint a single wall in a different color, install wood paneling, or even wallpaper to instantly make a room much more interesting.
Artwork: Your client would want to choose a piece that is of the right size for its wall and has a color scheme that fits the theme of the room. The piece of art should be placed at eye level. And if possible, add accent lighting to highlight the piece even more.
Statement furniture: A statement piece of furniture is typically a large, eye-catching piece that takes center stage in a room. This could be a couch of a different color than the rest of the room, an interesting coffee table, an ornate mirror, etc.
Your room should have no more than a single focal point. Otherwise, you could have a room that feels too busy and chaotic.
Not Depersonalizing The House
While it’s a good idea to have a central focal point in each room, and use bold statement pieces to do so, it’s also important that your clients don’t use decorations that tie the place back to them.
The home should be staged your home in a way that highlights its best characters, but general enough to have mass appeal.
Ask your seller to put away personal items such as religious images, political memorabilia, children’s drawings, doll collections, etc. Remove family photos from the wall and replace them with pieces of art.
Your client should also degender the children’s rooms by repainting them with neutral colors, and removing toys and decorations that are exclusively for boys or girls.
If your client wishes to keep the rooms themed as children’s bedrooms, they should have gender-neutral decorations and toys such as animals, painting easels, trains, and building blocks.
Not Adding Enough Lights
Just like lighting is absolutely essential for great photography, a home needs to be well illuminated in order for all of your client's staging efforts to come through. Floor lamps and table lamps can add lighting to areas that need it most and can bring warmth to a room.
As you inspect the home before a showing, make sure all the lights are working well, and replace any bulbs that have burned out.
Good Staging Is Definitely Worth The Effort
Staging is a powerful technique that can help you sell a home significantly faster. Make sure you talk to your client about the many benefits of staging the home, and why it's not a pointless expense, but rather an investment.
And above all, help your client avoid the common staging mistakes mentioned in this article.
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