Home staging might seem pretty straightforward to anyone who kicks back with HGTV on weeknights. You just bring in nice furniture, throw out any junk, and pack the home full of plants in pretty planters, right? Not exactly. In reality, home staging is a complex art that can make or break a home sale. If you don’t avoid the pitfalls, it’s way too easy to go wrong and miss out on a sale.
Read on for five critical home staging mistakes you’re making and how to fix them.
1. Not considering your audience
The first thing you should always do when staging a home is think about who is likely to show the most interest and purchase the listing. Will they be young families? Empty nesters? Single people with roommates? Design accordingly so you don’t alienate your demographic. For example, a young family may want to see the extra room staged as a baby room with a crib and play area while singles would be more interested in a home office.
2. Overdesigning the space so buyers can’t see what they’re getting
You have to remember that home staging isn’t about showing off your design prowess. It’s about creating a space that buyers can imagine themselves in for years to come. Keep the design simple and classic or you may just risk sabotaging your own sale. Fun ways to spruce up the home without overwhelming buyers are to use accent walls to your advantage, ditch outdated window treatments, and don’t go crazy with accent pillows.
3. Choosing furniture that makes a home look too small or too big
When your home is either extremely small or quite large, it’s tempting to choose design features that make the home look like its opposite. If you create the illusion of more space, for example, you might just make a home look smaller. Don’t include too much furniture in the space but also try to avoid filling up every surface with objects.
4. Taking pictures of the listing only after you stage the home
During the hustle and bustle of trying to stage and sell a home, it’s way too easy to forget to take pictures of the home without any furniture in it. Not only is this helpful for buyers who simply want to see an open space without any design features, but it’s also a good idea if you have a buyer who wants to see the home virtually staged in a different style. For example, your buyer may want to see the office staged as a bedroom.
If you don’t have a photo of the home without furniture in it, you’ll have to pay extra for your virtual designer to remove the furniture and restage the room. Don’t skip this step. It will cost you more money and time over the long-term.
5. Personalizing the design
Without a doubt, staging is among the best ways to reach the largest number of buyers in your demographic. But if you personalize the design you run the risk that home buyers won’t be able to imagine themselves in the home and they will move on to another listing. If you’re renovating, don’t opt for a colorful kitchen countertop when simple a white or black would do. Moreover, avoid adding too many knick knacks and definitely stick to clean lines in the decor. If you’re in doubt, keep up with home design trends and try to design in the most common style you see over and over again.
To avoid over-personalizing the design, it can help to have a theme for every room so you know whether you should stage a room as an office, workout room, or baby room. If you don’t commit to one room type, it’s much more difficult for buyers to imagine themselves in the space because it’s too cluttered with stuff. Additionally, don’t forget to get rid of personal items and overhaul any junk in the home before listing.
It might feel impossible to avoid all these home staging pitfalls. Still, with a little design savvy and attention to your audience, you’ll find that it doesn’t have to be so difficult to stage a home after all.