Is your Staging Subpar?

There are a lot of reasons why staging can go wrong. How do you know if your staging is not up to par?  Here are some reasons why your staging efforts may produce lackluster results. 1.  You decluttered too much.  As much as we believe everyone needs to thin out and clean up before listing, there is a point at which it is too much.  We have seen such a point.  The effect is sterile and uninviting.  You do need a certain amount of "stuff" to live and if you eliminate too much stuff it is off-putting, and confusing, to buyers.  The result?  They just don't feel at home in your home.

2.  You failed to see the potential of your rooms.  It is hard to see the potential of rooms sometimes.  Staging is tricky because it is not about setting up a room that echoes the most comfortable way to live but rather to show off selling features and get the most from listing photos.  Often times homeowners, and inexperienced "helpers", don't really know enough to see beyond the way the room "has always been".  A stager can help you see your rooms in a fresh way.  I cannot tell you how many times homeowners have said to us, "I did not know my home could look this good" after we finish restyling their home.

3.  You tried "cutesy" ideas you found on the internet.  Oh man, this is one of my biggest pet peeves.  What am I talking about?  Dining rooms set at an angle, Beds placed kitty corner in a room, tables set like the Queen herself is coming to dinner.  Here is the problem.....all of that cute, fun stuff you try just distracts buyers from the selling features of your home.  You do not want to be the home they remember as "the one with the dining table at an angle".  Instead you want to be the one that had the large dining room that was great for entertaining.

dining table on an angle
dining table on an angle

4.  You over-neutralized.  So now your home is a delightful sea of the same color beige.  All 4,000 square feet of it.  Yikes!  Neutralizing is good but buyers want a little variety.  Also remember that if you are selling a family-sized home, you are likely selling to folks with kids or plans for kids.  It is perfectly fine to have blue or pink walls in the children's rooms.  People love cute kids rooms.  Nobody loves a beige kid's room, stripped of its character and left with just a sad crib and rocker.  So mix it up - go beige, go ivory, layer in a light grey.  Our best advice is to ask a stager.  Beige is no longer the only game in town.  In fact, in many areas beige has come and gone and will make a home less appealing.  Best to know this before spending your weekend priming and painting.

5.  You decided you really want to show off the collections you are so proud of.  I get it.  We all have elements of our home that we are proud of.  Many of our clients have collections they are really proud of.  I have collections too.  However, when you are selling is not the time to show them off for two reasons.  First, and again, you do not want people to remember you as the home with the "glass bunny" collection as opposed to the home with the "gorgeous master bath".  Trust me on this.  Second of all, you do not know who is going to be going through your home.  Buyers are generally a polite, respectful group but sometimes mom blinks and the toddler has your special bunny in his hand.  Put away the special things and share them with the people you love when you get to your new home.


6.  Your house looks great in person but terrible in photos.  Hmmm, now this is a real dilemma.  Buyers are not coming to view your home unless it looks great in the listing photos and they want to see more.  Photos drive showings.  Period.  Knowing how to style a room that is great in person and camera-friendly takes skill.

7.  There is no flow.  So your house looks great but is really now more of an obstacle course than a well-staged home.  If people have to shimmy past furniture, or walk around things, to get to nice details like a fireplace, patio, or beautiful window then your home won't feel homey to them.  People want easy to decorate homes and your job, as a seller, is to show them how easy your rooms are to decorate.

8.  You spent your money on the wrong things.  We see this all the time.  A seller spent a fortune on things they believe will be important but left glaring problems alone.  What do I mean?  Here is an example: spending money to replace all of your carpet because you have a couple of stains but your front lawn looks like it has never seen a drop of rain.  I went to an open house once at a home where the seller spent $60,000 putting in granite accents in his front yard - think stairs, pillars, etc but did not remove a single piece of wallpaper inside or rearrange his furniture in any way, including leaving the recliner in the kitchen next to the stove.  You want to invest your money, when needed, in a way that yields a decent ROI otherwise it is just not worth it.

9.  You feel bad for Mr. Mittens so you left all of his litter boxes and kitty condos out.  I think the majority of us love animals.  The odd thing is that we do not love animals in the homes of people we may purchase a house from.  The first sign of a cat or dog and we start to wonder where that animal has had an accident.  Do your best to tone down the animal items.  We recommend our clients eliminate all traces of a pet the day of a showing and in photos.

10.  You didn't do your research.  So instead of looking to see what other homes in your price point, and in your area have done, you read a ton of articles online and went to work.  As much as we admire that you tried to do things as the advice of professionals, every area is different.  I cannot even say that every town is different because sometimes there are micro markets within a town where buyers have different expectations.  What is really desirable in one area might not fly in another.  The best way to know is to enlist a stager who understands your market.

When done properly staging makes a world of difference.  The key is that it needs to be done right.  If you want to get the most money out of your home, it is worth it to make it as appealing as possible from the start.