1. The sellers used beat up or ugly furnishings and decor.
Have a consistent message throughout the process of staging. Use clean and simple furnishing to highlight a space.
2. They created distracting themes and scenes.
Occasionally, though, these scenes and vignettes can go rogue, creating borderline bizarre scenarios that distract and detract more than they help. Stay away from themes and try to stay neutral.
3. The house is neither clean nor clutter-free.
The little messes that a family accumulates through daily living can be perceived by buyers as distracting at best—disgusting, at worse. Do not underestimate the power of piles of clothes, mail, paperwork, dishes or kids’ toys to deactivate the home-selling power. Professional weekly or bi-weekly cleaning during the listing period can be a small investment to help put your house at the top of the list for some buyers.
4. There are glaring gaps.
This often happens when sellers run out of time and money to prepare a place, but it can be avoided through smart advance planning and budgeting for the pre-listing property preparation.
- Rooms—Buyers like to look in the garage, closets, cupboards & drawers to check out the space they will have—if they are crammed full of junk, it creates the impression that the house lacks storage and order.
- Exterior vs. interior—Some homes have amazing curb appeal, but look like they’ve been run over roughshod on the inside. And the opposite is true. Neither of these is ideal. Make note of the most budget-friendly or simple-to-do projects that may be able to help remedy any eyesores.
- Multi-sensory gaps—If a home is beautiful to the eye but smells bad, is strangely hot or cold, or has a noise issue, it may be hard for Buyers to get past those issues. Especially if there are pets, sellers may need a gut check on whether your home is smelly—sellers might be so used to it, that they can’t sense it anymore. Ask an unbiased third party for an opinion. Plug-ins go a long way.
5. The seller lacked a neutral, expert eye.
Home decorating and home staging are two different things. When an owner decorates a home, they customize it with your specific tastes, preferences and aesthetics in mind. When staging it, the goal is to neutralize the home’s look and feel so it appeals to more buyers and doesn’t have turn-off potential.‘Decorating a home is personalizing it. Staging a home is depersonalizing it.’Says Barbara Schwarz, President of the International Home Staging Professionals Association.
Stay away from personal tastes. As an agent I encourage sellers whose homes that have been beautifully decorated to at least have a home staging consultation with me and a professional stager. It is part of my service to give advice about what buyers love.
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