Staging is a critical part of the home selling process. Ideally, you want to downplay the property’s weaknesses, highlight its strengths and appeal to the greatest possible pool of potential buyers. Unfortunately, far too many sellers mismanage the staging process. Here are some of the most common staging errors that turn off buyers.
Since taste is subjective, it’s important to avoid putting a personal stamp on your design scheme. You may love that rustic painting or wildly patterned throw pillow, but buyers may not share your opinion. Likewise, while your family photos and collectibles may seem like treasures to you, they will make it harder for prospective buyers to imagine themselves living in the home. When a buyer enters your home, they should see clean lines and a welcoming, neutral home environment. Be sure to depersonalize the property before you schedule a showing.
Going Too Neutral
While it is important to make your home feel clean, airy and relatively neutral; you can go too far. Without at least some color, a home can appear boring, bland and sterile. Some flowers and fruit baskets can help enliven the home. A general rule of thumb is to make sure your furniture is neutral and infuse a bit of color here and there with pillows, rugs and throw blankets. Avoid painting rooms with non-neutral colors, since this can make them feel dark, small and closed-in.
Not Making Repairs
Unless they are especially picky, most buyers are willing to accept a few minor imperfections. When they neglect to make important fixes, however, sellers are inviting low-ball offers. While you don’t have to spend money perfecting your home, you should definitely shore up any structural issues and eliminate aesthetic eyesores. Talk to your agent about which types of repairs and improvements are most important and which aren’t necessarily worth the expense.
Making Rooms Seem Like Dungeons
Dark, poorly lit rooms do not pique buyer interest. It’s important for sellers to remove draped tassels, bulky fabrics, heavy or dark-colored window treatments and anything that blocks light. It’s generally best to go with light or translucent curtains that accent windows without blocking too much sunlight. It’s also best to add a light source in any room with fewer than four lights. It’s best to use warm or soft LED white bulbs with at least 800 lumens. You should also be sure all bulbs in your house are the same so rooms have a seamless, cohesive feel.
When it comes to selling a home, not all rooms carry the same weight. Ideally, you want to focus your time and money on rooms that have the greatest potential to influence a buyer’s decision. These include the kitchen, master bedroom and living area. While children’s bedrooms, guest bedrooms and bathrooms also matter, they should generally take a backseat to these other critical areas.
The best way to prepare your home for sale is to eliminate clutter as much as possible. When professional stagers prep a home for market, they often remove up to half the owner’s furnishings to make the property look bigger. Ideally, you want prospective buyers to be able to move from room to room without having to navigate through chairs, couches and loveseats. You also want to minimize items on the coffee table and avoid piling pillows onto furniture, since all of this can make a home look cluttered, small and unappealing.
Unfortunately, inexperienced stagers tend to have trouble restraining their impulses to do more than they should. They seed the air with artificial scents and air fresheners. They clutter rooms with too many decorations, pillows and chairs. They try to overcompensate for small floor plans by adding furniture to make the home look lived in. These rookie mistakes are so common, it’s often surprising for buyers when they walk into a properly staged home that stands out from similar properties on the market.
It takes experience and expertise to strip away needless clutter while still maintaining a warm, inviting feel. This is why it’s generally best to work with a real estate agent who knows how to professionally stage a home to appeal to a wide array of buyers.
Thinking of selling your home? The Wheaton Team is here to help. With more than six decades of collective experience, our seasoned professionals specialize in residential real estate throughout Colorado Springs and the Tri-Lakes area. Let us guide you through every step of the staging and selling process, so you can close at a price that meets your expectations.