In terms of staging, we’re not talking about major renovations; just deep-cleaning, uncluttering, and maybe a fresh coat of paint. The point of staging is to remove anything that will distract a buyer from all the great things the home has to offer. But for some sellers, it’s easy to go overboard if they’re not careful.
Here are a few of the biggest mistakes sellers make to over-stage a home.
1. Don’t be dull
Staging is not to make the home boring and bland. Staging is to get the potential buyer to feel that the home looks nice all the time, so it should feel like real—but incredibly neat!—people live there. Buyers typically prefer boring over cluttered and crazy, but color will photograph well and will stand out, leaving a lasting impression for buyers. Simple touches add subtle interest, just don’t go too wild.
2. Selling with smell
No one wants a home to smell like the dog or last night’s dinner when a potential buyer arrives. But it’s almost as bad to overcompensate with potpourri and air fresheners. Overwhelming a serious buyer with strong scents can backfire. A home should smell fresh and clean, not heavily perfumed. You best bet is to do a deep clean to remove lingering smells and avoid cooking anything too potent during the list time.
3. The sound of music
Forget the music. It backfires more often than not. You can’t guess the buyer’s musical tastes, and it can make some buyers feel like they’re being manipulated.
4. The elephant graveyard
Sometimes homeowners move out before the house sells, taking with them their best furniture and possessions for the new home, leaving the unwanted furniture behind. In a mostly empty house, it’s even more important that what’s in there be tasteful and add to the ambiance of the home. The old sectional sofa sitting forlornly in an empty living room will just make the house feel abandoned. The house should be well furnished or completely empty. Not somewhere in between.
5. Wasting money on the wrong renovations
Many sellers start huge renovation projects just before they sell. Maybe it’s the bathroom or kitchen that they’ve always wanted to fix up. But renovations rarely give the seller any return on the investment. Plus, it’s impossible to guess what the next buyer’s tastes are like. It’s better to do small things like new cabinet hardware or new light fixtures. They usually go a long way toward making the home feel up to date, without the cost of a major renovation. Sellers should depend on their savvy agent to help figure out how much updating is needed so the home will sell easily in the current market.
6. Remove clutter, don’t just move it around
When it comes to selling a home, less is more. An uncluttered home is almost always more attractive. This means photos are nicer, which translates to more showings, and it makes the house feel open and airy. But you can’t just try to hide the clutter. A serious buyer will want to look in the closets, in the garage, in the storage spaces. That means they’ll explore, even looking under your sink. So it’s important to stress the importance of getting rid of, or storing things. It might seem like a lot of work, but it will make it easier to move out once the seller gets the offer they’ve been waiting for.