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Home Sellers: Important Staging Mistakes to Avoid

By Keith Loria

As you prepare to put your home on the market, it’s important to keep in mind that home buyers coming to see your house will not see it in the same way you do. What may be “charming” or “antique-looking” to you, may evoke different feelings in a prospective buyer.

With today’s market challenges and more competition than ever before for home sales, home staging has become a necessity and an integral part of selling real estate.

“Home staging makes your house appealing to the prospective buyer,” says Priscilla Lawrence, an interior designer for Kansas City, Mo.-based Ready, Set, Gorgeous. “If done right, your house will move off the market more quickly.”

For those attempting to stage the house themselves, there are quite a few common mistakes that can undermine the successful sale of your home.

The key to good home staging is not to get too personal, Lawrence says. Home staging is meant to create a neutral canvas that will appeal to the majority of buyers.

“When you stage a home, it is not the time to bring in your unique style and create a look that appeals to just you,” Lawrence said. “Staging is all about de-personalizing the space, and creating more of a luxury hotel or a model home look that will appeal to most everyone.”

You want the buyers to picture themselves moving into the home without being influenced by your personal taste.

“Ensure your property appeals to the broadest buying public, which means neutralize,” says Donna Dazzo president and owner of New York-based Designed to Appeal. “If the color palette or decorating style is too far out, people will be put off by the personality of the home, and it will be difficult for them to visualize themselves and their own belongings in the house.”

This means putting away all photos, children’s artwork, trophies and other knickknacks. You want the buyers to look at your house, not your children’s baby photos.

A common staging mistake is not taking advantage of the natural light that your home has. Blocking off any light with heavy curtains or furniture can hurt your sale, especially if the home has attractive views.

“Anything dated in a home is a turn-off to a potential buyer and window treatments are one of them,” Lawrence said. “If the drapes are from the early to mid-90s, chances are they are too heavy and too dated. Remove them and replace them with panel drapes on a rod.”

Big mistakes can be made with furniture as well, as the size of the furniture needs to be in balance with the scale of the room and the other furniture in it.

“Think less is more,” Dazzo said. “Remember that the purpose of furniture when selling a home is to define the purpose of the room and to show what will fit where. It is not meant to show that you can provide seating for 15 in your living room and every seat has a side table to rest drinks on.”

Home staging is also not a way to simply cover up for poor maintenance and structural problems. It’s important to ensure your house is in good condition for the sale and use the staging to make your house more appealing.

For more staging ideas and other home selling strategies, contact our office today.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.