You’re getting geared up to list your home for sale so you can retire on the beach with a little umbrella in your glass, or you’re at least moving closer to that dream. First things first, you have to sell this house. You’ve found a top-notch Realtor, fixed the broken doorbell and you’re ready for professional photos. Since you’re obviously a motivated seller and you want to get top dollar for your listing, remember, a photographer is only as good as it’s subject. Do your home a favor and don’t make these top 5 home staging mistakes.
1. Forgetting curb appeal
The front of your home is literally the first thing anyone is going to see. When they drive by or when they see your listing on Zillow. You can have a brand new deck, stainless steel appliances, and a theater room inside, but if the outside looks like some kind of abandoned house from Scooby-Doo, you’ve done your house a serious injustice.
Paying attention to curb appeal doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on professional landscaping with custom lighting. There are easy tips that can make a busted house look bomb.
First, and most obvious, is to mow your grass. You don’t want your yard to be mistaken for a wheat field. Freshen up the flowerbeds with new mulch, maybe even some solar lights along the border. You can get them at the dollar store, we won’t tell anyone. Power wash the drippy muck from the roof, the algae from the siding and the oil drips from the driveway. Top it off with a ‘Welcome’ wreath on the front door and you’re set.
P.S. If you’re listing in the winter and you’re thinking curb appeal doesn’t apply to you, think again. That fresh snow that just fell? Make sure you’ve cleared your sidewalk and driveway. Not to mention, your inflatable snow globe collection is better suited to stay packed away for your new neighbors to enjoy next year, they do not belong in your listing photos.
2. Ignoring the Doom and Gloom Feel
Say when you enter your house, your front door leads into the family room. It should NOT appear that you are walking into a dirt floor dungeon. Professional cleaning is a must. A small investment for the sparkling outcome. A cleaning company will not only get down (and dirty) but will make your house smell amazing as well. Even though you can’t smell a photo, buyers coming to a showing definitely will.
Now that the house is clean, you want to be able to see the shiny floors without bringing your own candlelight. Open those curtains! Turn on lamps and let in as much natural light as possible. Some professional home stagers are even going so far as to remove window treatments to help improve the lighting and make a small room look larger. Throw in a nice houseplant that shows how living things thrive in all this natural light, and contrary wise, ditch those dry dead potted plants that make you sad to look at.
3. Underestimating a coat of paint
You let your daughter sponge paint her walls with her school colors and made your kitchen purple to match your KitchenAid mixer. All well and good while this was your domain, but now someone else needs to envision themselves living here and perhaps purple isn’t their number one pick. Bring your walls back to neutral. Grey is the new beige, so slap on a coat and don’t feel like you have to stop at the walls. Kitchen cabinets can get a nice refresh with a new paint job as well.
4. Leaving your Personalization Everywhere
You built custom shelves in the rec room and have them filled with family photos, softball trophies and your collection of antique teapots. While a guest in your home will look at these items as conversation starters, a buyer will be distracted by them and feel like they are in someone else’s home, instead of imagining themselves using these shelves for their handmade pottery.
Professional stagers will tell you to rent a pod to ‘pre-pack’. A pod will get delivered into your driveway. Pack away your personal items, excess furniture and clear out your storage areas. When you’re done, the pod will be picked up, stored, and delivered to your new home when you’re ready.
5. Misusing Rooms
A dining room is a dining room is a dining room. Maybe you’ve never hosted a holiday, owned placemats with matching napkin rings, and you’re using the front room of your home for toy storage, but your listing photos should show otherwise. You want to show space the way it was intended to be used. Since you found an alternative use for this space, you probably don’t have the appropriate furniture to display, but don’t panic.
This is where virtual staging is your new best friend. With a virtual staging app, you can upload a photo of your vacant room and add furniture pieces strictly for the purpose of listing photos. What a relief. You don’t have to go down to the rent-to-own and call your cousins to move a mahogany table onto a truck, into your home for a 5-second photo shoot, then back on the truck and back into the store. I’m sweating just thinking about it. When using virtual staging, make sure you are only adding what is considered ‘personal property’ and not the ‘real estate’ you’re selling. Simply put- table okay, crystal chandelier, not okay.
Now young grasshopper, hop to it and stage your home to get it sold for top dollar. Next step, pick a beach and ring the bellboy to bring you your cocktail umbrella.
This post was written by Emily Fisher. Emily is a licensed real estate agent and Brand Ambassador for Worth Clark Realty and Transactly. She has helped grow the brokerage into a top 50 fastest growing company, repeat INC 5000 winner and contributed to their multiple rankings on the SBJ Best Places to Work lineup. In her personal life, Emily can usually be found dancing in the kitchen with her daughter or discussing the physics of superheroes with her fiance.