Jul 15, 2021 | Pre-Shoot Planning

Staging mistakes

5 blunders to avoid when staging a home for sale

There’s a balance that needs to be struck when staging a home for a listing. It needs to be creative, but not overwhelming for potential buyers. It should feel homey, but not quite like your home.

If your listing isn’t gaining the traction it should, some of these five mistakes could be to blame. Solving for all them boils down to one common theme: communication. Talk with the experts around you like your agent and photographer, and these problems will be sorted out in no time!

Going bold on design choices

You might enjoy yellow in the kitchen or a bedroom painted purple, but not everyone sees colors the same. Opt for a mostly neutral palette with bolder colors thrown in for highlights. Accent walls and other uses of color can be accented by pillows and other decorations.

Don’t get carried away. Beiges and grays are good for remaining neutral while still giving rooms a feeling of openness and warmth. These colors are one of the first features noticed in each room. You don’t want someone who is looking at a house immediately thinking about what they’ll need to change just because color schemes were too adventurous.

The same goes with room layouts, decor, and other design choices. To avoid leaning too much on your personal taste, feel free to consult your agent, look through current listings to pick up on trends, or even hire a staging company.

Lacking in lighting

Lighting — whether natural or artificial — is something sellers and agents may not always consider, but it’s important for a photographer trying to capture a property in the best way possible.

It’s fairly easy for sellers and their agents to make sure that lighting isn’t neglected. All light fixtures should have working light bulbs in them. These lights are important in not only making sure photos capture all corners of a room, but also in helping a house feel more like a home in pictures.

Even more important is natural light. Blinds and curtains should be easy to open and close. Daylight is key to making rooms feel bright and warm.

Staging too much or too little

When staging a room, the furniture in it should be appropriate for the size of the room. A couch that’s too big for a living room and makes the space feel smaller than it is. Bedrooms can be dwarfed by too many dressers and a large bed in the middle.

Meanwhile, too little furniture in a room can make it tough for people scanning through photos to imagine how they’d use a space.

Staging, when done right, strikes a balance that allows potential buyers to both see a house as a home while also leaving it open enough for them to envision how they would set up each room.

There’s an easy fix for this. Furniture can be pushed against walls and beds, especially in smaller secondary bedrooms, can be staged in corners. Virtual staging is also gaining popularity because it can be cheaper, more flexible, and removes the literal heavy lifting.

Faking everything

While virtual staging is flexible and can fill out an empty house for photos, it doesn’t offer much help when it comes to hosting open houses.

The same can be said of filling out a house with fake photos, fake plants, and even fake electronics like TVs. People touring the house may find it inauthentic. Even some who are only swiping through photos or looking at a virtual tour may get a similar feeling.

Investing in flowers that last longer. Orchids, carnations, and chrysanthemums all live for at least two weeks.

Ignoring the exterior of the house

First impressions matter. You may have nailed the foyer at the entrance of the house, but prospective buyers will see the outside of the home long before they ever see anything inside. A stunning exterior shot is also generally the first photo on a listing.

Clear up any junk around the outside just like you would on the inside. Make sure the lawn is cut and other landscaping work is up to snuff. Replace a dingy welcome mat, hang a wreath, and consider putting out some potted plants.

All in all, communication is key. Talk to your agent and your photographer, as well as any other experts working to list your house. Ask them for help, if needed. Their combined experience will help this process go as smoothly as possible.

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