WARNING: Are These 5 Home Staging No-No’s Sabotaging the Sale of Your House?

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Even the best intentions can go awry, and the same is true when staging your home for market. With so much information floating around out there, it's sometimes difficult to find the right balance. These are a few common blunders that I often see, along with why you should avoid them and what you should be doing instead.

1) KEEPING IT TOO PERSONAL - Yes, we know you love that collage of family photos in the hallway. And displaying Junior's artwork on the refrigerator door helps to build his confidence and self-esteem. But the fact is, a potential buyer needs to picture themselves living in the house. And that's not easy to do when they've got a lifetime of someone else's memories staring them in the face. Pack that stuff up, tuck it away, and you can display it all again in your new home.

2) CREATING A THEME ROOM - The entire purpose of staging a house is to show off the positive features of the space. What you want a potential buyer to remember are the selling points of the home, like the beautiful hardwood floors, enormous eat-in kitchen, and natural stone fireplace. You don't want them remembering your house for its Star Wars-inspired dining room or jungle-themed master bath. Chances are, that's all a potential buyer is likely to remember.

3) CHOOSING THE WRONG PAINT COLORS - Paint colors can be very personal. But you want to make sure that anyone viewing your home will feel like they can move in tomorrow, not leave them pondering how much time it will take and what it will cost to have those teal green walls repainted. While a neutral palette might sound boring and tempt you to add some color, neutral shades are more likely to appeal to the aesthetics and furnishings of more buyers. Add color with artwork and accessories, but don't force it on them with bold paint schemes that won't work for most.

4) MISLEADING POTENTIAL BUYERS - Staging should make the positive aspects of a house so appealing, potential buyers are willing to overlook a few negatives. Purposely trying to conceal any problems can be a deal breaker when the truth is inevitably discovered. Your goal should NEVER be to hide anything from the buyer. For example, shoving a wardrobe in front of the bedroom window to block an ugly view is not acceptable. Instead, soften that view with a pair of light sheers and highlight the soaring ceilings and original woodwork. Now the negatives are no longer the main focus and nowhere near as distracting, and the room has nothing to hide.

5) STAGING OVER-KILL - Elaborately set dining tables, bathtubs filled with lilac water and rose petals, a breakfast tray on every bed holding a cup, saucer, fake toast, and copy of the New York Times...all of these added elements scream theatrics and not in a good way. Potential buyers walk through a house in literally minutes, so why place attention on a houseful of hokey distractions when the goal is to sell the house and not all the stuff within? There is a fine-line between staging to sell and blatantly contrived. While this might be fine for a model home, the average house already has too much to look at without the added charades. Make sure to keep the focus on the space itself and not all the props!

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