“Ask the Home Staging Expert®” – Not Happy About Staging

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Hi, Lori

Our house was on the market last year for 9 long months .  We had a lot of showings, but no offers.  We ended up signing with a new agent this year and he suggested we have our rooms painted and staged before putting it back on the market this spring.  The problem is, we absolutely hate what the stager has done!  Our home has lost all of its personality and just looks like a big old empty white box!  It feels so sterile and naked to us now.  Our Realtor recommended her, so we are not quite sure how to tell him that we are not at all happy with the changes she’s made.  He thinks our house looks great now and so do our neighbors, but it makes me want to cry!  What should we do?


Sad in Saginaw


Sorry to hear you are so unhappy.  I’m sure that was not the Realtor or stager’s intention.  However, I’m also assuming since the stager you chose was based on your Realtor’s suggestion, he has likely worked with her in the past to some degree of success, or is at the very least confidant in her abilities.

The objective of staging a home for market is to show off the house itself, not to showcase your design style or possessions and I’m sure that’s the approach your stager used when getting your home ready to sell.  I know the changes made might seem quite shocking and probably not at all how you envisioned your home to be.  But your house is now a product, and you want that product to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible.

If you’re already getting positive feedback from both your agent and your neighbors, I would suggest you grin and bear it as likely the feedback will be equally as positive from potential buyers.  And the more potential buyers who think your listing looks great, the more chances you will have to garner an offer.

Think about those 9 months your house sat on the market last year.  Wasn’t that a drag?  Your new agent seems to be moving you in the right direction.  I think you have to look at the bigger picture here and consider the end-goal which is to finally get an offer, sell your house, and move on.

Hope this helps and wishing you all the best!

If you have a question for “ASK THE HOME STAGING EXPERT®”, please contact lori@homestagingexpert.com.




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The Downside of Offering a Buyer’s Credit – Why it’s better to do the upgrades yourself

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Most people have walked through beautiful model homes and wished their own home had all those modern features. Model homes showcase the latest in upgrades and decorating styles. When we get home all we can see is the tile in our bathrooms and yesterday’s details in our kitchens. These things can become overwhelming if we are considering a home sale in the near future.

“Can I even sell my house with granite countertops anymore?”

Upgrades vs Buyer’s Credit

Once you decide that your home does need a facelift as compared to other options in the marketplace, the next decision is whether to do it before listing or offering the buyer a credit which allows them to remodel to their own taste. While it might seem like a good idea to give the buyer the ability to choose their own design, the truth is that if you can afford to do the work, you should get it done before listing. Here are a few reasons why offering a buyer’s credit has a downside:

•Buyer Impression: A dated home will look dated. Unless you’re offering a true “fixer-upper,” then buyers will evaluate your home based on its current appeal. Some will envision the potential, but many will find that too much work.

• Lower Offers: Offering a credit could be seen as seller motivation or desperation, which can lead to lower offers.

• Credit vs Value: You might feel an $8000 credit is reasonable for new kitchen counter-tops but your buyer might not. This can lead to additional negotiations which might reduce your profit.

• Home Condition: Buyers are hoping for a low-maintenance, low-repair property. If your home shows its age, buyers naturally wonder what else might be lurking beneath the surface.

• Loan Approval: Getting a home loan approved with a “carpet allowance” is all but impossible. To avoid this concern, most credits are labeled as “closing cost credit” instead, but there are limits to that also. If your buyers already are hoping for a closing cost credit, then they might not be able to accept your offer.

A dated home will always look dated. While you might find a buyer who can truly vision the potential of your home, the truth is a home in need of updates will have a smaller buyer pool, and this reduces your chances of a good offer. If you can afford to make the updates before you list, you remove the opportunity for low-ball offers and put yourself in the best possible position to get a great offer.

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We have added a whopping 46 dates to our schedule for 2018!  Only 12 students per class for individual benefit.  Register and pay for any workshops before 12/31/17 and receive a huge discount!  Contact lori@homestagingexpert.com for details.

Simply the best hands-on Home Staging Course in the industry.  If you learn by doing and seeing the process in person…this workshop’s for you!



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4 Home Staging Horror Stories to Haunt You This Halloween from the National Association of Realtors

My SCARIEST Home Staging Stories featured on the National Association of Realtors blog, ‘Styled, Staged, Sold’.  We hope you don’t have nightmares!  Happy Halloween, everybody!

Halloween facebook pumpkins

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Home Staging Tips: Should You Set the Table?

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Home stagers, Realtors, and even home owners argue this point all the time. But when you’re staging your home for market, avoid setting the table and keep the focus on the space, not your stuff. That is, after all, the entire concept behind staging to sell. You aren’t selling your stuff, you’re selling the house! So why add to it with yet another distraction?

Potential buyers walk through a home in about 15-20 minutes on average, give or take. By setting the table, you are now taking away from their experience of the space by directing them to the tabletop instead of the beautiful outdoor view, shiny hardwood floors, gorgeous chandelier, etc.

While a smartly dressed table can be amazing to look at, remember what you’re selling…THE HOUSE! So dress your table for a celebration or holiday, not for a showing. Keep that colorful bouquet on the table to draw the buyer’s eye into the room, but don’t over-indulge to ensure potential buyers remember the space itself and not your grandma’s china!

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“Ask the Home Staging Expert®” – Can you help us choose a backsplash?

subway tile kitchen

Greetings from Milwaukee!

My partner and I are flipping our first house but we don’t know what to choose for a backsplash in the kitchen. We want to go with tile and love the trendy multi-colored glass tiles so popular right now, but we are seeing them in every newly remodeled listing in our market. Not sure if we should follow the crowd or do something completely different. Is one backsplash more desirable than another? The cabinets have been painted off-white and we are adding stainless steel appliances and light gray granite countertops. The floors in the kitchen are wood.

Sam & Matt – Milwaukee Flippers

Dear Sam & Matt,

Congratulations on your first flip! That sounds like a lot of fun and I’m sure it’s already been a great learning experience for you both.

As far as the backsplash goes, I tend to see the multi-colored glass tiles everywhere too right now. (For the past couple of years actually.) And while I like them, I do think there is something to be said for standing out from the crowd. Because you want to appeal to the most buyers possible, I wouldn’t go too crazy. But based on the description of your kitchen without actually seeing it myself, I would consider something more classic that never goes out of style…so how about subway tiles? Sounds like they might be the perfect fit for your project! Subway tiles are not only economical but they also come in many different colors, though I am partial to glossy white myself. You might also consider adding a decorative bullnose trim to dress it up a bit if you prefer as there are many nice options to choose from. Personally, I think subway tiles have the most longevity and are more pleasing to most aesthetics, so will appeal to more buyers in the long run.

Hope this helps and wishing you much success on your first flip! I’m sure it will turn out absolutely smashing!

If you have a question for “ASK THE HOME STAGING EXPERT®”, please contact lori@homestagingexpert.com.

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