“Ask the Home Staging Expert®” – How many houseplants are too many when your house is on the market?

Got PlantsHi Lori –

Dear Home Staging Expert –

I’m a Real Estate Agent in Florida and I have a client with a lot of houseplants.  I mean A LOT of houseplants!  They are everywhere and seem to be multiplying!  The homeowner is very proud of her collection, but those plants are the first thing you see when you walk in the door and they are overwhelming.  On top of that, a lot of them look like they’re on their last leg.  Personally, I would have tossed many of them out a long time ago.  How do I tell my client we need to thin out the jungle?  And what do we do with all those plants?  

Desperate Realtor in Boca Raton

Dear Desperate Realtor,

Too much of a good thing is just too much, no matter what that ‘thing’ happens to be.  What this listing is suffering from is really nothing more than clutter.  It just happens to be living clutter in this case.  While the homeowner might love all her plants, you are going to have to be honest and let her know they are going to be a distraction for buyers and will need to be corralled.  If you come up some options before you approach her, she will be more likely to agree.

You could find out if she might have a close friend or relative or maybe even just a friendly neighbor to farm them out to while her house is on the market.  It might seem like an impossible quest, but I have frequently found people with green thumbs are friends with and/or related to other people with green thumbs, so it’s not really that far fetched.

The best idea short of removing them from the home is to gather all the plants together and display them in one place as a grouping.  Perhaps a sunroom or a sunny, secondary bedroom, or even somewhere outside.  Since you’re in Florida, I’m sure they will do well out there.  But the key is to group as many together as tightly as possible in one area so you don’t distract from the space itself.

If some of the plants are sickly and the homeowner doesn’t want to get rid of them, try trimming off the dead leaves and plant several together in one pot, or tuck some silk greenery along in with them to make the arrangement look more lush.  It almost sounds counter productive, but I’ve had to do it before myself, and it will actually make everything seem well-cared for as a whole and the sickly plants will blend in rather stick out like a sore thumb.

Totally fine to use a couple of the healthier plants here and there to stage the property.  I use plants all the time.  But you definitely don’t want potential buyers remembering all the greenery and forgetting about the positive features of the house itself, so make sure to use discretion when placing them.

Hope this helps and thanks for the great question!

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


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