“Ask the Home Staging Expert®” – Show third bedroom as an office, a bedroom, or both?

free bedroom office

Hi Lori –

We’re getting ready to sell our two-story, three-bedroom single-family home. I work from home and the third bedroom serves as my office and our guest bedroom, housing only a daybed and a desk. For staging, I’m not sure how to handle the room’s closet. It’s a pretty sizable walk-in and it currently stores our winter coats, wrapping paper and other items that would normally be stored in a basement or attic — because we have neither of those.

Perhaps I’m overthinking it but I’m afraid that leaving those things in there will signal that, if you actually need three bedrooms, this house won’t work for you. What do people usually store in the guest room closets? Should it just be empty? Should I move my desk in there and call it my office?

Thanks for any help you can offer!

Nervous in New Jersey

Dear Nervous –

That’s a dilemma many homeowners have to contend with when listing a three-bedroom home without additional storage.  But I think you are offering potential buyers a lot of flexibility by showing that third bedroom as a home office/guest room.  That’s exactly what I would do.  That way, anyone can envision either/or and the potential of that space will not be in question.

I would only be concerned with showing the closet space like you would any other closet.  It doesn’t really matter what the contents are, as long as they are presented in a neat and orderly fashion and not absolutely bursting at the seams!  I typically tell my clients to edit and remove one-third to one-half of whatever they’re storing…depending on how much stuff they have in there…so buyers can still see some nice, usable space.

As far as using the closet as an office, I would not be inclined to do that as I think anyone looking for three-bedrooms is going to want to use that closet for the occupant of the bedroom.  And anyone looking for a home office is likely not going to want to feel like they’ll be stuck in a closet, no matter how roomy!

I think that utilizing a large closet as an office is actually a very clever use of space.  But you don’t really want to be showing that to buyers as it’s going to make them feel like the house has run out of room and the only way they can actually have a designated office is to tuck it away in a closet. 

If a buyer is in need of both…three-bedrooms plus a well-sized home office space, they are likely going to keep looking for a house to better accommodate their needs.

The truth is, no matter how far we try to cast our nets when appealing to potential buyers, a house is never going to catch every single one of them.   Your home will definitely be too small for some, but it will be absolutely perfect for many and likely many more by simply showing that flexibility!  I truly believe that by showing different options to utilize that third-bedroom space, you are going to have a much easier time nabbing those who could go either way and that is the goal.

FYI – When it comes to staging a home for market, I don’t believe there is such a thing as ‘over-thinking’ the details.  Those details count, and it’s a good idea to look at all your options to come up with the best solution, which you have definitely done.

Thank you so much for asking, hope this helps, and best of luck in the sale of your home!

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

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