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Home Staging DON'Ts

I’ve published a number of blog posts detailing various home-staging DO’s. This week we’re shifting our focus to home staging DON’Ts! Pay close attention to these 6 DON’Ts to avoid a home staging nightmare and a property that just won’t sell:

1) Don’t Forget Curb Appeal

First impressions count -- a lot! Hence the lawn, landscaping, and exterior of the house deserve a lot of your initial attention since these are the first things a prospective buyer will notice. In order to entice buyers, you have to THINK like a buyer. Would you bother looking inside a house with a brown lawn, broken doorbell or raccoon infestation? (hint: probably not).

Pots of blooming flowers, power washed paths and pavement, and neatly trimmed plants go a long way towards crafting “the right” first impression. If you do nothing else outdoors, tend to the yard. After all, you don’t want to miss out on any showings, because buyers can’t find their way to the front doorstep.

2) Don’t Be A Slob

What’s the cheapest way to prepare your home for the market? You got it – clean, clean, clean! I mean clean EVERYTHING. Cleanliness suggests that the home was, and continues to be, well taken care of.

Dirt, dust, and fingerprints all need to go. Tiles and grout in the kitchen and bathrooms all need to be sparkling. Pay special attention to doorways and other high traffic areas. Buyers will have an up-close view of them, hence they must be immaculate and welcoming. If this all sounds like too much, hire a professional to come and clean thoroughly for a day or two. Trust me, it’s a worthy investment.

3) Don’t Show A Broken Home

You know those bits and pieces that needed repairing, but you just never got around to fixing? FIX THEM. That goes for cracked windowpanes, unpainted fences, peeling wallpaper and broken doorknobs. You want to create the impression that moving into your home will be seamless and hassle free for a buyer. A little sweat equity goes a long way.

4) Don’t Get Personal

Less is always more. Keep decor simple and dismantle rooms that have any kitschy themes going on. A jungle-themed kids bedroom might not appeal to a middle-aged 20-something couple.

The décor that you do keep can’t be personal. Put away family photographs, personal paraphernalia and any religious or cultural items that may polarize potentially interested demographics. By de-personalizing the space, buyers can more easily imagine themselves living there. It’s not that your extensive magnet collection isn’t fascinating; the problem is that personal items distract buyers, drawing their attention away from your home’s best features. Remember, it’s your job to make them believe this could be their home and give them a reason to buy it. You want to create that luxury hotel feeling that appeals to the vast majority of people.

5) Don’t Go Color Crazy

Aggressive colors tend to scare off buyers; whether consciously or not. Neutral colors are the safest approach here. When buyers view the home, the last thing you want them to think is how much money and time it will take them to paint over a lobster-bisque vestibule or replace a green shag carpet.

6) Don’t Misuse Spaces

Think about spaces as functioning for the purpose of which they were originally designed. Bedrooms should be bedrooms, not storage spaces or walk-in closets. Outdoor patios should be staged as relaxing spaces, not left empty or used for toy storage. You want to showcase your home as having beautiful, spacious, livable rooms, free from clutter, with logical design and purpose.

Crisis averted. Now go shake out your welcome mat.

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