DIY home staging leaves much, or too little, for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the space. Here are my top five pet peeves when I view the home staging work of a non-professional.
Stripping it Bare
When you strip it bare, all the house’s personality has just gone done the drain. I’ve seen pure white walls, absolutely zero on the kitchen countertops, a carpet left in the center of the room with no furniture nearby. Pure white walls, vanilla-box style, bring no warmth to that house you’re trying to sell. As a matter of fact, it’s freezing cold! You’ve been told to clear your kitchen countertops and you took that instruction literally. As potential buyers come through and look at your kitchen, they see nothingness. Their eyes do not know where to land or where to move. With nothing on the countertops, warm and inviting went bye-bye. The lonely carpet in the middle of the room should be anchoring a conversation area, not floating. Carpets are used to define a space, but when they float in the middle of the room, it’s not performing any task. You’re better off not using a carpet at all. If you do have furniture and you also have a rug, then move that furniture up to the rug. Then you’ll truly have created a conversation area.
Using Carpets Incorrectly
Continuing on the topic of carpets: Carpets come in a variety of styles, colors, shapes and sizes. When you’re selling your house, you want to use an appropriately sized carpet for the room. An example is for the dining room: When you pull the chairs out from under the table, do the chairs remain on the carpet or are they half on and half off? To select the proper size carpet, make sure all the furniture fits onto it. During a home staging consultation, I provide homeowners with a handy guide to help them select the perfect sized carpet.
On the topic of carpets when you’re staging your house, use them only for anchoring a space. Otherwise buyers want to know what floor damage you’re hiding underneath them. For example, hall runners, bathroom rugs, kitchen mats — remove them. They also take up visual space on the floor and the goal is roominess, not confined spaces.
Overuse of Greenery
Once again, DIY home staging shows overuse. Bringing the outdoors in goes a long way. Greenery brings “life” to a space; overuse makes you feel like you’ve entered the jungle. Artificial botanicals are preferred used in small does. They are strategically placed for the eye’s interest as potential buyers walk through a room. Remember to remove any dust from them. Also having plants on the top of kitchen cabinets makes the cabinets look like they need lawn maintenance. Putting greenery up is a very dated decorating idea. When staging to sell, you want clean simple lines as you’re showcasing the house, not your decor.
Too Much Furniture
If you want to choke down the amount of space in a house, use every inch up by placing too much furniture into a room. Buyers want roomy and want to know they can walk around a room, not navigate all the furniture in it. You want your furniture pieces to be to scale to the space and strategically placed so you have flow in the room. Overcrowding a house with too much furniture sends buyers down the street to look at the next house with space to breathe.
Having a Potpourri of Odors
Houses smell and clean doesn’t. Odors from cooking, pets, dust, farm animals, accumulated dead bugs and critters in the attic, are all instant turnoffs to buyers. Odors are found in places you haven’t even dreamt of: Ceiling and wall paint, a/c vents, attics, moisture retention in kitchen cabinets, dishwashers, laundry room washer, carpet. Make certain you eradicate the source of the odor, not just cover it up! To get top dollar for your listing, clean each room from top to bottom. Removing and replacing things in the house to eliminate odors is of upmost importance. A good nose knows and can detect odors instantly. Buyers will look elsewhere; they want to know the problem has been addressed and does not become their problem with which to deal.
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