Top 10 Staging Sins - QC Design School

Staging a home is both creative and rewarding, but it can also be flat-out stressful.

Redesigning a home so it appeals to potential buyers is a tough job! You need to show off the best aspects of the property without overdoing it. You also need to find out what doesn’t work in the house to correct design flaws.

Fortunately, there are a few noticeable things (that could lead to a disastrous viewing!) to look out for. Avoid these 10 home staging sins and your clients’ property will be the envy of the housing market!

1. Ignoring the Little Things

bad driveway curb appeal

Staging a house is all about enhancing the great features of a property. But small, unsightly faults will easily undermine even the best assets.

Repair the little flaws, such as chips in the paint or weeds in the driveway. It goes a long way in showing possible buyers that your clients care for the property and that you don’t overlook small problems.

You may not be able to fix every detail, but once you repair most of the eyesores the house will be much more appealing to potential buyers. The positive aspects of the house will shine through without being overshadowed!

2. Hiding Clutter

We all know someone who does it—hides their clutter instead of organizing it. This is a huge staging sin in the design world!You may think that a potential buyer won’t notice the closet that was forced closed, or the small boxes tucked under the bed, but think again…

Buyers train themselves to look out for indicators that could devalue a property. Clutter is a simple way to show people that the house isn’t well taken care of. If you’re hiding boxes and bags of unwanted items, what else could you be hiding about the house?

Donate or get rid of anything your clients don’t need. It will make staging their home quicker and easier!

3. No Footpath

clear footpath through home for home staging and real estate sales

A key factor for possible buyers is the ability to view the home in its entirety without having to manoeuvre around furniture and tables.

Be sure to make a clear footpath throughout the property. This gives the buyers an impression of spaciousness and accessibility.

On top of designing a clear walkway, buyers need a logical walk-through of the home. Don’t have them jump from one side of the house to the other. Find a continuous path for the viewers to see the whole house without being constantly turned around.

4. Random Objects

An important staging rule to remember is that sentimental ornaments in the home are really only meaningful to the current owners.

This means that any left behind objects, however important to the owner, can end up looking like clutter to potential buyers. You need to decorate simply, in a way that presents the house as a home where buyers can visualize their own belongings.

Arranging furniture and decorative pillows fills the space and keeps the area open. Keep tables clear and focus on minimalist wall décor.

5. Lingering Pet Odors

pet odors can linger in a home that's up for sale - home stager must get rid of it

Think about when you invite guests to your client’s home: if they have a pet and a guest is allergic, you can bet they’ll know within a few minutes of walking in the door.

Potential buyers will be wise to this too—even if they aren’t allergic! Pet dander and odours can stick around through vacuuming and dusting. It’s important to invest in a good carpet cleaner and air out the home by opening windows and doors.

Most air fresheners only provide temporary relief of pet odours, so it’s essential for you to rid the home of pet fur and stains. Your local pet store should have cleaning products designed to target pet odours.

6. Only Focussing on the Indoors

When staging a home, remember that first impressions really are everything!

Focus on the outside of the house as much as the inside. If the outer walls are covered in dirt, wash it off! Or if the garden is full of weeds and old lawn tools, clean them out! A potential buyer will arrive and instantly make a judgement on how they feel about the house.

This goes back to repairing the little things—it’s crucial to present all areas of the property as assets of the home!

7. Closed Off Spaces

Whether it’s a closed door or furniture half-blocking the doorway, an impasse to a viewing can make possible buyers feel unwelcome.

Be sure to check that every room is easy to enter. If a buyer catches a full view of the room at the door, it adds spaciousness to the home. Don’t force people to manoeuvre around furniture—move it out of the way!

highlight large windows of a home staging secret

8. Forgetting the Windows

Lighting is important in every home. Maximize natural light and change any lightbulbs that are dim.

We all know what it’s like to flick on a light switch and feel as if the room is no brighter than before. Especially in basements, there needs to be enough light so the viewer can get a proper look—even in dark corners!

And don’t forget to clean the windows! A clean window is visually appealing and sunlight isn’t blocked by a film of dirt. Open those curtains and illuminate your client’s home!

9. Being Unprepared

“I don’t know” is never an acceptable answer to hear from a home stager. You always need a reason or explanation of why you chose a certain design approach.

Whether you insist on repairing small faults or choose to rearrange the furniture, be prepared to explain what your staging does to promote the sale of a home. Demonstrate the importance of repairs and organization to your clients. The integrity of the house lies in much more than simple décor!

We know it can be irritating to explain every part of your design intentions, but make a point of what works and what doesn’t. You are the expert, after all!

10. Unwashed Linens

dirty linens and sheets are a home staging sin

Leaving curtains, blankets, and sheets unwashed can make your clients’ home seem musty. Wash all linens to keep the home smelling fresh! Although the linens may not smell bad per se, they do catch a lot of dust and dirt from the air and from our bodies. Cleaning linens will remove any lingering dust which makes the air feel stuffy. This added step will give your clients’ home a clean and fresh atmosphere, even if you’re the only one who can tell why!

Sometimes, not every home staging sin can be avoided. Keep in mind that as long as you address problem areas rather than sweeping them under the rug, buyers will be pleased with your honesty.

Putting in extra care during the staging process is the best way to show off great features of a property. Potential buyers will be swarming to get a good look!

Need some home staging tips for when you’re working with a tight budget? See how you can get a high-end look without the price tag!

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