Nowhere in life is the old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder truer than in real estate. One woman’s dream home might be a mid-century modern, Mad Men styled contemporary, while another’s includes all the gingerbread charm of a classic Victorian. But when it comes to prepping a home to be viewed and (fingers crossed!) sold, there is both art and science to staging a home before its listed to maximize its appeal to the broadest number of target buyers.
The only thing worse than not staging your home for sale at all is to spend your time and money doing the work only to have buyers react badly to it. Here are a few common scenarios in which sellers think their staging is awesome and buyers, well, beg to differ:
1. You used beat up or ugly furnishings and decor. Great staging – DIY or professional – includes choosing furniture that shows the home off in its best light, and positioning the furnishings optimally, too. Sometimes this can be done using certain pieces of the seller’s furniture. Other times, furniture must be rented or otherwise obtained. One area in which budget-minded sellers like to save money on staging is by finding cheaper alternatives than renting new furniture from a staging company or store.
In this era of Craigslist, eBay, Freecycle, estate sales and other peer-to-peer online stores and trading sites, there is an abundance of access to used furniture at great prices. I have no bone to pick with the smart sellers who use these tools to replace their own furniture with something that is in better condition, more attractive or a smaller scale than their own, so as to highlight how much space their home truly offers. That said, using old, floral sofas from Craigslist’s Free Section, unattractive thrift store ‘artwork’ or even your own truly worn out, old furniture is a recurring reason buyers cite for focusing on how bad the staging is vs. the house itself.
What’s worse, the furnishings you might think was THE BEST BARGAIN EVER might actually give your nice home a worn-down, unkempt feel to the buyers who come to see it.