You've heard the expression "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to showing a home for sale. Prospective buyers only visit your home for a very short time to check it out, and many of the things that make the home you're selling great aren't things that they're going to be able to see during a tour. The gorgeous view of the sunset in the evening or the highly effective insulation that keeps your energy bills down in the winter are great to mention, but if you're showing the house at noon in the summer time, your prospective buyer won't get the full impact of these features because they simply can't see them. That's why staging the house to make a great first impression that buyers can see is so important and why 49% of Realtors believe that staging has an effect on the buyer. Take a look at some staging mistakes to avoid.
Personalizing the Décor
Your home can be beautifully decorated and immaculate and still not appeal to potential buyers, just because it looks too much like you, not them. In order to appeal to buyers, your home needs to be more of a neutral blank space so that buyers can envision projecting their own personality on to the surroundings. That's hard to do when your personality is in the way.
If you have a collection of obscure abstract art or rare spinning wheels, you may want to stow it away while you're showing the house. Use bedding and window dressings in the bedrooms that are neither very masculine nor very feminine, so as to appeal to either gender, or both at the same time. Choose neutral colors like tan or green or yellow. For example, instead of decking the room out in pink and purple or chrome and black. If you're an accomplished chef, you may want to keep complicated and unusual appliances out of sight – the kitchen should appear welcoming and easy to work in, not challenging.
Leaving Clutter Around
Selling a house that you're still living in is much more difficult than selling a house after you've moved out of it. That's because a house that's for sale really needs to be pristine when a buyer walks into it. The home doesn't have to be dirty or disgusting to turn off a potential buyer – perfectly normal clutter like homework and junk mail stacked on the kitchen table or a pile of shoes just inside the front door can be enough to convince a buyer to look elsewhere. A teenager's bedroom full of dirty laundry and video games may send them running in another direction.
Consider investing some money in a professional cleaning service during the time when you're actively showing the house. Schedule a cleaning once a week, and try to schedule all your prospective buyer tours the day after the cleaning service comes through if possible. That way, buyers will see the place at it's absolute best. It's worth the extra money to get your house off the market.
Have you ever walked into someone else's house and noticed that it smelled funny? It may have been an unpleasant smell, like cabbage or cigarette smoke, or it may just have been a smell that was unfamiliar to you, but not necessarily a bad smell. Either way, chances are the people who lived in that house didn't notice any smell at all. That's because you tend to go noseblind to the smells that surround you every day. This can be a big problem when selling a home. An odor that you're not even aware of may really be turning prospective buyers off.
If you have pets, if you smoke, if you frequently cook fragrant food, you can probably assume that the odors linger in the air, even if you don't notice them. Spraying air freshener around isn't your best bet either, because people can usually tell that it's covering up another smell. Making sure that your walls, carpets, furniture, and linens are washed and clean is a good start to getting rid of smells. You might also try baking chocolate chip cookies or cinnamon bread, lighting scented candles, or warming scented wax or essential oils, all of which create more realistic good smells to eclipse any unpleasant smells.
It's best to get professional advice when you're trying to determine the best way to stage your home for potential buyers. An experienced real estate agent can be your greatest asset when it comes to creating a scene in your home that buyers will love. They'll know what has worked best for homes for sale in your area.