First impressions are everything, and if you want to get your home sold, you must get it staged correctly. When done right, staging can immediately draw in buyers’ interest by showing them a home’s full potential and function. However, there are a few staging mishaps that you’ll want to avoid. Get it wrong, and you could scare away potential buyers who were almost ready to make an offer.
Not interested in selling your apartment yet? You can still borrow some of these tips to help with your interior decorating.
1. Failing to Consider How they will Photograph your Home1. Failing to Consider How they will Photograph your Home
Almost every homebuyer today starts their search online. Jaw-dropping listing photos that make them stop for a closer look are what you should be trying to achieve. Sadly, it doesn’t matter how good your home looks in person if not decorated in a way that makes the listing photos look good.
Too many sellers overlook this aspect and only think about how the home will look during private viewings or open houses.
When staging your home, consider the focal point you’ll use when taking photographs. Most professional photographers use a window or a fireplace as their focal point, so you should place the rest of the furnishings around that. If there’s a lot of blocking or poor angles, online buyers won’t understand how the home looks. It may even be worth hiring a professional real estate photographer.
2. Not Thinking About Who Your Potential Buyer Will Be2. Not Thinking About Who Your Potential Buyer Will Be
While it’s commonly advised that you shouldn’t over customize your home to only appeal to a limited pool of buyers, you should not overlook who most of your potential buyers are likely to be. Are they more likely to be young professionals or newly married couples? Families with kids or retired empty nesters? It’s not too hard to get a sense of who might be buying in your condo or co-op building. Look at the age groups of most of your neighbors. Are most of the building’s units studio or multi-room apartments? Is the building in a good school zone? What kind of buyers are the building’s amenities likely to attract?
Consider all this when planning how to stage your home. But don’t go overboard either. It should look as appealing as possible to the broadest pool of buyers while also considering who most of those buyers are likely to be.
3. Not Storing Away Personal Items3. Not Storing Away Personal Items
Try to scale back your personal design choices. Although it’s true you should allow buyers to feel some emotional connection to your place, the line between that and leaving out too many personal items can be a bit grey. This becomes a challenge when you’re still living in the home you’re trying to sell. The buyers should envision themselves living there while also seeing how they can use the space. That means putting away any family photographs and other personal items. You could try replacing them with some art pieces that fit the theme you’re striving for. Just remember not to overdo it.
4. Making the Home Look too Cookie-Cutter4. Making the Home Look too Cookie-Cutter
You don’t want to make the home look too niche, but you also don’t want it to look cookie-cutter and bland. Buyers who spend a lot of time looking through online listings will start to grow bored of seeing the same bland aesthetic repeatedly. Throw in a few flashes of color to catch their attention. A well-chosen rug, artwork, or sofa covering can achieve a lot. Your listing agent can be a big help in getting this right. They should know precisely how to avoid a cookie-cutter look while still making it appealing to the broadest pool of buyers.
5. Not Taking Down the TV5. Not Taking Down the TV
Most homes will have a TV, but it’s usually wrong to leave it up for staging photos or open houses. It rarely makes the home look inviting, warm or cozy. It may also distract buyers from seeing your home as a place for entertaining guests if that’s the mood you’re going for. Older models, in particular, can look very dated and clunky, suggesting to the buyers that there might be other things in the home that are outdated. If removing the TV is not practical or optional, try incorporating it into the staging. Many NYC sellers use a common tactic to surround it with black and white artworks. This way, it won’t interfere with the colors of the space.
6. Failing to Get the Lighting Right6. Failing to Get the Lighting Right
A good listing should be bright and airy to show off every home part. Too many sellers overlook this, leaving their homes looking dark and dreary. Maximize whatever natural light you can with window treatments. When using unnatural light, make sure it gives off a warm color and is layered appropriately. You can do this by having lots of different table lamps and light stands at different heights. Strategically placed mirrors and other reflective surfaces can also help a lot.
7. Not Providing the Right Sense of Scale7. Not Providing the Right Sense of Scale
Your choice of furnishings and where you place them will significantly impact how the scale of your home is perceived. Too many large furnishings in a small space can make it look even smaller. Out-of-scale art pieces can also throw off a buyer’s perception. Opt for slender furnishings that don’t take up too much space. Any wall art should be proportional to the wall hanging on, not too big and not too small.
8. Not Hiring a Professional Staging Company8. Not Hiring a Professional Staging Company
People make it their job to stage homes beautifully and intriguingly to draw in buyers like a flock of hungry birds. Professional stagers understand every part of their business and know how to get the most out of space. They can truly work wonders in a short amount of time, leaving your home looking like something featured in Architectural Digest.
Naturally, this comes at a price that you’ll have to make room for in your budget. Fortunately, most staging companies also offer a range of packages to fit most budgets. Hiring a staging company can raise your chances of selling faster and perhaps even for above market price. Sellers that have already moved out, aside from virtual staging, are often the only chance to avoid posting blank listing photos. Empty apartments rarely sell, even with better layouts and square footage than competitors.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
Home staging is an excellent tool for sellers, but it is not a magical cure-all. You can’t cover up significant issues or glaring flaws with a bit of staging. Getting some renovations done first would be a good step for homes needing substantial repairs or updating. Staging should be more thought of as the icing on the cake. It can make a good apartment look great, but it can’t make a lousy apartment look good.