Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid When Marketing Your Home

By ForSaleByOwner

Homeowners who choose to sell their home on their own know that attracting potential buyers has become a bit more sophisticated than just putting a “For Sale” sign on the lawn and waiting for the phone to ring. They’re usually aware that they need to spruce up their residence — inside and out — to attract the eye of a potential buyer. Most sellers think that they can apply their own decorating skills to staging a home in the best possible light. What they don’t realize is that their own attachment to their house can alter their perspective of what will actually a sell a home.

“People love their homes and they want to show any interested party what’s great about it,” says Robin Fallow, a Los Angeles-based interior designer. “But they sometimes get caught up in their own little reality. They stage rooms in a way that worked for them but may not work for others. They call attention to things that potential buyers may see as a negative, not a positive.”

Fallow points to a recent client who was looking to sell her home quickly, and refused to alter any inside rooms to reflect more potential uses.

“She had a piano and a drum set in the foyer at the front of the house because that’s where she and her husband liked to play music,” Fallow says. “It was a beautiful space with a great view, a view she said she found inspirational when playing the piano.” Potential buyers didn’t necessarily agree.

“They might have overlooked the piano but they couldn’t get past the drum set, which was absolutely gorgeous but it didn’t matter,” she says. “You walked into the house and felt like you were entering a fraternity house. You took a beautiful welcoming space and assigned a use to it that others probably wouldn’t appreciate.”

After some resistance, Fallow’s client agreed to put the drum set in temporary storage in order to stage extra furniture. They then relocated the piano to a den off of the living room. In their place, Farrow put a simple writing desk and a small bookshelf.

“The feel of the house was completely different when you walked in,” she says. “It was quieter and less stressful. The foyer was now welcoming and filled with potential.”

Another of Farrow’s clients had painted large murals in the house’s family room for her children. Although the murals were age- and interest-appropriate for the homeowner’s son and daughter, they may have served as a turnoff to potential buyers, especially those without children. Farrow suggested painting over them but her client refused, saying that her children were anxious enough about moving to a new home, and that she didn’t want to escalate the issue by changing their current environment.

The seller was able to come to a compromise by purchasing two large wall coverings, which she put up when the home was being shown.

“It wasn’t a perfect solution because the coverings themselves were fairly simple and subtle, but they really did seem like they were in place to hide something,” Fallow says. “But it took the juvenile look out of the family room. It really made it seem like a home for adults, which was certainly the market in that area at the time.”

If you’re having difficulty adjusting the look and use of your space to appeal to potential owners, Farrow says to stop thinking like a seller and to think more like a buyer. “Put yourself in the shoes of the people walking into your home for the first time,” she says. “They have no connections to your passions or your interests. They just want to see a house that they can imagine as their own. Make that easy for them by streamlining and simplifying everything.”

Watch this: How to avoid common staging mistakes video