Although the real estate market is on an upturn for the first time in years, many home owners are still having difficulty selling. Home staging addresses issues that may prevent a buyer from making an offer. As professional stagers in the Boston Metrowest area, we have seen many common mistakes sellers make when putting their home on the market. Below is a general list of these common mistakes so you can avoid them when selling your home.
- Too much clutter – Many home we see have too many appliances on the kitchen counters, mail and magazines stacked on tables and too many knick-knacks. We have seen a home with two different types of coffee makers, K-cup dispenser, stand mixer, blender, juicer, toaster, toaster oven, along with a large knife block, and a crock with utensils. There were so many appliances that the granite counters tops were overlooked at first glance. Our recommendation is generally to have no more than three appliances out – less if the kitchen is small.
- Personal photos – Although your photos bring back fond memories to you, they alienate buyers. When a potential buyer sees your family and friends in photos, they disassociate from the home and stop imagining themselves living there. We have seen homes with dozens of family photos that show a child grow, with yearly portraits from newborn through college graduation. We always recommend that all family photos and portraits be removed when selling and replaced with neutral art.
- Outdated décor – We see this all the time. Many times people have lived in a home for more than a decade and the décor reflects that. Unfortunately, many people paid designers to style the home with matching wall paper, window treatments and upholstery, which now feels very dated to today’s buyers. Buyers today are looking for modern, fresh homes and outdated décor makes the home itself feel outdated. Home staging can quickly update the look of your home – in most cases, without costly renovations.
- Pets in the home – Many of us have pets, and we love them like family. However, buyers coming in to your home expect a clean, allergen-free home. No matter how clean you keep your home, many buyers are put off by pets of any sort – this includes all pet accessories, like pet beds and toys. But, the biggest offender we have seen was a client with “wee-wee” pads on the floors. In this case, the homeowner replied she would only remove them for the open house, but not for short notice showings. We had to explain to her why this may put off some potential buyers, and eventually she understood and they were removed.
- Undercover sellers – We have met sellers that didn’t want their neighbors to know they were selling, and wouldn’t allow a sign in their yard. They had chosen a Realtor who only had one open house prior to staging and after staging didn’t feel it was necessary to have another. When selling, it is important to let people know your home is for sale. It is very possible that a neighbor or person driving to work will know someone who is looking in the area. Although it may feel intrusive at times to have neighbors asking you if you are selling and asking to see the house, keep in mind that the goal is to sell and the more people who know the better.
- Bad smells – We have encountered some bad odors, one of the worst is smoke. We can’t even stage a home if a person smokes in the home. We have also encountered homes that smell of diapers, and strong spices. A home that smells of air freshener raises a red flag to buyers as well, because they may wonder what smell you are trying to hide. Except for smoke, these smells can be eliminated rather easily. For example, cutting up a lemon and running it through your garbage disposal will rid your kitchen of most cooking odors. However, if your home smells of mold or mildew, you need a trained expert to assess the root of the problem and fix it accordingly.
This is a short list of some of the items that will put the brakes on a sale. Of course, every home is different and yours will have its own unique set of issues. Having a professional home stager’s objective advice will put your home in the best position to receive strong offers, and in many cases, multiple offers. You can call us for a free consultation at 781-489-8489.