Large, sprawling living room in a luxury home

Preparing your home for sale goes beyond giving it a good cleaning and a few coats of paint. It requires staging. Home staging is all about creating a warm, inviting mood that helps potential buyers envision themselves living in the space. This is done by thoughtfully furnishing and decorating your home to make it look as beautiful and appealing to buyers as possible. At the end of an open house or private showing, you’ll want potential buyers to walk away with a positive feeling that they’ve just found their new home.

According to the 2019 Profile of Home Staging, published by the National Association of REALTORS® Research Group, staging the living room was found to be most important for buyers (47 percent), followed by staging the master bedroom (42 percent), and staging the kitchen (35 percent).

If you’ve never staged a home before, we’ll share our top 5 home staging mistakes and how to correct them.

Mistake 1: Keeping it too personal.

preventing home staging mistakesRemember, one of the main goals of staging home is to help buyers envision themselves living there. That’s difficult to do when photos of your family cover the walls and line the bookshelves. The same is true of trophies, collectibles or religious and political items. This will remind them that they’re in a stranger’s home rather than in a home that could potentially be theirs.

Solution: To help buyers envision the home as their own, and to keep them from being distracted by these items, temporarily pack away family photos and other personal mementos. If you’re left with bare walls, add some artwork that portrays interesting but neutral visuals. This includes landscapes, botanicals, geometric shapes or abstract work.

Mistake 2: Misusing spaces.

Does your enclosed front porch double as storage space for toys, gym equipment and boxes? Have you turned your guest bedroom into a crafting room? Has your mud room transitioned into your shoe closet? While the creative use of such spaces may work for you, to buyers, this often leads them to believe that there’s not enough space or that the overall layout of the home is not functional. Something you definitely want to avoid while staging your home!

Solution: Showcase rooms in your home as the intended spaces they were supposed to be. Stage enclosed porches or patios as usable relaxing or entertaining space. Add some wicker chairs and a small coffee table where buyers can envision themselves sipping lemonade while chatting with their visiting neighbors. If your home is advertised as a four-bedroom, pack up your crafting supplies and stage the room as it was originally intended — a bedroom. Families with lots of kids (or frequent out-of-town guests) will especially value the extra bedroom space. Bedrooms are always valuable real estate.

Mistake 3: Forgetting to declutter.

decluttering your homeIf you’ve lived in your home for a number of years, chances are high that you’ve accumulated quite a collection of “stuff.” Decluttering is a must for two main reasons: one – it creates a “blank canvas” appeal that allows buyers to imagine how they’d use the space, and two – it makes the space look larger. A place that’s cluttered looks smaller; so, if your home isn’t spacious, decluttering helps to make the most of the square footage you have.

Solution: Walk through every room in your house. Are there toys lurking around every corner? Are your bookshelves ready to collapse from the weight of all your books? While all areas of your home can benefit from decluttering, make sure these areas are especially free and clear: kitchen and bathroom countertops, overstuffed bookcases and open shelving, closets, pantry, cabinets (yes, buyers will look inside!) hallways and the foyer. Not sure if you’re missing something? Sometimes an objective eye can help. Enlist the help of a friend or family member to do a walkthrough of your house and to point out any spots that look cluttered.

An extra perk of decluttering: you’ll have less to pack when you move out and less to unpack when you move into your new home!

Mistake 4: Not matching the size of your furniture to the scale of your room.

Creating an open and welcoming space is difficult to do when your tiny living room is filled with a large sectional and overstuffed recliners.

Solution: Remove unused or extra furniture to help create a spacious look and feel. Put your loveseat and recliners in storage and keep your sofa, coffee table and one comfortable chair to achieve a relaxing entertaining area.

(Side note: remove stained, ripped pieces from your space; if buyers are greeted by worn-out furniture in your rooms, they’ll conclude that your home is neglected and think that other areas are also neglected).

Mistake 5: Neglecting your yard.

First impressions of your home start way before buyers walk into your entryway. They begin the moment they pull up to your house and into your driveway. Lackluster curb appeal, such as overgrown grass, piles of leaves, neglected weeds and battered-looking trash cans in the driveway, will definitely start the house tour off on the wrong foot.

Solution: Give your yard some TLC to make sure the outside of your home is as spotless and presentable as the inside. Rake the leaves, weed flower gardens, trim overgrown shrubs, add fresh mulch and sweep your porch. While you’re at it, add hanging baskets filled with colorful flowers or potted plants on your front porch.

Looking for more suggestions on staging your home? Our knowledgeable team of REALTORS® can offer first-hand experience on a range of tips and tricks for making that all-important first impression on potential buyers.

Professional home staging is also an option. These experienced experts can make the task of knowing what to do and what not to do when staging home for sale clear and simple. We’re happy to recommend some staging experts in the Austin area.