It’s a fact of life and real estate that looks matter, but when it comes to selling their home, sometimes sellers get thrown off track. It’s understandable. Agents get a listing in top-selling shape on the regular, but homeowners find themselves facing the challenge only a few times in a lifetime.
Don’t let your valued client self-sabotage their sale. Here are the top staging missteps to avoid to make sure your listing snags a killer price.
1. The Home Is Decorated in a Specific Personal Style
If your current sellers feel that they must share their gift for interior decorating with the world, remind them that now’s not the time. When it comes to staging, urge them to keep their penchant for purple ceilings and leopard print carpet on the down low — those design decisions may be bold, but they aren’t for everyone.
Instead, stick to neutrals. Buyers want to picture themselves in a home, so it needs to be a blank slate of sorts against which they can project their lives, which means fresh, current furniture and accessories. That doesn’t mean it needs to look like a sterile showroom, though. It’s fine to add a few pops of color or pieces or art so long as it’s not too distracting or extreme.
2. They Ignore Dirt and Clutter
It’s OK for people to shove their junk into closets or drawers when entertaining friends and family. Not so when you’re showing their home. Potential buyers will be looking in said closets and drawers, and a mess (no matter how well sellers think it’s hidden) is a turnoff. The same goes for dirt, smudges and grime throughout the home.
If your sellers aren’t great housekeepers, recommend that they invest in a professional to clean before open houses and showings. A messy, dirty house isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but in a competitive market it could be the distraction that sways buyers in favor of another property.
3. The House is Too Hot or Too Cold
Whether buyers are stepping in from the winter chill or a hot and humid summer day, they want to feel a sense of — “Ahh” — comfort and relief when they enter your listing.
So, if sellers are notoriously stingy with the heat or AC, arrange to have them crank it up a few hours before a showing by calling, texting, or emailing them. If sellers push back, remind them that it’s impossible for buyers to fully appreciate the great features of the home if they ditch out early because they’re distracted by their own shivering…or sweating.
4. It Smells
Buyers are assessing a home with all of their senses, and the sense of smell should not be overlooked. Even if the space is neat and doesn’t have the odor of an unclean home, the sellers’ menagerie of pets or habit of simmering big vats of chili in the kitchen all weekend could have equally deleterious effects.
Get the house a professional deep clean and air out the place before showings, because there aren’t enough cake batter candles in the world to mask certain odors (and that would be a horrible combination, anyway).
5. The Home Needs Key Renovations
Your listing probably doesn’t need a complete overhaul (and if it does, that’s a whole other issue), but if it needs some important updates, you need to let sellers know.
Assess the home and give sellers your suggestions, which can be as small as new cabinet hardware, paint, and light fixtures, or a larger investment, like new kitchen appliances. You clients are counting on you for your expert advice on the best places to spend money for the biggest impact on buyers.