Naomi Findlay reveals the top 10 property staging mistakes you must avoid.
Image supplied by Naomi Findlay
Renovators who have an eye for timely and profitable sales know that even the simplest of property staging mistakes can cause serious buyers to change their minds about making an offer.
But here’s the kicker: in most cases, these property staging mistakes could have been avoided had it been carefully planned, with possible challenging scenarios anticipated and pre-empted.
So today, I’d like you to re-evaluate your home staging plan as I discuss with you the ‘Top 10 Property Staging Mistakes You Must Avoid’.
#10 PARTICIPATING IN ROAD SIDE COLLECTION
Roadside collections are a wonderful service. They come in handy when you’re cleaning up and preparing your property for sale. However, it’s essential that the roadside collection period doesn’t overlap in any way with your property going on the market.
This is a classic common mistake that most people won’t even think about – until the day when it actually happens to them.
Remember, your property’s exteriors is what people will notice first. Items for collection directly displayed outside or near your front garden might be misconstrued as clutter. By knowing your area’s roadside collection schedule, you can have your stuff collected early on and preserve your property’s street appeal.
Get familiar with the roadside collection schedule in your area, especially for the time on when you’re aiming to present your property.
#9 SETTING THE TABLE
A full dinner table setting passes over that fine line of ‘styled’ and goes into the ‘over staged’ look. It runs the risk of turning the buyer off with the table setting being the most memorable aspect of the property.
Yes, there are established ways of setting the table. But your way of doing it may be a lot different from your target market’s style. So instead of using a full dining showcase, you can settle with decorative table vignettes.
Always keep in mind that you are staging your property for interested buyers and not yourself.
#8 DECLUTTERING TO THE POINT OF EMPTINESS
There’s a fine line that runs between a well-staged property and a home that has been de-cluttered to the point of being vast and empty. Once that line is crossed, the space is no longer inviting and appealing. Instead, it’s cold and vast.
It’s perfectly fine to embrace minimalism, but you have to make sure that your property still has those items that give it its life and identity.
#7 SELLING A PROPERTY WITH EMPTY ROOMS
If you sell your property with empty rooms, you might discourage serious buyers from making an offer. Here’s why:
You’re marketing a ‘property’ but you’re selling a ‘home.’ This means that you’re selling a place where people can actually live in.
Empty rooms do not offer reference points for buyers to gauge size. Buyers should be able to visualise where their specific furniture should go by using the already existing furniture in the room as reference.
Empty rooms lead buyers to find out potential flaws instead of appreciating the overall space. That’s because they don’t have anything to see.
Don’t leave absolutely everything up to the buyer’s imagination. Of course, you want them to imagine living in the space with their own possessions, so give them some items as a reference point. But stay in control over how your property is viewed and perceived.
#6 HEAVY WINDOW COVERINGS
Leaving heavy window coverings in place can make a room feel dark and cluttered. I often see older homes with multiple heavy drapes that contribute directly to making the room feel small, dark and cold.
Instead of covering your windows, open them up! Allow natural light to enter your property and for prospects to enjoy the outlook that it offers.
#5 PET SMELLS AND MESS
Research tells us that one of the biggest factors that impact negatively on a potential buyer’s impression of a property is pet smells and mess. Many property owners work very hard on removing all smells and evidence of our furry friends, but it’s still difficult to completely eradicate them.
Why? Because when you’re accustomed to the smell on a daily basis, you tend to have difficulty pinpointing where the odours comes from.
What can you do?
Have someone – a third party who does not own pets – inspect your property. Third party individuals are better at spotting the areas where pet smell originates than you do.
#4 TOO MUCH FURNITURE IN EACH ROOM
These are a few of the reasons why you shouldn’t have too much furniture in a room:
On Open Day, multiple parties may be present in a single room. Too much furniture will make the room look and feel smaller than it is.
Relative to its size, a room may look and feel small even if it’s large enough when there’s too much furniture.
With respect to serious buyers aiming to gauge how they’ll arrange their furniture when they move in, they may find it challenging to establish a reference point if there’s too much furniture to consider.
Strive to make a room lively without having to put much furniture in it. Be reasonably sparse.
#3 POLARISING LINEN
Polarising linen means using linen that some prospects may love but others may not appreciate. Often, the focal points in each room on your property make use of linen. This includes the bed in the bedroom, the table in the dining room, and the sofa in the living room.
As these are the first things prospects may notice once they walk into these rooms, the linen appearance can have a huge impact on the way they feel about that room.
Your safest bet is to settle with neutral but contemporary colours, such as shades of white and earth colours.
#2 NO HOUSE NUMBER
This is such a minor detail – but so important!
Not only should you make sure you have a house number; it should also be in a visible location. It should also be in good condition and in keeping with the feel and style of the property. The last thing you want to happen is for your buyers’ experience of your property starting in frustration because they were unable to find it.
#1 ‘REAL’ CLEANLINESS
It sounds pretty basic but ‘real’ cleanliness is the one thing I see most people get wrong – yet its the most important thing to get right. Often, sellers assume that the buyers can look past unswept floors and an untidy bathroom. But that’s not the case. In fact, buyers who are really interested in buying your property are more likely to be more detailed-oriented than those who are merely house shopping!
It’s simple: take time to clean.
Wrapping It Up
‘You don’t get a second chance to make a positive first impression.’
You’ll often hear seasoned renovators and property stagers say this, and they mean it for good reason. Always remember that you’re staging your property with your target market as your reference. This means that every decision you make and every step you take should be in response to their needs and not your own.
Making the property staging a memorable experience for your prospects is a good way to start encouraging offers from them.