The 7 biggest home-staging mistakes people make when trying to sell their house

The 7 biggest home-staging mistakes people make when trying to sell their house
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a living room with clutter circled in red
Leaving family photos, books, and clutter in your space could deter buyers.

  • Home staging can significantly increase a home’s value.
  • Staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than non-staged homes, a report found.
  • Interior designer Dan Mazzarini and home stager Meridith Baer shared common home-staging mistakes.

There are a few common mistakes when preparing your home for sale that can deter potential buyers.

Business Insider spoke to Dan Mazzarini, an interior designer and the creative director at BHDM Design, and Meridith Baer, the owner of Los Angeles-based luxury home-staging company Meridith Baer Home, about the biggest mistakes people make when staging.

Home staging can seriously up the value of your home when trying to attract a buyer, research shows.

A survey by the National Association of Realtors conducted in 2021 found that 82% of buyers’ agents said home staging made it easier for their buyers to visualize themselves in the home.

A 2023 report by Realtor.com also found that staged homes sell 88% faster and for an average of 20% more than non-staged homes.

Here are the biggest home-staging mistakes people make when trying to sell their house.

Leaving up all the “Live, Laugh, Love” pillows and quotes around your home.
a succulent on a desk with the quote live laugh love painted on it
A succulent with the quote “Live, Laugh, Love” on the pot.

You might love your “Live, laugh, love” pillow or “Memories made here” kitchen sign, but Dan Mazzarini said you should remove those personal touches when staging your home for buyers.

“Staging to sell is about cleaning up. It’s about a simplification, and it’s about putting away the personal,” Mazzarini told Business Insider. “While you want people to understand how they would live in a home, you don’t want them to necessarily focus on you and your personal style in the home.”

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“You’re trying to create a pretty general canvas to attract as many people as possible because you want that top dollar,” he added.

Keeping personal items like family photos and kids’ toys out in the open.
kids toys in a white basket
Kids toys in a white basket.

Family photos can help create a personalized, cozy atmosphere, but they’re not the best decor when it comes to home staging.

“You want to make sure that buyers immediately go, ‘This is how I want to live,'” Meridith Baer said. “So, obviously, they don’t want to see your family photographs all over the place. They want to see themselves living there.”

Mazzarini also recommended taking out family photos and kids’ toys.

“All those things have to come down because while it is your personal taste, it also reflects your personal values,” Mazzarini said.

If you do want to keep a few toys out to appeal to parents, Baer said to opt for neutral, high-quality ones that don’t grab too much attention — and to keep them organized in a kid’s room, rather than in the main living space.

Cluttering the living room with excess throw pillows, books, and trinkets.
Sofa with colorful pillows
Sofa with colorful pillows.

Baer’s biggest tip for home staging, especially in the living room, is to get rid of any clutter.

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“Our advice to sellers is to get rid of as much junk as possible,” she said. “You want it to look easy to live there, so you want to declutter.”

“You don’t need 20 pillows on a sofa or a bed, even if that’s how you like to live,” Mazzarini added.

Bookshelves are one area of the home that can easily become cluttered with junk. To remedy this, Baer recommended wrapping brightly colored books in paper or turning them backward so that the pages face out for a more neutral look.

Leaving clutter like cookbooks and small appliances on your kitchen counters.
A kitchen with appliances on the counter
A kitchen with appliances on the counter.

Mazzarini and Baer both suggested tidying your kitchen counters and removing items like small appliances before a showing to avoid making the space look smaller and disorganized.

“This is the time to clean it up, clean the surfaces, and make it look and smell great,” Mazzarini said.

Baer said, “You want to put away as much as you possibly can. It might be convenient to have it all out, but you want to hide anything that isn’t pretty. I always love putting bowls of fresh fruit and maybe some flowers in the kitchen.”

Not replacing your old bedding or towels with fresh linens.
White pillows, duvet and duvet case on a blue bed.
White pillows, duvet and duvet case on a blue bed.

Leaving dirty or half-used toiletries and shampoo bottles in your bathroom and shower.
Shampoo and shower gel products in a bathroom
Shampoo and shower gel products in a bathroom.

Half-empty or multicolored shampoo and toiletry bottles can create a messy look that detracts from the amenities and overall look of your bathroom.

“Only keep out on the counter things that are generally pretty and maybe of the same color or the same ilk,” Baer said.

To create a streamlined look, Baer advised putting all toiletry bottles away or transferring your products to simple, neutral glass bottles to create a hotel-like atmosphere.

Forgetting to put away any valuables or jewelry you wouldn’t want to go missing.
jewelry on display on top of a dresser
Jewelry and clutch bags on a wooden dresser.

It might not affect the sale, but Baer said it’s always a good idea to put items like jewelry or valuable personal items in a safe space before staging or showing your home.

“People should not keep any valuables, jewelry, or watches lying around, everything should be locked up,” Baer said. “Because you never know, right, when you’re showing it.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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