Bringing in a professional home stager can help give your listing an edge on the completion. Choose the right staging company, and you’ll rake in a fabulous ROI. But if go with the wrong one, your potential buyers might lose interest. An inexperienced stager can end up costing you big time.
When deciding who to hire, it’s important to be as selective as possible. Do your research, read their client reviews, and scan the portfolio to find your best fit. Once you know the top no-no’s with home staging, you’ll be sure to stay clear of the wannabees and go with a true pro.
1. Not matching furniture to the home’s style
The number one rule for staging a home is to stay neutral. A neutral palette helps make every room feel more spacious and helps with the floor plan’s overall flow. (Super important when potential buyers are doing their walk-through!)
Along this theme, a professional stager knows that less is more. Using furniture that’s more subdued means that they can best match the home’s architecture and style. With staging, it’s not about how “great” the couch or chair is on its own. It makes more of an impact when the pieces complement the major features of the home—like pairing kitchen cabinets with chairs and stools that in a similar style.
2. Forgetting to emphasize focal features
Using accessories is one of the trickiest parts of staging. Some people think they have a knack for it, but all they end up doing is making a space feel cluttered. Experienced stagers are more selective in where these eye-catching details are placed.
A cluster of objects on an end table, or a big piece of artwork help create interest in any room—but only if they’re placed just right. Professional stagers use pops of color to add depth to an otherwise typical living room. They use décor accessories as tools. Experts don’t place these items willy-nilly. And they don’t go overboard. Choosing the wrong size for fireplace décor can get potential buyers thinking, “This room feels small!” The expert’s staging strategy pays attention to even the smallest details. Their choices are all about creating the “I can see myself living here” vibe for a nice, quick closing.
3. Not knowing how to utilize extra space
Your stager should also be able to make sense of any odd spaces or corners in your home. By selecting just the right furniture pieces, a professional stager is actually helping you maximize every room’s square footage for potential buyers.
This is especially important for entryways, stairwells, and small nooks. The right splash of color and a perfectly-sized end table can totally transform a space. An awkward landing just needs an editorial eye to set the scene—and these staging techniques aren’t as easy for a DIY-er to pull off. Your stager can transform home flaws into real “ah-ha” solutions. Utilize the stairwell as a practical zone for dropping off mail and keys proves your home has a great setup. Buyers will be more eager to put in an offer when they see zero wasted space.
4. Ignoring the basics of gender-neutral design
Couples make up the vast majority of people in the buyers pool, so it’s important that your home appeals to both masculine and feminine styles. Professional staging is great way to get both sides on board with your home.
Of course, making a home “gender-neutral” isn’t as simple as nixing the floral patterns and adding in leather. An experienced stager will mix textiles and patterns for a more universal design appeal. The result is room that’s styled to be new, fresh, and still relatively neutral. This works best in the master bedroom. It can be a real turn-off for buyers if that one, particular room is staged wrong. By staying gender-neutral, your rooms have a chance to appeal to every type of buyer and both sides of a couple.
5. Not having a polished, professional portfolio
Last but not least, your research hunt for a quality stager should always wrap up with a careful review of their design portfolio. Making sure your staging company uses high-end furniture that’s appropriate for a variety of home types is a huge plus. You want to make sure they can work with all budget types too.
If the images on their website or Facebook page are up to your standards—go ahead and give them a call. If they’re taking professional-grade pictures, your home is likely to stand up the same way online. So many buyers are relying on online information nowadays, so having a photogenic home is well worth the investment. An inexperienced stager won’t have a solid portfolio (or the inventory) to back up their work. Look for those magazine-worthy images to know you’ve got the real deal!