Top 7 Home Staging Mistakes Real Estate Agents Make and How to Avoid Them


One of the most important tasks to cross off your home-selling checklist is investing in staging before your listing hits the market. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 77% of buyers' agents said staging a house made it easier for the buyer to visualize the property as a future home. Before you list, take note of some of the top home staging mistakes and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Overfilling the Space

Remove excess or oversized furniture so potential buyers get an accurate sense of room size. Many buyers want more space, so removing unnecessary items can help the home appear more spacious. Also, pull the furniture away from the walls to create more room visibility.

Counsel your clients to clear out the closets. Reduce closet contents and clear the floors. Closet space is a valuable commodity, and an overstuffed closet makes it appear much smaller.

Mistake #2: Leaving Too Many Personal Items Displayed

Remove family photographs, art, religious symbols, and knick-knacks. Removing these items helps buyers focus on their new life in the house. Style all surfaces in neutral vignettes to add warmth without too many personal accents. These vignettes can include neutral art, candlesticks, and vases in various colors, textures, and shapes.

"For many agents, depersonalizing the home is the first step in the staging process," said Nakeisha Glover, owner of Element Home Design & Staging. "We solve this by adding emotional connection points throughout the home. For example, a French press and coffee mugs set on a tray on the kitchen island will help buyers imagine themselves enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning. Subtle additions in staging can be impactful to potential buyers."

Mistake #3: Showing a House that Isn't Pristine

Taking the extra steps to show an immaculate house will always pay off. It can be difficult for any seller to keep their home pristine while living there. As a real estate agent, it's your job to give every surface an extra clean sweep and ensure there are no odors. Before listing, hire a professional cleaning service to deep clean the house. Before showings, open the windows, clean the counters, vacuum the floors, and run an air purifier. The tried-and-true cookies in the oven trick never hurts!

Mistake #4: Not Creating a Focal Point

Reposition the furniture to focus on one primary focal point. A focal point creates a more edited look and can help buyers imagine their pieces in the space. For example, the focal point of a living room is usually the fireplace. Position the furniture around the fireplace instead of pushing the pieces up against the wall.

Mistake #5: Having Too Many Colors that Don't Coordinate

A neutral, coordinating color scheme that travels through the home can make the house feel more open. It also will create a blank canvas to help buyers envision living there.

"While you want to depersonalize the home and choose less distracting decor, sometimes rooms end up in shades of tans and beiges," said Ricardo Mello, co-founder of Manhattan Miami. "It's important to strike a balance between neutral decor and still making the home seem inviting and memorable."

Mistake #6: Keeping the House Dark

Allow as much natural light to shine in as possible. Open the drapes, shades and blinds, and remove items that obstruct natural light sources. Buyers will notice a bright, open home.

Mistake #7: Forgetting the Exterior

Outdoor living spaces are crucial to many buyers. Staging backyard gathering spaces can help potential buyers picture hosting friends and family and relaxing in their backyard oasis.

"Decks and patios are often a forgotten space in staging," Glover said. "If the buyer has patio furniture, make sure it's clean and add some color with decorative pillows and plants. If there's a table umbrella, open it up! The key is to make the space look ready-to-use."

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Hopefully these tips can help you improve your home staging. For more help in your real estate career, consider taking our online real estate professional development classes.

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