10 Rookie Mistakes Home Sellers Make

This could also be called, Pet Peeves of a Home Stager, or, Things that Make Me Go “Aaarghhh!” While I admit I’ve never owned a peeve and don’t know how they are as pets, I DO know what drives me nuts as a Home Stager:

Exercise Equipment in the Master Bedroom: First, it’s ugly. Second, if you’re going to sweat in the master bedroom then you’d better be having fun, and stair-stepping to Nowhere is not my idea of fun. 

Painted-over Wallpaper: I realize that some of the stager-types do this on HGTV, but it’s EVIL! Eventually, the paint pulls the paper away from the wall. This reveals a seam which, when discovered by the new owners, turns a lovely day into a thunderously bad one. They will curse the painter from afar, and now the painter’s life is in the toilet but doesn’t know why. It’s karma, come for payback! To avoid bad karma, you’ll never hear me say it’s okay to paint over wallpaper. Instead, rent a steamer. Meanwhile, is it too much to ask builders and everyone to size before hanging wallpaper?

Smallish Master Closet with a Single Bar Across: There are home improvement store aisles devoted to this very important master bedroom space. I recommend that sellers raise the bar (pun intended) so that another bar can hang in the lower half. And while you’re at it, please relocate the open hamper of dirty skivvies.

Updated Kitchens with Outdated Cabinet Pulls: The appliances look amazing, the new lighting dangles like gorgeous jewelry, the counters and back splash are drool-worthy, but why are the cabinet pulls still dated? A few bucks more and you have a fully updated kitchen. Same goes for the bathrooms, by the way.

New Counters with Dated Back Splash: Why? Why? Why? Buyers see the dated back splash butted against the gorgeous granite counters and wonder why the sellers didn’t finish the job. What should have been a fabulous plus is now a frustrating negative.

Chandelier Hung Too High: It’s one thing to hook the chandelier higher to prevent the movers from bonking their heads on it, but it’s another to leave it hung too high five years after the movers have moved on. Rule of thumb: leave 33 to 39 inches between the top of the table and bottom of the chandelier.

Ceiling Fan Over a Dining Table: Unless the table is bathed in hot summer sun most of the year, requiring an overhead fan to keep diners from melting into the chairs, who wants to serve a hot meal that will be cold in 15 seconds? (Or, depending on housekeeping skills, covered in dust.)

Dining Room as Play Room: Easy and practical, yes, but it drags down the important first impression of your home from “elegant” to “daycare.” If you don’t have a table and chairs, then leave it empty. Nothing is better than the wrong thing.

Displaying College Affiliations: When you’re living where a rabid rivalry exists, best to pack away the flags, stones and welcome rugs outside, and the flagrant posters and stadium pictures from the man cave. Kids’ bedrooms are less important; minimize for on-line photos when possible.

Empty Bookshelves: Really? They look better empty? Empty bookcases make a home feel soulless. Technically, I realize homes don’t have a soul, but folks tend to connect to a home at that level. Fill them with hardbacks and some personal photos in matching frames. Yes, you read right: personal photos. Fewer people own books, so this built-in might be a design dilemma for buyers. Displaying personal photos gives this potential clutter-catcher a useful purpose. Give me a call if your bookcases aren’t cutting it—I can save them.

Artwork Hung at “Eye Level”: Just whose eye level are we talking about? Mister Basketball Star over here or Miss Pretty ‘n Petite over there? The only time “eye level” applies while standing is in a foyer or hallway, where one is never sitting. There, the rule-of-thumb is that the top of the frame should never be level with—or higher than—a door or window frame. Elsewhere, we spend our time sitting, so the artwork should be hung in relation to the furnishings, providing balance and color. You can feel the difference. Think 4 to 5 inches between the bottom of the frame to the top of the furniture.

*sigh* I feel better now; thank you for letting me vent.

Wait, did you say vent? The slats on a return-air vent need to be slanted so we don’t see the unfinished wall behind it. Unscrew it and turn it the other way.

When your home needs a few tweaks to prepare for its close-up, reach out to schedule an appointment. I stage what sellers already own, making their things work very hard to sell the home!

You might also like: Home Selling Do’s and Don’ts

Copyright © 2022 by Cynthia Gentry Black, Home Staging by Cynthia, LLC in Kansas City.
All rights reserved. No portion may be shared, reused or republished in any format without express written consent of the author.

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