New Hampshire Home Stager Tip #2 Identify Red Flags

Home Stager with Sharon Tara Transformations

red flag

If you currently have your house on the market or are planning on selling your house in the near future, then this seven-part series was written for you.

If you missed it, Tip #1 was Update Lighting Fixtures


Tip #2  Identify Red Flags

Do you know what a "red flag" is? 

A signal of danger or a problem can be referred to as a red flag.  In real estate, a red flag is something that gives potential buyers the impression that there is an existing problem, was a problem in the past, or could be a problem in the future.

I find red flags in most of the houses that I stage.

It is very important that you go on a "search and destroy" mission throughout your entire house and identify your red flags. 


What are you looking for?  Here are three examples:

1.  Evidence of Past Damage

The most common red flag I see is water stains on ceilings or walls.  Usually when I ask what the source of the stain is, I'm told "the roof was leaking, but it's fixed now."  That's great that the problem is fixed now...that doesn't mean, however, that you don't need to paint the stained ceiling.

It's really a simple choice:

  •  Leave the stain - be prepared to have the leaky roof become an issue, fixed or not.
  •  Paint the wall or ceiling - no issue.

One more point:  Some sellers try to save money or time by painting only the stained area instead of the whole ceiling or wall.  If it is obvious that a repair was made, it's really no different than having the stain still there. 


2.  Storage and Space Issues

Do you have added curio cabinets in your kitchen to make up for a lack of cabinets or an over-the-toilet storage unit in the bath because there is no vanity?  Do you have a coat tree in the foyer because there is no coat closet?

These items tell buyers that there isn't enough storage or space to begin with.  Remove them!

Adding the extra counter and 2 chairs to the end of this kitchen island only makes the kitchen appear to be smaller.  It sends a message to buyers that there isn't enough workspace in the kitchen and more had to be added.

kitchen beforekitchen after


The sellers had a dresser in this bath because there was no medicine cabinet or vanity for storage.  The dresser guarantees that buyers will be aware of the storage problem.

bath beforebath after


3.  Furniture Placement Issues

Is your furniture positioned to give the impression there is a placement issue?

The way the nightstands were placed in these two bedrooms guaranteed a red flag would go up to potential buyers.  If you remove the nightstands, you remove the giant arrow in the room pointing out the problem.

master bedroommaster bedroom


 master bedroommaster bedroom

These are just three examples of red flags you should be looking for.

Other things to look for include evidence of marital or medical problems, light switches to nowhere, protruding wiring, evidence of pets, and lack of light, to name a few.

No house is perfect.  You know better than anybody else what the negative features are within your house.  Maybe they are the reason you are moving.   Do you want to highlight those issues for buyers or do you want to highlight all the positive features of the house?  


Posted by




Creative & Unique Solutions... One Room at a Time 





Professional Home Staging in New Hampshire

Portsmouth   Rye   North Hampton   Dover   Durham   Barrington   Rochester 



                  Friend Sharon Tara on Facebook      Twitter pinterest



Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Monique Combs 08/20/2009 01:35 PM
Home Selling
New Hampshire Rockingham County Portsmouth
Stage It Forward...
Posts to Localism
New Hampshire - Real Estate and Life in The Granite State!
Advice for Sellers
home staging
red flags
home staging tips
advice for sellers
nh home stager
prepare new hampshire home for sale
home staging advice for realtors

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Gary:  Exactly!  Preventative measures!  Nip them in the bud before buyers can use them against you!  Thanks for sharing your expertise!

Aug 15, 2009 02:58 PM #8
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

RED flags...oh yeah we see them at the lake and at the beach all of the time but I like using this terminology with a staging report.  Everyone understands red flags...thank you! 

Aug 15, 2009 03:23 PM #9
Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

Just a few days ago I had a potential client tell me he thought we should put a shelving unit of some type into his beautifully remodeled bathroom for staging because there's no place to put towels! ....... ummmm , and why exactly would he want me to call attention to the fact that there's no built in place to put towels?? Good points!

Aug 16, 2009 12:27 AM #10
Wendy Welborne-Kimery
Keller Williams-Lake Norman Mooresville,NC - Mooresville, NC

I like all of your ideas Sharon.  I'm sure you are the best in NH

Aug 16, 2009 06:22 AM #11
Cynthia Bartch
Granville, OH

Sharon this is a fantastic angle for the series you're doing!!! I love it. Your post is so well written and you have great photos to go with it. This is a definite must read.

Aug 16, 2009 07:24 AM #12
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Ginger:  They do seem to respond to the term.  Whatever makes them understand that they need to change the message they are sending to the buyers!

Pangaea:  Exactly!  Why not just hang a sign in there saying "no place for towels."  Thanks for sharing your recent experience.

Wendy:  Thank you!

Cynthia:  From your lips to the sellers ears!  Thanks!

Aug 16, 2009 11:46 AM #13
Mary Fasnacht
Washington and Allegheny Counties and surrounding areas - McMurray, PA
Feels Like Home Interiors ~ Pittsburgh PA Home Staging

Another great post, Sharon.  I love the red flag concept--great way to explain it.  And I also like the way you use the arrow to point to the specific problems.  Well done!

Aug 16, 2009 12:59 PM #14
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Mary:  Thank you.  The arrow was a last minute addition.  I'm glad you like it!

Aug 16, 2009 01:07 PM #15
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Sharon ~ the furniture placement issue is a recurring theme for my clients .... and I love to get the pieces in just the right place to open up the space.  It's amazing what a difference you can make by moving or removing!

Aug 16, 2009 03:30 PM #16
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Maureen:  I still get surprised, I shouldn't anymore, when I see something like a nightstand turned sideways due to space issues.  So much of what we do is a recurring theme!

Aug 16, 2009 11:43 PM #17
Leslie Helm
Tennessee Recreational Properties - Jamestown, TN
Real Estate For Trail Riders

I have done some short posts to the "Curb Appeal" group and I made the point that you do not want to let a negative impression form in the customer's mind. Best to tidy up beforeheand, pressure washing, weeding, raking etc. so they do not look at all the work THEY might need to do and think, "This place takes alot of upkeep!" Same concept; you stated it beautifully and your pictures are excellent. Really enjoyed reading thiis post! I am going to subscribe to your blog. Thanks!

Aug 17, 2009 12:05 AM #18
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Leslie:  You make a great never want to give the impression that the house takes a lot of upkeep.  Thank you for the kind words!  I am so glad to have found your blog too!  I love that you specialize in horse properties, and look forward to your blog posts.

Aug 17, 2009 12:35 AM #19
Judy Jennings
The Green Company - Ashland, MA
Broker - The Lanterns at Warren Woods - Ashland MA

Sharon - Another great post. These are tips that everyone can use, not just home sellers.

Aug 17, 2009 12:47 AM #20
Tessa Skeens
Hampton ReDesign, Home Staging and Redesign - Grand Junction, CO
Staging For Realtors, Builders & Investors

Great tips Sharon!  There's nothing like visual evidence of awkward furniture placement to highlight space issues. As always the pictures speak for themselves.

Aug 17, 2009 06:22 AM #21
Wendy Carroll
Coeur d'Alene, ID

Well said! 

I have a pot rack in my kitchen and love it.  But I'm not selling my house.  It's a "red flag" that there isn't enough storage space.  Even if, in fact, there is and it's just a decorative piece, it needs to come down because of the signal it sends. 

There are some things, as stagers, we absolutely will NOT stock in our inventory: hall racks, pot racks, bathroom storage units or anything else that suggests "additional storage solutions".

Aug 17, 2009 07:35 AM #22
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Judy:  It's a little bit of common sense.  We live for convenience and make do with whatever issues our house has.  The way we compensate should not be a telltale sign to others.  Thanks!

Tessa:  Thank you for commenting.

Wendy:  Great's these things that sellers just don't think of on their own.  Thanks.


Aug 17, 2009 08:21 AM #23
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Sharon, this truly is one of the best series I've seen on Active Rain. I hope it is featured somewhere. I will reblog.

Aug 22, 2009 06:21 AM #24
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Janice:  That is so nice of you to say.  You made my day! Thank you!

Aug 22, 2009 09:58 AM #25
AndreaBFerreira CRS - SRS - CLHMS
Keyes Co. - Davie, FL
Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County in FL

Hi Sharon valuable information... thank you

Sep 18, 2017 07:51 AM #26
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Andrea.B Ferreira 954-303-8289 CRS  Thank you!

Sep 19, 2017 05:38 AM #27
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Sharon Tara

New Hampshire Home Stager
Questions about Home Staging or Redesign? Send me a message!
Spam prevention

Additional Information