8 Myths of Staging to Sell - Busted.

Home Stager with Room Remedy Interiors, Sydney, Australia

Home staging (or property styling as it's commonly known as on the Australian property scene) is really an art, not a science. One of the many things a professional home stager understands is that it's the house that's up for sale, not the home owner's bread baking ability or taste in music. So, from the sublime to the rediculous - here's 8 myths of staging to sell - busted!

1. Buyers can see past my stuff
No - they can't. 95% of house hunters shop with a 'what you see is what you get' eye. You'll be maximising your chances of a better and quicker sale if you take the time to clean out, clean up and keep your look simple.brewing coffee

2. Baking bread, brewing fresh coffee and playing soft music will make a buyer fall in love with my house.
Maybe once upon a time this was true - but most would-be buyers are onto that old trick. It's more likely to trigger alarm bells, with many wondering what it is you're trying to hide. Your buyers will be happy with a place that looks and smells clean.

3. I'll need to clear everything out to help buyers see themselves living here.
This is only partly true. Wall to wall family photos are distracting, as is your porcelain rooster collection. These things are best put away. But don't go overboard, otherwise you'll end up with a look that feels cold and sterile.

4. If it's an original feature - it adds value.
Sometimes yes - but often no. Generally a property built less than 50 years ago without being updated is more likely to appear dated, rather than classic.

5. My place isn't worth staging.
All homes are worth taking the time to present in a positive light to buyers. The trick to knowing where to start and what to do is in having a good idea of what buyers in your target market will expect, along with learning more about what competing properties in your area are offering.

6. Empty rooms look bigger.            empty room                                          

This is rarely the case. Buyers will always prefer to see how a room is used and what will fit in it, rather than be left to guess. Very large rooms can also be too intimidating for some. Even borrowed furniture can help buyers get an idea of scale and give the eye something of interest to focus on.

7. Converting a bedroom into a home gym won't be a problem.
Bedrooms are one of the most valuable commodities of the 'for sale' property. Having a home gym set up in a bedroom will prompt buyers to wonder why that is. I remember once looking at a house where this was the case. When I came across the bedroom with the gym in it, I immediately began to question if a bed would even fit. Always give the rooms in your house a purpose.

8. No need to worry about wardrobes and cupboards.
Home storage is a big deal to most buyers and is surprisingly valuable. Prospective buyers will open storage cupboards in kitchens and bathrooms, so keep them tidy. Keep only what you're using on a daily or weekly basis, and pack the rest away ready for the move.

Have you got a staging myth you'd like busted? Share them with me here.


Posted by

Room Remedy Interiors

"Ready, Set, Redecorate in a Day"

Sydney, Central Coast, & Newcastle

Find out more about us at www.roomremedy.com.au


Re-Blogged 26 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Maureen McCabe 11/08/2009 10:25 PM
  2. Gabe Sanders 11/08/2009 10:35 PM
  3. Tammie White, Broker 11/09/2009 02:11 AM
  4. Tim Ludemann 11/09/2009 02:45 AM
  5. Dan and Amy Schuman 11/09/2009 03:33 AM
  6. Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging 11/09/2009 03:41 AM
  7. Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn, Esq. (B) 11/09/2009 05:06 AM
  8. Margaret Goss 11/09/2009 05:16 AM
  9. Blatt + Cutino 11/09/2009 07:28 AM
  10. Lori Mode & Bruce Durham 11/09/2009 03:12 PM
  11. Trudy Sarver 11/09/2009 03:25 PM
  12. Debra Landy 11/09/2009 11:44 PM
  13. Chuck Capan 11/10/2009 12:33 AM
  14. Damon Gettier 11/10/2009 05:35 AM
  15. Monica Bourgeau 11/10/2009 07:23 AM
  16. Karen Nardella 11/10/2009 10:50 PM
  17. Lisa Lambert/PMN/AHWD/SRES 11/13/2009 01:37 AM
  18. Sharon Tara 11/15/2009 06:21 AM
  19. Susan Emo 11/15/2009 06:31 AM
  20. Linda Jandura 11/15/2009 07:54 AM
  21. 1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity 11/15/2009 11:37 PM
  22. Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh 11/16/2009 01:28 PM
  23. Monique Hailer 12/28/2009 01:08 PM
  24. Monique Hailer 12/28/2009 01:09 PM
  25. Rita Minion 01/13/2010 01:09 PM
  26. Barbara Michaluk 02/24/2010 10:42 AM
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Carol Heap

Good one, Susan!  It is so important for clients to place their home on the market properly at the onset.  We get the most buyers viewing the home in the first 30 days.  "Later" can cost them the sale!

Nov 10, 2009 12:49 AM #67
Monica Bourgeau
New Phase Business Coaching - Portland, OR
Business Coaching

Donna - great list, especially the point that "people will be able to see past my stuff." You're exactly right - no they won't! I'm not sure about point 2 though - smell is the first thing buyers notice when they walk into a house, and even though they know seller's are doing something to sell them, I still think it's a positive. A bad smelling home can be a deal breaker before buyers even get through the door.

Nov 10, 2009 07:26 AM #68
Monica Stanciu
Staged 2 Sell Solutions Inc. - Markham, ON
Staged 2 Sell Solutions, Markham, ON

Great list, Donna! I still have trouble cconvincing the home sellers to not cover smells with air fresheners, and better find the cause of the problem.

Nov 10, 2009 08:16 AM #69
Laurie Logan
Keller Williams Realty, Inc., Broker Associate - Madison, WI
South Central WI Real Estate


These myths definitely need 'Busting,'  especially the one about smells.  Just keep it clean and fresh - no sprays, no candles, no gimmicks...

Thanks,    Laurie

Nov 10, 2009 12:20 PM #70
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Congratulations on the feature of your article. Great blog article filled with excellent information!

Nov 11, 2009 02:20 AM #71
Desert 360 Virtual Tours Phoenix Virtual Tours
Desert360.com Phoenix Virtual Tours - Mesa, AZ
Arizona Real Estate Photographers

For as many homes  as I visit to shoot virtual tours,I welcome the smells of cookies or coffee! You still can't hide smells of cigarette smoke. One of my favorite tricks that should be busted is when a seller intalls one of those phony plastic rock waterfalls to try to hide the noise of busy streets. Sometimes they go the extreme and put one of those window pane waterfalls by the front door as well. Anyways..nice post!      greg

Nov 11, 2009 02:39 AM #72
Donna Ross
Room Remedy Interiors, Sydney, Australia - Salton City, CA
Home Decorating, House Staging, Sydney

Thanks for sharing such insightful comments and for making this a featured post! I'm delighted to have heard from such a variety of people. From stagers to agents and even brokers. It's always good to get so many different points of view.

Who knew there were so many myths about home staging?! And this is far from a complete list. Many of you have added some more in here. It seems that smells are a big problem in real estate, no matter what team (stager or agent) you're playing for. Plenty of the comments and stories made me giggle (Craig, Carole, Beverly, Malita, Vickie, Katie, Cara, Susan and Ray  - "man staging"? Hmmm).

Mike in Tuscon, you've inspired me to write a totally new post. Thanks.

Anyway, I think I'll put together a follow up myth buster.

Thanks again.

P.S. Just in case you were wondering, I am based in Sydney, Australia. Entering a city/state is required to join AR. Unfortunately AR's system doesn't allow worldwide locations to be included.

Nov 11, 2009 03:06 PM #73
Donna Ross
Room Remedy Interiors, Sydney, Australia - Salton City, CA
Home Decorating, House Staging, Sydney

Oh, I almost forgot.

Thanks too to those who re-blogged this post. Much appreciated.

Nov 11, 2009 03:09 PM #74
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com) - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Here's one for you:  Home staging costs too much for the price of the house I'm selling!

You face the same battle I do with Pre-Lisitng Inspections.

Get it all done first. Take away those last minute objections before they ever come up!


Nov 13, 2009 10:50 AM #75
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Awesome post...somehow I missed it the first time but caught it when Maureen Bray reblogged it.  I am reblogging it too, and I am the 18th person to do so!  Seems you have struck a nerve with this one!

Nov 15, 2009 06:19 AM #76
Donna Ross
Room Remedy Interiors, Sydney, Australia - Salton City, CA
Home Decorating, House Staging, Sydney

Hi Sharon. Thanks for the feedback. Wow - reblogged 18 times! I'd say that's a nerve struck. Thanks to all those who re-blogged.

Nov 15, 2009 06:31 AM #77
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

Donna -  Make it re-blogged 19 times!!!  I thought my Canadian readers would love it too.  Thanks for sharing :)

Nov 15, 2009 06:33 AM #78
Brian Burke
Kenna Real Estate - Lone Tree, CO
Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate

And I missed it too at first and found it from Susan's re-blog above. I look at a ton of expired listing photos and certainly when the price isn't an issues many of your points apply. :) ~Rita

Nov 15, 2009 06:50 AM #79
Donna Ross
Room Remedy Interiors, Sydney, Australia - Salton City, CA
Home Decorating, House Staging, Sydney

Thanks again. Glad you like it. With so much extra feedback I did a follow up post for this one called 8 MORE Myths of Staging to Sell - Busted. 

I'm so glad that both stagers and agents got something out of it. Like J.Phillip from NY points out in #47 - we are a team.

Nov 15, 2009 07:07 AM #80
1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK


I love it when a seller listens to good advice, cleans, declutters, depersonalize etc..

I hate it when a seller ignores good advice OR says they will do it and then doesn't.

But then I love it when a buyer can see past the clutter and mis-appropriated rooms and makes an offer that works. 

Thank you for a very good post.

I'm reblogging for my sellers.

Nov 15, 2009 11:37 PM #81
Sue Wettstein Brazzel & Dipper Wettstein
Howard County, MD - RE/MAX 100 - Columbia MD - Columbia, MD
"Fast, Efficient, Hassle-Free Service!"


Wonderful blog and great reminders for our sellers.  I agree with all of your points except the one about playing music as part of the staging.  When I am showing houses and walk into one with music in the background, it feels warmer, alive, and more welcoming.  Without the music, folks sometimes talk in whispers as though they are invading the space...


Nov 20, 2009 03:23 AM #82
Heather Cook
Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design Inc. - Kitchener, ON
Quality Home Staging

Great post!

I did a similar style article for our quarterly newsletter where I debunked common staging myths. A great myth is that staging is expensive. Good stagers give great recommendations at every consult which cost no money to implement. Other recommendations might cost the seller under $100 to do - like changing the tired hardware on cabinet doors to something more current. The most expensive staging gets is when furnishing vacant homes and even then, when you think about carrying the mortgage costs of that house for over 6 months (average time a vacant home sits on the market) versus paying between $2,500 - $5,000 for one month of staging (staged vacant homes on average sell in 28 days) its still a no-brainer.

Also, painting was mentioned above but the two pictures below highlight the phenomenal difference neutralizing the paint colour can make.

Living Room - Before

Living Room - After

The above home which we staged for the sellers, sold privately at its first open house for the full asking price. Pictures still have the power to take my breath away!

Dec 05, 2009 08:29 AM #83
Monique Hailer
Schooner Bay Realty., Inc. & CENTURY 21 New Millenniun - Cape Coral, FL
South West Florida & Southern Maryland Homes

Ha! House smells are huge and can make a potential buyer walk immediately! I remember going into property and they had a glad plug in in every electrical outlet in the house. We were sick and eyes burning...

Dec 28, 2009 01:07 PM #85
Shoshana Shay
St. Pete Realty - Treasure Island, FL

I missed this back in November -- thanks to Monque for re-blogging it now!  Now to convince the sellers.... I, too, will be printing it to include in listing presentations :)

Dec 28, 2009 01:20 PM #86
Rita Minion
O'Brien Realty - Solomons, MD

Hello Donna,

What a terrific post!  Great article and filled with good information.  Thank you!



Jan 13, 2010 01:07 PM #87
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Donna Ross

Home Decorating, House Staging, Sydney
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