A Veteran Home Stager: How to Avoid the Top 5 Common Staging Mistakes

Lots of Befores and Afters below.

I only have two goals when staging a house to sell:

#1 Completely ready and transform a property into a show-stopping, heart-warming, offer-producing dream home.
#2 Give the owners not only their dream home, but what they thought they paid for at closing, which reflects well on the sellers, listing company, and especially on the REALTOR.

I've been doing this for 16 years and have staged hundreds of houses
(which equals thousands of rooms!),
and this list comprises the main reasons that some houses sit on the market longer than
professionally and well-staged and prepared homes.


The most common reason I hear for peoples' reasons to move is "more space".
So, if you're showing your your house in cluttered, not-enough-storage condition,
you're just proving to the buyer that there's not enough room for them either.
Simplify it.
(Use the AFTERS in this post to give you an idea of just how simplifed it should be.)
Now's also the time to get nitpicky clean.
Cinderella-scrubbing-the-floor-so-she-can-go-to-the-ball clean.
Check lampshades and vacuum them, check toilet seats and replace them if they are um, nasty.
Clean ceiling fans and air vents, remove grime, mold, and stains.


A stinky home is a real turn-off.
Just like a cluttery home, a smelly home sends a message to buyers:
"unclean", unmaintained", "unhealthy", and "unbearable".
If you have pets or smoke, cook heavily-oiled or fishy meals, or have dampness anywhere,
the effects of these need to be eliminated or removed.


In order for a buyer to fall in love with house, they have to envision THEMSELVES in it,
and the lifestyle THEY can have in it.
The last thing you want to do is have them feel as if they are in their own home.
A listed home needs to feel like a respite, relaxing, carefree, and kinda unreal.
I always say that creating a highly desired home is 10% surface changes and 90% emotional changes.
To sell to a buyer, you must get to the emotions of a buyer.
Encourage them to feel "at home" by eliminating (as best you can) the reasons it's still YOUR home.

Do this by:
Keeping shoes, clothing, personals hidden
Removing photographs, initials, and anything with a family members name on it
Hide toothbrushes and keep sinks empty
Not giving clues as to who lives in the house
Keep it spotless


The way we live in our home and they way we sell our home is two different things.
Through the years, we all spend money and time making our house a home, 
so of course, it's going to reflect our styles and tastes.
We are making it our own private space.
Decor is a very personal choice, and buyers in today's market want Move-In ready properties.
(Unless they like DIY projects, but this is few and far-between.)
To most buyers, potential and painting = work, or added hassle after moving in.
So make it easy for them to visualize life in your home by neutralizing the decor. 
I've noticed this: a seller's personality in their home does one or both of these things:
it distracts buyers from feeling at home, and makes them uncomfortable, 
as if they are invading your privacy.


Everything should function properly and be in working order. 
Make sure you repair leaky faucets, cracked windows, loose doorknobs, 
broken tile, as well as replace any light bulbs that don’t work.
Don't leave buyers with surprises.
Don't give inspectors more things to add to your TO DO list.

The process of selling your home can, without a doubt, be stressful,
eliminate most of the reasons you'll have to keep showing your home over and over again
(without receiving an offer) 
by, at the bare minimum, avoiding these common mistakes.

Better yet,
contact us at The Hoyt Team of Keller Williams Realty
here in Greenville/Upstate South Carolina,
and let me stage with and for you!

Our average days on market are 3 to 5!
YES. I typed THREE to FIVE.

Another fun and interesting fact:
the average sales price to net price ratio 

for other Greenville agents is 97%.
Meaning, if your home is listed for $100,000,
other agents will get you $97,000.

Our average sales price to net price ratio is 102%.
We'd get you $102,000 on your $100,000 house.

More $ for your house is good, right?

Put us to work for you!

Call us at 864-365-6155

Blessings and peace to you as you make your home!

The Man I Smelled at the Post Office

I went to the Post Office today, and I smelled him as soon as I opened the double doors.

As memories flooded back, I look up at him buttoning his Sergeant uniform while determining, "that is the most handsome man on earth", I reluctantly lean over the engine of my Butterscotch-hued and racing-striped Ford LTD II while he explains to me the fine art of checking the oil as he wipes off the dipstick with a grungy rag, I pout as I wait outside by the mailbox because he is late once again for his custody weekend, I see him throwing soda and beer cans in the swiftly rippling creek for me to sink, while I pump the handle of the pellet rifle and take aim, I wince at his attempt to correct me through lecturing and hate him for a moment.
I smelled him as I filed in line behind the scent-bearer who scooted the TV-sized box along the floor with his right foot toward the counter.
Reminiscing, I see him ripping open a Christmas present: Brut Cologne in that Army plastic green bottle with a black metal lid, an 8-year old me rides with him on the front of his new Kawasaki and considering he lets me steer it, we instantly park in a startled aloe bush, I wake up before my senior high classes as he wakes me and reach out to take and drink the blended chocolate milk and cod liver oil potion (his effort to help me with symptoms of my juvenile arthritis) from the cleaned-out peanut butter jar, I see him passed out on the sofa, drunk, again.
I think about the years that he was around and the years he wasn't.
And I am grateful. For both.
Because, for all he was and all he wasn't, he was still my dad, and I am who I am because of adventures, heartbreak, hope, abandonment, anger.
As I surveyed the antics of the twin middle-schoolers each getting their passport photos taken in turn, extracting memories and emancipating tears, my heart finally realized that he was only human, just like me, and I can't fault him for his life choices, admirable or detestable, as they were his free will, as is mine.
And as I fiddled with getting my debit card out of my wallet, the One whispered to my soul, "I am your Father, I am an adventure, when your heart breaks, so does Mine, I endow your life with hope, I will never leave you nor desert you."
Acceptive, I hand Deborah the bubble-packaged book I'd sold on Amazon, I gave my earthly father leave, a sympathetic discharge. I completely rendered him blameless for anything wounding.
I leave the package behind. At that counter. Where with the swipe of a card, the debt is paid, the parcel is taken out of my hands, and there is closure.
Meanwhile, the man that I smelled has exited.
And so has a lifetime of pining.


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