Hire a Professional: 5 Staging Mistakes Made by Homeowners

By Kris Welsh

I’ve been asked many times what the letters APR stand for, as they appear next to my name on my business card. I try not to be huffy when I explain that it’s the result of years of school, additional classes and studying to be an accredited member of the public relations industry. Don’t they know the value? Don’t they understand the work that went into getting and keeping the designation? Thanks for nothing.

However, recently I found myself saying the same thing about another seemingly silly designation – the ASP®. Accredited Staging Professional from the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. As in staging a home for resale. Do these folks really need an accreditation program? How hard can it be?

Well, my humble apologies to all of the ASPs out there.

I have been delving into the ever-more scientific function of staging a home; and realizing that in this buyers market with nothing much moving, it is an increasingly important and successful tactic. This emerging breed of professionals have taken what used to be a trend and built the industry to become a true marketing arm for home sales – one that the public is now even requesting.

Reasonably knowledgeable home sellers tend to know the basics about getting a home ready for showings: Take the 26 photos and magnets off of the refrigerator, and for goodness sake, clean up the bathroom. But there are other things that aren’t so obvious. According to some of the leading home stagers, including Barb Schwarz, founder of the IASHP, here are five common mistakes people make when they try to stage their own home instead of hiring a professional:

  1. Moving furniture against the walls to create a bigger look and feel to the room. A stager will tell you that grouping furniture together and bringing it off the wall creates the look of a larger space.
  2. Relying on your overhead lighting to fill a room. Each room needs at least three sources of light, and each with 100-watt light bulbs. Is it daytime? Turn them on anyway. And, open the curtains!
  3. Assuming no one will look in your pantry and refrigerator. Stagers will remind sellers that if you use it, so will the buyer. So, stock neatly like you’d see on the shelf at the grocery store.
  4. Tossing clutter in a closet. This says that you don’t have enough room to truly organize. Buyers are easily influenced by the look of storage space, and can only imaging their own items in the space if it’s neat and clean. This goes for the garage too.
  5. Forgetting that you can move furniture out or into other rooms to create the space that’s most appealing.

These before and after photos say it all!

It’s a worthwhile investment, as most stagers will tell you, that it will cost less to stage than to reduce your home price. From the APR to the ASP: Stage on!

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  1. Great tips, people often forget that furniture is interchangable from room to room. If you don’t have enough furniture to fill the space you can look into getting rental furniture while your place is on the market. Good luck!

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