Home Improvements: The Top Home Staging Mistakes Sellers Make, and How to Avoid Them

Staging your home is important, but you don’t want to overdo it. Just remember: You need to let go. This isn’t going to be your house anymore. If you’re planning on selling your home in the near future, keep these tips in mind.

There are different reasons for doing improvements on your home. When you’re preparing to put your home on the market, for example, certain updates can help increase the sale price of your home. But many homeowners make the mistake of going overboard with their home improvements. If you’re getting ready to sell, you should try to make the home appealing to the eye — and not just your eye.

Sometimes sellers think that getting their home ready to market is a perfect opportunity to make the home improvements they’ve been thinking about for years. They may install the aquarium inside the wall or re-tile the backsplash in the kitchen (in their favorite colors, of course), the way they’ve always wanted to do. A hand-painted mural on the living room wall is always a nice touch … not.

Staging your home is important, but you don’t want to overdo it. Just remember: You need to let go. This isn’t going to be your house anymore. The new buyers would like to erase your history from those walls. They’ll do their own thing, and you’ll be imprinting your design sense on your new home.

If you’re planning on selling your home in the near future, keep these tips in mind.

In Home Staging, Less Is More

If you’re painting, try to keep the colors neutral. While you might like lime green, for instance, your potential buyers may not. If you plan to install new carpet, it should also be as neutral as possible. Alternately, you can offer the buyer an allowance for installation after close of escrow. This would enable the buyer to choose the carpet or decide on a different floor covering altogether.

When to Make Major Updates

If you plan to stay in your home for a number of years, you may “step out there” by taking on more expensive home improvements like remodeling the kitchen or bathrooms. You can justify these home improvements because you and your family will be enjoying them for a long time to come.

A new kitchen gives you the best bang for your buck. New cabinets, countertops, and modern backsplashes can work wonders for the room that’s so often the focal point of your home. But be prepared for being without a kitchen for at least six weeks. This doesn’t sound bad until you do it. Remember, you’ll have no stove to cook on, and you’ll be doing dishes in the bathroom sink. In the end, though, it’ll be worth it. And not only will you be thrilled to get back into your kitchen, you can also revel in the fact that it’s clean top to bottom! (Just a word of advice: Don’t begin a kitchen remodel near a holiday. Microwaved turkey and instant potatoes do not seem quite right for Thanksgiving dinner.)

Before You Make Home Improvements

If you do plan to make home improvements prior to putting your property on the market, get advice from a real estate agent, who will be familiar with what a typical buyer may be expecting. If you’re paying someone else to do the renovation work, check that person’s qualifications first, and don’t pay them more than 10 percent up front of the total cost of the proposal.

Image Source: Flickr/Nancy Hugo

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Debbie is a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker/ C&C Properties in Redding, California where she is a consistent award winner in sales. Debbie has led her company in innovation by video creation and advertising ideas. Debbie works with her partner, Diane Sorgatz and together they are known as "The Home Girls".

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