The Real Reasons Staging Won't Help You Sell Your House Faster

Article title

Why Staging May Not Sell Your House Faster (And How to Do It Right)

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Todd Talbot

Created date

March 25, 2014

Can staging deter home buyers? YES!

Staging is meant to help sell your house fast not repel buyers. It's like cologne in high school - it takes a while to learn that less is more. Here are two basic principles to follow so that you don't sabotage your own success.

Create an emotional reaction for buyers
Make them imagine themselves living in the space. Project the lifestyle you think they want.
Set the scene
Show how space can be used, and how furniture fits in that space. Empty spaces actually look smaller than a furnished room. It seems like a contradiction, but it is true. Empty spaces also encourage the buyer to "keep walking" - nothing to see here! There is no invitation to linger and foster the attraction.

Accomplishing these two objectives is easier said than done!

The number one pitfall is a show home that's all show and no home. Buyers constantly get hung up on the fact that a staged space looks "fake." People want to feel that it's a liveable space. I often hear buyers say "this place is so staged," and they can't let it go. This feeling stays with them throughout the house tour and they may miss all of the positives that the house has to offer. I've spent many years both staging homes as well as showing homes that were staged, and even the most level-headed buyer is easily distracted by impersonal staging.

I've spent many years both staging homes as well as showing homes that were staged, and even the most level-headed buyer is easily distracted by impersonal staging.

How to avoid this "staging' trap?" Utilize my "ize" principal - depersonalize, modernize, organize, but don't sterilize.

Before you do anything or hire anyone, first, ask yourself who you are selling to. Knowing this will allow you to choose the appropriate staging. Empty Nesters? Young, hip, and single? Family? Let this be the focus for your decor choices.

For example, if it's a family home, don't hide the kids' stuff. Get a great frame and showcase some kid's art. People won't start getting the feeling that they are being tricked. Don't empty closet, but streamline and organize - showing how great the space works.

Regardless of your target buyer, the furniture needs to work together so that it doesn't look like you got your couch from grandma's basement or your coffee table free on Craigslist. Identify a few pieces that don't elicit the lifestyle you are selling and remove them, and RENT new pieces that fit perfectly into the space, keeping it fresh, bright, and clean.

I am a huge believer in staging and presenting a home at its best. Don't forget a space oozing life, personality, and warmth is asking to become someone's new home!

Tips to remember


Look for furniture that fits the size and shape of the space.    


White, light, and modern keeps the space open and inviting.    


Blankets, books, pillows, art, pops of colour, and greenery or living decor.    


Lots of it. Nobody wants to buy a dark house.    

Pet peeve

No cheesy quotes painted onto wood to try to tell the buyer how to feel. Let them decide that on their own.

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