Top 7 Worst Pieces of Staging Advice

1. “Keep everything exactly how you live in it, it gives the house personality.”

The truth of the matter is of all the people who might buy this house, you are not one of them. I did not design my business around my needs. I designed it around my client’s needs. Selling a house is like having a small business with one product to sell (the house). Merchandise that product with your client (the buyer) in mind, not yourself.

2. “Bake cookies just before the open house.”

Smell is closely associated with memory. I use to work at Mrs. Field's as a teenager, and the smell of cookies makes me slightly nauseated and a little bit angry. For someone on a strict diet, it may make them think of not being able to eat cookies, like ALL the cookies. We have no idea what smell is going to trigger what memory (or allergic reaction) in your buyer. So please, for goodness sake, leave the scented items out. The smell of “nothing" is the smell of selling, sooner, and for more money.

3. “Just put up signs on all the doors that say “DON'T LET THE CAT OUT!”

Buying a house is already stressful. Your buyer is going to see upwards of 7-10 houses in one day. They ain’t got time to look after your fluffy feline friend. More than likely they will cruise swiftly though your property looking for the “alleged” cat and get out as fast as they can, having not paid any attention to their future life in your home. Find another place for the cat or any other pet to stay when showing your property.

4. “Staging makes it impossible to see the house, leave it empty.”

I have often heard people say that staging gets in the way of seeing their own furniture in the house. This is true for roughly 10% of the population. I am not a betting man, but I would place my bet on the 90% of the people who need a sense of scale and layout to understand a house. When making any decision in business, go with the more likely majority, not the less likely minority.


5. “Color helps houses sell, the more color the better.”

This is a tricky one, because we do use subtle punches of color to help our buyers discuss each room once they get home. ("Remember the house with the red kitchen, well, I think the green bedroom should be your office.") But there is a limit to the amount of color we should add to homes. The truth is a neutral base of wall, ceilings and floors will make it much easier for the next buyer to move in. Keep the color regulated to art, linens and accessories.


6. “People can’t tell the difference between live plants and fake plants.”

Um, yeah dude, they totally can. I get it, live plants are lovely and make spaces seem more home-like. Here is the thing, unless you have somebody specifically assigned to take care of the live plants and freshly cut flowers on a daily basis then there should be no plants in the house. Nothing sends a buyer packing faster than dead plants and flowers in a house. As for fake plants… eww, seriously eww… just stop it. What is this, the set of the Sopranos circa 2002?

7. “Blow-up mattresses look just as good as real mattresses."

Blow-up mattresses are a great idea if you plan on never selling your house. Not only do these monstrosities of design look terrible in spaces, they often deflate leaving your buyer, well… deflated. Seriously, if you use fakery in your staging like blow-up mattresses, you are starting to form a relationship with you buyer based on lies and trickery. We must prove to our buyers that mattresses fit up staircases and down hall ways and through doors. Blow-up mattresses start to cast doubt that anything in the house is real. Suddenly your buyers start questioning the validity of everything in your property as well as your integrity. Once they get stressed enough they simply move on to the next house. You know the one… the one with the real mattresses?