Seven Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid

Proper staging at this point gets the home sold. So, here is what NOT to do.

Looking to sell your home this fall or winter? Here are some tips on how to prepare your home to hit the market.

According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2021, 95% of buyers used the internet to assist in the home-finding process. In this digital age, getting someone to stop browsing and click on your home photos and video is the first big step in the home-selling process. The photo/video is also what gets the consumer interested enough to eventually schedule a showing. A home that is poorly prepared or staged will not only lack appeal during digital and in-person views, but in the end will net significantly less money than a properly staged home.

Now that the buyer has clicked on your home, the next step is to have the buyer physically tour it. Proper staging at this point gets the home sold. So, here is what NOT to do.


It is important to de-personalize your home. When a buyer visits a property, mentally, they need to picture themselves living there. Having a family photo wall is lovely when you are living there; however, this is a huge turnoff to buyers consciously and subconsciously. Any personal beliefs, artifacts or items of potential political controversy need to go as well so they do not deter the potential buyer.


There is nothing worse than walking into a home that feels like the 1980s, ’70s or any other prior decade for that matter. The buyer gets a sense that the basic functionality of the home is at the end of its life. Needing to update a home means money out of the buyer’s pocket. Depending on how much needs to be done, this could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations. Not everyone has this spare change lying around; thus, aging your home limits your buyer pool.


The spectrum of clutter is wide ranging. When it comes to de-cluttering, it’s a good rule of thumb to make it look like a hotel in terms of the number of items on display. Clutter can cause a buyer to feel stressed, irritable, overwhelmed and fatigued. Not only will cleaning up a space help you sell your home quicker and for more money, but you will be surprised as to what it can do for your personal well-being. I’ve heard many stories of families moving and experiencing a cleansing process that takes place emotionally when getting rid of clutter.


Do you have a bright blue room or a room painted in the deepest of reds or maybe some psychedelic wallpaper? Cool! But not cool when trying to sell. It is well worth the money to hire a crew to paint the home a neutral color. Remember: you are trying to appeal to the masses. We see a high return on homes with freshly painted interiors and exteriors.


When it comes to making repairs, just do it! Talk with your trusted real estate advisor on what simple home improvements will maximize your home’s value. One that makes a ton of difference is updating light fixtures. Do it yourself or hire someone, but a nice new light fixture is relatively inexpensive and it completely elevates a room. Is the doorbell not working? Fix it! Is a lightbulb burned out? Replace it! Is the door not latching? Repair it! It may seem small, but buyers recognize and take note of these things. If you cannot fix a door handle when presenting your home to sell, what does this say about how you took care of the rest of the home through the years?


Unless you are in the business to fix and flip a property, taking on a major project to get your home sold may not be the way to maximize profits or get a good return on investment (ROI). I have had clients go against my advice and do bath and kitchen renovations. Unfortunately, in both scenarios, they went with style and material choices not appealing to the majority of buyers. Your realtor will be able to guide you with home improvement ideas with the maximum ROI. It’s amazing what a simple fresh coat of paint on a front door will do.


Sometimes sellers can get so caught up on what the inside looks like that they forget about the exterior. This could, in fact, be one of the most important spaces to spruce up. It is the first look. The first impressions. In a matter of seconds, buyers can potentially make up their minds simply by how the home looks from the street. Taking the effort to meet with a landscaper or contractor will be worth your time and money, even if it’s just to get ideas for you to do the work yourself. There are many companies that will consult with you for free and many stores in Flagstaff that offer native plant and seed options.

Now that you know what not to do, contact your local real estate professional to gain knowledge and expertise in what it takes to showcase your home in its best light. FBN

By Blake Cain

Blake Cain is a local Realtor with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty. He can be reached at 928-856-9071 or