Guest Post: A Professional Home Stager Speaks Her Mind

Staging calls for rethinking personal preferences.
Today we have a special treat because Carol-Anne of Use the Good Dishes blog has agreed to be my guest. It was the name of her blog that caught my eye the first time I saw it, with its subhead, "It's not really about the dishes."

When I read the story of how Carol-Anne inherited a set of dishes that her late mother-in-law had packed away and never used because she was waiting for a special day, I cried.

Even before she unwrapped those new old dishes, Carol-Anne's philosophy had always been, "Don't wait for life to be 'special.' Make today special."

Now that she stages homes for a living, Carol-Anne has plenty of opinions about what makes a home special. Be sure to visit her blog, where she writes frequent, funny, and enlightening posts about decor, life, books, style, DIY projects, cleaning, shopping, travel, and just about anything that catches her fancy.

Did I mention that she shares her thoughts on how she deals with her own obsessive compulsive disorder?

Warning: Once you start following her, you won't want to miss a post. Here she is ...

Thanks so much for asking me to be a Guest on your fabulous blog, Barbara! Yours was one of the first blogs I started reading, and since I work as a Home Stager, I find your advice often confirms my own experiences. Your e-book on teaching people how to stage their own homes is a terrific idea!

In preparing for this post, Barbara asked me what I would say is the biggest obstacle sellers face when they decide to sell.

I can’t speak to this question from the point of view of a Realtor, but as a Home Stager I can tell you that it seems to me that there is absolutely ONE BIG THING that stands in the way of successfully staging your own home:

Obviously we all have very intense feelings about our homes, and it’s understandable that people have a difficult time relinquishing a little bit of control....

But in my experience, it’s important to start thinking about your house as if it’s already no longer really yours. Potential buyers need to be able to picture themselves living in this space and if it’s looks too much like ‘your’ house, they often have trouble doing so.

The very things that make your house comfortable and inviting for your family and friends are often the things that need to be removed when selling.

When you invite people into your home, you want them to notice your personality shining through in your decor. Not so (when you’re selling.) Remove family photos, religious items, and other personal mementos.

This might go against what feels ‘right’ to you. But this is where the need to LET GO comes in.
Try to imagine that you’re beginning the process of removing yourself from your home. You need to de-personalize somewhat, so that potential buyers aren’t distracted by your personal items, but are taking in the space itself, and imagining themselves living there!
Will house hunters be charmed by this guy?
To ‘let go’ is to have an honest look around at your furnishings and decor and think about how strangers might see them. That orange and purple wallpaper might be fabulous, but be honest, is it really likely to appeal to the wide variety of tastes of the people who might be considering the purchase of your house? (I can assure you, it’s not.)

How about that ‘unique’ end table? If it’s something that everyone who visits you comments on, it might be time to put it into storage until after the house sells!

Now, I’ve obviously given you extreme decor examples, but you really do need to be ruthless!

Once you start to process the idea of ‘letting go’ of your house (which, let’s face it, is the whole point of selling!), you can make the changes necessary to successfully stage and sell your house!

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