How To Tackle A Tough Listing

It's much, much harder to successfully stage a listing that is being lived in. Or, where you're working with sellers who just aren't that flexible, or have serious constraints on time or budget. Sometimes, it's a home from an estate that's going on the market. Sometimes, the sellers want to show all of the furniture so that they can sell those pieces, too.

You know I love a challenge! Read on for staging secrets that can turn a less interesting home into an exciting hot property.

1. Swap out the rug.

A seller should live in their home however they want and furnish it to their own very specific tastes. This is normal. But, when it comes time to sell, it's crucial to reset the stage so that the home appeals to a wide range of potential buyers.

In a recent listing, there was no foyer, and you walked right into the living room. A darker rug extended nearly to the front door. One change: using a lighter, smaller rug made all of the difference. It opened up space around the front door to create a foyer, showed off the room's beautiful hardwood floors (nearly completely hidden by the huge rug), and changed the first impression to one of a bright, wide-open space.

2. Change every accessory.

A listing might be beautifully furnished with expensive materials - that just don't match today's tastes or trends. The bathroom of a recent listing was well done but so dark that it almost felt like walking into a cave. The fix was both inexpensive and a complete transformation: we changed every accessory, adding coordinating but much lighter art plus all‑white accessories and all‑white towels.

3. Mute flashy décor.

Imagine walking into a bedroom decorated to fit the taste of a teen or tween. That particular style, no matter what it is, will prevent most buyers from being able to imagine the room as their own. Here, a large solid‑colored pillow toned down a busy chair and a textured white quilt smoothed over the top of bright bedding completely changed the look of the room to create a more restful scene. 

4. Edit, edit, edit.

Sometimes a seller is just not willing to repaint. That's a particular challenge when you have dark red walls in a dining room packed with dark furniture. In this case, taking down the window treatments, moving furniture from the dining room to other areas of the home, and lightening up the décor worked wonders. 

5. Repurpose furniture.

This brings me to one of my favorite tricks: repurposing furniture throughout the home. Two light, upholstered chairs from an upstairs bedroom can be placed at the head and foot of a darker dining room table. A gorgeous, slim bench can be used instead of a coffee table in a narrow side room. Dark furniture from a den paired with an airy rug and lighter accessories can make a beautiful living room. This is where a professional stager can really make a home shine.

If you have an occupied listing coming onto the market or sellers who aren't as flexible as you might like, contact me. We can brainstorm potential solutions and I'll show you recent before and after photos that may help change minds. I love it when I can help turn a tough listing into a hot property that receives multiple competitive offers.