Real Estate Staging / Home Staging Blog


Paint a HOME'S SALE into a corner... by not making repairs!

 While many stagers talk a lot about cleaning, depersonalizing, decluttering and rearranging a home, which ARE important aspects of what we do, there is another area a GOOD stager will focus attention on and find solutions for... home repairs.

Much like a buyer, the moment a real estate stager steps into a house they are looking for problems. We have trained our eyes to look for those items and areas in a house that need tending and mending. Why? Because quite often a seller no longer sees the issues we see... the owner/seller has become so accustomed to and accepting of the property the way it has been they no longer can see all that needs fixing.

Sellers need to understand that buyers are looking for reasons NOT to buy a house as much as they look for reasons to buy a house. 

Repairs mean money... and if the potential buyer can already SEE repairs on the surface it is only logical to wonder what repairs lurks below. If basic repairs, that seem so apparent to them as they walk thru a house are not being made, potential buyers wonder what MAJOR repair issues need tending to... which again means more money.

I love it when a seller says that they will leave a repair issue to the new buyer. "Oh good... I get to spend MY time and money fixing someone else’s mess!"

Yes there are those handy buyers (like my father) who always bought "diamonds-in-the-rough" and fix them up. But that is a smaller group... and in today's market the responsibility is on the seller to merchandise the house so it appeals to the LARGEST market as possible.

Home repairs are an area that a GOOD stager can either attend to themselves, or we have the resources and connections to contractors and repair people who can quickly assist a seller tend and mend the property so it looks its absolute best while it is in the market.

Comment balloon 6 commentsCraig Schiller • October 18 2006 07:30AM


Absolutely!  I always suggest to my Sellers (though not all of them take the suggestion) that they have a pre-listing inspection done, both so that they can take care of repairs that are likely to put off Buyers and so that there are no "nasty surprises" during the option period when they think they've got their house sold only to find an unknown-to-them problem surface and turn something easy into something difficult. 

While I can market a house that has visible problems, it takes a whole lot more ingenuity and a whole lot more time for everyone to do so - more time than doing the repairs in the first place would save, and it usually costs the Seller more in low offers than it would cost to do them. 

Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) about 14 years ago

Craig, I totally agree. I had a brokers open at a new condo listing yesterday. Prior to that I thought the place was in tip top shape. It is still fabulous, but since I don't have a Stager's eye, it took me being in the condo for a few hours to be able to focus on each room. I saw two things: a towel bar that needs to go back up and one of those air compressed door closers (I'm sure this is not the technical term for this!) on the front entrance is off and should be replaced. A professional Stager probably would have noticed these things right away. But if I list someone's home competitively yet at the upper end of market value, I always tell them to repair, paint, make sure there are not any little things that can turn someone's attention from how fabulous it is.

One other point: when I sold my own home in 2004, it took a friend to realize I had the top of a glass table propped up in an extra room in the house. It had become invisible to me and I'm a Realtor! (Or so they say lolol)

Posted by Carole Cohen, Realtor, ePRO (Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office) about 14 years ago

It never ceases to amaze me that sellers can be so contrary when it comes to repairs.  The excuse that gets me is, "Well, it was good enough for us.  Why should we fix it so some future owner can get the use of it."  There are some really inexpensive fixes that make a huge difference.  The most important ones are cleaning, but close behind that follows simple things like replacing/cleaning switch plate and outlet covers.  They're less than a dollar apiece and only require a screw driver to replace, but when they're broken or full of mucky finger prints . . . yuck! 

Posted by Bonnie Erickson (Tangletown Realty) about 14 years ago
I was recently in a home that had a large entrance in ceramic tile. Right off the bat I noticed that the tiles were cracked and grout was crumbling.

When I pointed it out to the owner, he said I was the first person (including his agent) to notice the problem.

My response "It's my job to notice, that's what you pay me for - Oh, and by the way, the glass in the hall door is cracked."

He felt that it was too much work to fix, and I pointed out that he had a goal to sell his home within 14 days. To meet this goal he had no room for error. A potential buyer will see the floor as a hurdle that may jeopardize a sale.

Ultimately, its always up to the homeowner, all we can do is give our recommendations.

Lucie Quigley
HOLT modern

Posted by Lucie Quigley (HOLT modern Home Staging) about 14 years ago
Craig.... awesome post!  I couldn't have said it better.  Say where did you get that photo?  I'd like to use it in a merketing piece...
Posted by Dan Jungclas (Re/Max Orange County East) about 14 years ago

Hi Craig

I am really spending time going through some older blogs and I think they are great and very informative. I am glad you touched on this subject because a home that has a leaky faucet or cracked toilet says YUCK to the buyers. I am always looking for everything and sometimes feel my list gets toooo long. The sellers will either take my advice or not. I had only one client that refused to have us do the work, the house was a bomb. Their loss and on to the next!

Phyllis Pafumi 

Posted by Phyllis Pafumi, ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ (ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey) almost 14 years ago