“Pet Peeves of a Home Stager” 

(or: Things that Make Me Go “Aaarghhh!”) 

by: Cynthia Black, HomeStaging by Cynthia, Inc. in KCMO


“Over 4,000 Homes Staged…since 1999!”

 I’ll admit that I’ve never owned a Peeve so I don’t know what they’re like as Pets, but I DO know what drives me nuts as a Home Stager:

Painted-over Wallpaper 

I realize that some of the stager-types do this on HGTV, but it’s EVIL! Eventually, the paint pulls the paper away from the wall, revealing a seam, which is a huge red flag for wise buyers. Meanwhile, someone is cursing the person who painted over the wallpaper (whose life is now in the toilet and doesn’t know why). To avoid bad karma you’ll never hear me say that it’s okay to paint over wallpaper. Meanwhile, is it too much to ask builders to size before hanging wallpaper?

 Exercise Equipment in the Master Bedroom 

Ugly. All I can say is, if you’re going to sweat in the master bedroom then you’d better be having fun, and stairstepping to Nowhere is not my idea of fun. 

Smallish Closets with a Single Bar Across 

There are home improvement store aisles devoted to this very important master bedroom space. I recommend that sellers raise the bar (pun intended) so that a double-hanging bar can hang in a portion of the space…add a shelf or two above…and for goodness’ sake hide the open hamper of dirty skivvies seen on the closet floor.

Updated Kitchens with Brass Cabinet Pulls 

The stainless (or black) appliances look amazing, the lighting has been updated…why are the cabinet pulls still brass? A hundred bucks or so and the kitchen is fully updated!

Granite Counters with Dated Back Splash

Why? Why? Why? Buyers see the dated back splash butted against the gorgeous granite counters and wonder why the sellers didn’t finish the job. What should have been a fabulous plus is now a frustrating negative.

Chandelier Hung Too High

It’s one thing to hook the chandelier higher to prevent the movers from bonking their heads on it, but it’s another to leave it hung too high five years after the movers have moved on. Rule of thumb: 33” to 39” from the top of the table to the bottom of the chandelier. Easy fix.

Ceiling Fan Over a Dining Table

Unless the table is bathed in hot Summer sun most of the year requiring an overhead fan to keep diners from melting into the chairs, who wants to serve a hot meal that will be cold in 15 seconds? (Or, depending on housekeeping skills, covered in dust!)

Empty Bookshelves

Really? They look better empty? I suspect this trend was started by a “stager” who writes reports for a living and can’t be bothered with dusty hands. Empty bookcases make a home feel soulless. Technically, I realize homes don’t have a soul, but folks tend to connect to a home at that level, so just give me a call if the bookcases aren’t cutting it. I can save them!

Artwork Hung at “Eye Level”

Just whose eye level are we talking about? Mister Basketball Star over there or Miss Pretty ‘n Petite over here? The only time “eye level” applies is in a foyer or hallway, where one is never sitting. There, the rule-of-thumb is that the top of the frame should never be level with—or higher than—a door or window frame. We spend our time sitting in most rooms, so the artwork should be hung in relation to the furnishings, providing balance and color. You can feel the difference.

*sigh* I feel better now; thank you for letting me vent. 

Wait, did you say vent?

The slats on a return-air vent need to be slanted so we don’t see the unfinished wall behind it. Another simple fix!

If your listings need some tweakings please feel free to contact me. I stage what sellers already own, making their things work very hard to sell the home; I can do serious damage in just two hours!

Meanwhile, I’m having “Save the Bookshelves!” bumper-stickers made. I’m on a mission. 

Cynthia Black (aka “The House Whisperer”)

HomeStaging by Cynthia, Inc. 816-444-5352 www.HomeStagingByC.com

“Over 4,000 Homes Staged since 1999…because the way we live in our home is different from the way we sell our home.”