7 Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid

By now, you probably know all about home staging and how powerful it can be in selling your home faster and for more money. We offer lots of home staging tips on the right things to do, but what about the most common mistakes people make when trying to stage a home for sale? It’s easy to assume there are certain home staging tips you can skip when it comes to your own home. They may seem unnecessary or frivolous, so you decide to overlook some of them. In reality, this can only hurt your chances of buyers connecting with your home. There are certain home staging mistakes, though, that can have the largest consequences on a property’s salability. Here are 7 home staging mistakes you definitely want to avoid.

7 Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid

1) Using bold, custom colors or wallpaper on the walls. Experimenting with color and wallpaper can be a lot of fun as a homeowner. There are so many inspiring things you can do with it, but unfortunately, it has no place in a home that is on the market. Color and wallpaper are very taste-specific, so while you may think they will entice buyers, they can actually turn off buyers and make them feel like they have to invest a lot of money in undoing them before they can move in. It is best neutralize the walls with a nice neutral (beige or gray) so buyers can see past the design and imagine their own décor in its place. 

2) Neglecting the clutter (or not decluttering enough). Decluttering is one of the most important steps in staging a home for sale. It goes farther than just cleaning things up, though. What would be considered “decluttered” to a house one is living in is different from the level of decluttering that a home on the market requires to make the best possible impression on buyers. Go a step further and put away small appliances that are on the kitchen counters, hide toothbrushes and other toiletries in the bathroom, and thin out the décor on your bookshelves and entertainment center. Items around the house should be as minimal as possible. This helps buyers stay focused on the home and not the items in it. It also makes each space feel larger and more open, so clean out as much as you can. 

3) Personalizing the décor. Just like personalizing the walls, the rest of the décor should follow the same guidelines. Part of owning a house is having the opportunity to put your own stamp on it. If the home you are selling is largely personalized by décor of a specific taste and style, most buyers will have trouble imagining their own décor in its place. While you may feel like buyers should see past all of that, the reality is, most of them won’t. It will affect how they feel while they are touring the house and in turn, affect their desire to make an offer. It’s best to give them a blank slate with simple, contemporary accents so their imaginations can run wild. 

4) Keeping personal photographs and artwork out. Family photos are some of the most distracting elements you can keep in a house that’s on the market. They remind buyers that the house they are walking through belongs to someone else and can even make many feel uncomfortable, like they are intruding on someone else’s space. This is the last thing you want them to be feeling. Put away family photographs and highly personalized artwork until you move into your next place. 

5) Not doing a deep, thorough cleaning. Just like decluttering, the kind of cleaning a house on the market needs is on a different level than everyday cleaning. Every inch of the home should be spotless and as close to looking brand new as possible. As homeowners, we come to overlook certain things, but buyers will be highly sensitive to a home’s cleanliness as they tour it. They will be looking for signs that the home has been well-maintained over the years. We recommend hiring professionals to do a deep, thorough cleaning before listing. Then, be sure to maintain it every day, especially if you have kids and/or pets living there. 

6) Over-staging the house. Home staging can help your home appeal to more buyers and, consequently, get it sold faster and for more money. But the wrong home staging can have the opposite effect. It is possible to over stage a house. If you put out too many decorative pieces, it can start to look cluttered rather than staged. It’s important to be tasteful with your choices and not go overboard with the décor. 

7) Blocking views and architectural elements. Something we see all too often is furniture blocking a home’s best selling features. Beautiful views and architectural elements can be big draws for buyers ─ so if you hide them, you could potentially be missing out on a sale! One of the worst offenders is covering up a fireplace. Fireplaces add charm to a home and are something a lot of home buyers would love to have, so they should be the focal point of a space. The same goes for a view. If a window shows a nice view of the backyard or something even more enticing, like a lake or ocean, then you should definitely be making an effort to draw a buyer’s eye to the window rather than away from it. Be sure to avoid these 7 common home staging mistakes to give your home the best possible chance at impressing buyers.

Get Your Home Ready To Welcome Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s

Chances are, someone you know, or love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The disease is a progressive brain disease that causes a loss of memory and cognition, and there is no cure. Every person’s symptoms differ, so if you know someone who may have it, get them to a neurologist to be sure.

Alzheimer’s disease affects about 5.4 million Americans, about 5.2 million of which are 65 and older. It can be your grandparent, your cousin, your sibling or even your parent who faces the diagnosis. Eventually, those with Alzheimer’s require round-the-clock care, and for many families, that means taking the loved one into their own home.

If you’re planning to take a loved one into your home to become his or her Alzheimer’s caregiver, you should understand that there are some things to prepare for, in your own life, as well as your home. Alzheimer’s patients, depending on the stage of their disease, have special needs that a normal home might not be ready for. With just a few extra steps, you can make your home a safe place for a person with the disease.

First, make your home as safe as possible. People with Alzheimer’s can often seem like small children, and preparing your home is not unlike preparing for a toddler -- except that this person can reach a lot higher. Take the knobs off your stove or add child-locks to them. Add extra locks to your outside doors so that he or she can’t wander off and consider getting an alarm installed so that you’ll be awakened if he or she decides to take a walk in the middle of the night. Get child locks on cabinet and drawers and lock away all chemicals such as cleaners.

Consider locking up areas such as garages, basements and attics, or anywhere that dangerous tools might be kept. Make sure all weapons and anything that can be used as a weapon is locked up or removed from the home. People with Alzheimer’s can sometimes confuse a trusted family member with an intruder, making a weapon a dangerous thing to have in the home.

Clear walkways and add nightlights to anywhere he or she might walk at night. Remove locks from interior doors so that he or she can’t lock themselves into a room. Reassure them that you and other family members won’t invade his or her privacy, but that you want them to be safe.

Make sure that all decorative fruits are put away, because a person with Alzheimer’s might not understand that it’s not real. Make sure that your smoke detectors have good batteries in them, and that you have working fire extinguishers.

In the bathroom, install an elevated toilet seat or a higher-sitting toilet. Add a shower seat to reduce the risk of falls and turn down the temperature on the water heater to prevent scalding. Hide any electrical appliances, such as hair straighteners or dryers, so that he or she can’t drop it into water. Put all medications into a locked drawer. Be careful of slippery bath mats.

You may need to build ramps so that he or she can navigate stairs. Even if your loved one doesn’t use a wheelchair, stairs can be difficult for those who are elderly and have trouble with balance. And a day may come when the wheelchair becomes a necessity.

While caring for your loved one, don’t forget to care for yourself. Being a caregiver is extremely stressful, and can cause depression, anxiety, and health issues. But, remember also to spend time with him or her. You’ll appreciate the time you have together, and you’ll notice some bright spots along the way.

 Lydia Chan 

The House of 1,000 Mirrors

Long ago in a faraway village, there was place known as the House of 1,000 Mirrors.

A happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit.  When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house.  He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could.  To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1,000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his.  He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1,000 great smiles just as warm and friendly.  As he left the house, he thought to himself, “This is a wonderful place.  I will come back and visit it often.”

Another little dog, who was not happy like the first one, decided to visit the House.  He slowly climbed the stairs, his head hung low as he looked through the doorway.  When he saw the 1,000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them, and was horrified to see 1,000 little dogs growling back at him.  As he quickly backed away from the door, he thought to himself, “This a horrible place, and I will never go back there again.”

All the faces in the world are mirrors.  What reflections do we see in the faces of the people we meet?

Don't Become A Smoke Detector Statistic

Are you checking your smoke detector at least once every six months, if not more frequently?  Although the average life of a smoke detector can span as long as 10 to 15 years, the devices can go on the blink, and you wouldn’t know it.  About 30 percent of smoke detectors fail after 10 years, according to a recent report, and about 50 percent of them shut down after 15 years.  Though your smoke detectors might emit a sound when you test them, that doesn’t necessarily mean the devices are working and will alert you to smoke or fire.

And if your smoke detectors aren’t battery operated or don’t have a battery backup – replace them.  Detectors hard-wired into your electrical system won’t work during a power outage, and we all know that can happen anytime.

Taking just a few minutes to test your smoke detectors and replace the batteries will help prevent you from becoming one of these statistics:  40 percent of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke detectors, and another 23 percent happen in homes with detectors that don’t work.

Bullying: What Parents Can Do

Bullying can be a serious problem for children.  But often it’s not obvious to their parents, and even when it becomes clear, stopping it isn’t easy.  Here’s what to look for, and what to do about it:

What To Look For:

· Decline in school performance.

· Reluctance to go to school.

· Unexplained bruises or torn clothing.

· Difficulty sleeping.

· Complaints of headaches, stomach aches, or other physical problems.

· Excessive moodiness or depression.

· Lack of friends or social activities.

What To Do:

First, talk to your child.  Maintain open lines of communication by asking what happened at school that day and showing interest in his or her activities.  Encourage your child to open up when something seems wrong.  Listen attentively, and don’t downplay real concerns.  Ask for details – what happened, who was involved, who else saw it, and so on.

Talk to the school.  Contact your child’s teacher and principal if you believe bullying is going on.  Because bullying frequently takes place out of adults’ sight, they may not know what’s happening.  Explain the situation and ask for their help.  In many cases they’ll be able to help resolve things.

Teach children how to respond.  Don’t suggest retaliation, but do talk over some coping strategies, such as telling the bully “I don’t like this,” and walking away, or yelling “No!” or “Stop!” and then going to an adult for help.  Role-play some of the most common scenarios with your child to help him or her get comfortable with the response.

Do what you can to boost your child’s self-confidence.  That might mean giving them the opportunity to join a club or sports team outside of school; taking lessons in something they really enjoy and want to excel at, like painting or skateboarding; and reminding your child that you’re in their corner.  Being more confident can help a child avoid being chosen as a victim.

High Stress = Slow Healing








A recent study at Ohio State University found that high stress levels slow healing.  Students with small surface wounds needed 40 percent more time to heal during final exams compared to those with similar wounds who weren’t under pressure.  “This is news to keep in mind if you’re heading in for elective surgery,” says Dr. Phillip Marucha.  “Trying to get too much done beforehand could heighten stress and thereby slow recovery.”

Help For The Terminally Tardy

Are you always running late?  Maybe you’re legitimately busy, but sometimes chronic lateness springs from other factors.  The danger is that being late all the time will give you a reputation for being undependable and/or careless.

Take better control of your time by considering these psychological causes for being constantly behind schedule:

Adrenalin.  For some people, rushing to every meeting and event provides excitement.  If you’re enjoying the chase too much, look for other activities to fill your need for thrills.  Skydiving, maybe?

Control.  Making other people wait for you – instead of the other way around – is one way to feel you’re the one in control.  The problem is, important people like family, friends, customers and the boss don’t like it.  Remind yourself that other people’s time is important, too.

Validation.  Being busy can be one measure of success:  “Look at all my customers/projects/places to go/people to see!”  But if you overextend yourself, you’ll burn out.  Could you consider measuring “success” by standards other than how “busy” you are?

Anger.  Sometimes we “punish” people by forcing them to waste time waiting for us.  This rarely solves any problems and may exacerbate them.  If you’ve got an issue, talk it out openly.  You’ll both save a lot of time.

Housework Humor

Spring begins on March 20, and around this time the thoughts of some turn to spring cleaning.  But not everyone, as you’ll see from these quotes:

Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don’t do it.  – Evan Esar

Nature abhors a vacuum.  And so do I.  – Anne Gibbons

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.  – Phyllis Diller

Cleanliness is not next to godliness.  It isn’t even in the same neighborhood.  No one has ever gotten a religious experience out of removing burned-on cheese from the grill of the toaster oven.  – Erma Bombeck

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.  – Anonymous

Always keep several get well cards on the mantle, so if unexpected guests arrive, they’ll think you’ve been sick and unable to clean.  – Maxine

I’m not going to vacuum ‘til Sears makes one you can ride on.  – Roseanne Barr

I hate housework.  You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again. – Joan Rivers

Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop-offs at tedium and counterproductivity.  – Erma Bombeck

Conran’s rule of housework:  It expands to fill the time available plus half an hour. – Shirley Conran

When it comes to housework the one thing no book of household management can ever tell you is how to begin.  Or maybe I mean why.  – Katharine Whitehorn

If your house is really a mess and a stranger comes to the door, greet him with, “Who could have done this?  We have no enemies.”  – Phyllis Diller

Dust is a protective cover.  – Anonymous

What Kids Think of Love

♥ Love is like an avalanche where you must run for your life. John, Age 9

♥ I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful.  Manuel, Age 8

♥ On the first date they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them Interested enough for a second date. Mike, Age 10

♥ I’m in favor of love as long as it doesn’t happen when dinosaurs are on television. Jill, Age 6

♥ One of the people have freckles, so he finds someone else who has freckles too. Andrew, Age 6

♥ My mother says to find someone who’s kind. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll find someone who’s kind of tall and handsome. Carolyn, Age 8

♥ One of you should know how to write a cheque. Even if you have tons of love, there is still going to be a lot of bills. Ava, Age 8

♥ Love is Foolish...but I still might try it sometime. Floyd, Age 9

Slow Down and Listen

Do you ever find your mind wandering when someone is talking to you?  No, you’re not abnormal and you don’t have attention deficit disorder.

Most people speak at an average rate of about 120 words per minute, but most people can listen about four times faster. So, your mind fills in the gap by thinking about other things.

Be aware of this and try to slow down your listening. Work on staying focused so you can really comprehend what the speaker is saying.