What Your Realtor Won’t Tell You (But Your Home Stager Will)

What Your Realtor Won't Tell You

Ever wondered what your realtor won’t tell you? How they really feel about your home?

Advising clients how to prepare their home for sale can be a very sensitive conversation. Most homeowners tend to be (understandably) emotionally attached to their homes and furnishings. Telling a homeowner that something in the house is a distraction and could negatively impact the perceived value can be a very hard conversation to have.

That’s where it’s handy to seek the advice of a professional home stager. Our job is to understand the homebuyer market and (kindly) give you honest, objective feedback on your home’s “buyer appeal.” We help homeowners highlight the positive features and find solutions for the negatives.

Luckily for you, dear reader, I come from a family of real estate agents (and have many, many realtors as friends and clients). As such, I am privy to all their grumblings about difficult homeowners, as well the praise for clients who actually listen to feedback and make the job easy.

Want to hear a few of the top things your realtor won’t tell you because they’re either too nice or too nervous? Read on…

“Your house is too cluttered.”

OMG, what a mean thing to say! How dare I??? I dare because I want you to sell your home. It can be really hard for potential buyers to appreciate how great your house is when you have too much stuff. Even beautiful, decorative stuff can just be “too much.” How we live in our houses on a day to day basis (surrounded by the things we use and love) is typically very different that the way a home should be presented for sale. You’re moving anyway, so start packing. Read our 3-step process for how to simplify and reduce the “stuff” in your home when preparing for a sale.

This home features an amazing, high-end gourmet stove…that is darn near impossible to see or fully appreciate because there is too much day-to-day clutter and “decor” around it.

“A furnished house will show better…but maybe not furnished with your stuff.”

Fact 1: A room staged with furniture looks larger and more appealing than an empty room. It helps buyers identify the room’s purpose and proportions.

Before: What is this space? After: Ah, it’s a spacious bedroom and sitting area!


Fact 2: The wrong furnishings can have a more detrimental effect than leaving it empty. Ideally, your home shouldn’t be empty when potential buyers visit, but that doesn’t mean it should be full of your stuff, either. Nor should it contain weird groupings of badly staged leftover pieces. (That big empty room with a couple of random dining chairs and a sad plant in it — I’m lookin’ at you.) If your realtor has told you to empty out your house, it’s possibly (likely?) because your existing furnishings are not doing the place justice.

Before: Nice furniture, but the placement is off and the dark colors make it feel small. After: Updated, lighter furnishings open the space and make it feel bigger, increasing perceived value for the buyer.

Good staging is essential for a quick, profitable sale. A professional stager can help find solutions to issues that might otherwise kill your sale, like bad lighting or a terrible view. They can help you find the most effective ways to use the furnishings you already have, or they may suggest bringing in rental items to replace them.

“It smells funny in here.”

This is one of the hardest subjects for many real estate agents to bring up because they feel like they’re accusing the homeowner of being dirty. But the truth is that are a whole host of issues that can contribute to a home’s unique odor. Some families cook with especially fragrant spices. Perhaps an elderly pet is having accidents in the home. Maybe a particular air freshener is the culprit. And very likely you’ve gone “noseblind” to it. My point is that even though your realtor may feel awkward pointing it out, potential buyers will still notice and you need to address it. Have a trusted friend do a smell test for you and read our tips to keep your house smelling fresh.

“Fix it now, then list it.”

“Move-in ready” condition is extremely important, especially among Millennials, one of the largest demographics of homebuyers. Many have saved for years to buy a home and do not wish to invest in thousands of dollars worth of renovations. Your realtor probably won’t tell you to delay listing. But if your home has issues and you can afford to make the repairs, do it! Doing so can decrease your home’s time on the market and increase your final sales price. Sure, there are buyers willing to take on a home that’s not up-to-par. But those are also the buyers who tend to make low-ball offers.

Remember, your real estate professional won’t judge your home based on how friendly you are or your taste in decor. Their job is to determine the marketability of what you’ve got. By offering constructive criticism about your home, they risk offending you and damaging that relationship. They may even lose you as client. Find a good real estate agent you trust and listen to their advice (and don’t shoot the messenger). After all, you both want the same thing — a faster, more profitable sale! And if you’re still worried about what your realtor won’t tell you…get in touch with us.

How We Can Help

Three Bears Home Staging is here to help sellers make their homes “just right!” Take a look at how we’re helping homeowners all across the country. How can we help you?

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