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Home staging is one of the best investments any Houston home seller can make if they want to sell their home quickly and for top dollar (and who doesn’t?) And while some (mistakenly) believe that staging only benefits vacant homes occupied home staging – staging a space that the owners are still living in – when done correctly, can be every bit as effective.

Once an occupied home is professionally staged however, there are some responsibilities left to the in situ owners that occasionally get overlooked while the home is actively being shown. These are little mistakes and oversights that can be made when living in a staged home that, as I advise my occupied home staging clients, should be avoided at all costs. Here are some of the most important of those:

Not Keeping the Front Entrance Tidy

Your home stager will have spent hours ensuring that the interior of your home looks just right but have you checked that the front entrance to your home is tidy and free of dust and debris since she left?

This is something you have to check before every single viewing of your home as a buyer’s initial impression of your home begins at the front door, and as we all know, first impressions count for a lot.

Aside from vacuuming and/or sweeping regularly ensure that the entrance is free of clutter – coats, shoes, mail, etc. – and that any extra staging touches that your home stager put in place are still intact.

Not Making Sure All the Lights Work

Potential home buyers have a tendency to wander around a home opening cupboard doors and flicking lights on and off. Should they come across one that does not work that fact is likely to instantly trigger a red flag in their minds.

You know that the light bulb simply needs to be replaced, but in a potential buyers mind it can bring up the question of potential damage or possible repairs that might be needed, something that you really don’t want. so get into the habit of checking that all the lights work before every showing too.

Not Removing Potentially Controversial Items

If you still live in your home, potential buyers should not be taking too much notice of the books on your shelves or coffee table or the art on your walls, but the fact is that they do.

If people see things that evoke negative emotions such feelings may affect the way they feel about the house altogether. No, it shouldn’t matter and it shouldn’t be any of the buyer’s business what you choose to read or display but the fact is that for some it does. Books or artwork that someone may consider even vaguely offensive to their tastes can do this all too easily, so play on the safe side and remove everything before they arrive.

Not Paying Attention to Odors

You have taken the most obvious steps to eliminate odors in your home but be careful that the air fresheners you use around the place are not offensive in themselves.

Occasionally some can be a little too overpowering for people’s tastes and every bit as off-putting as the odor they were meant to be disguising. Some people may even be allergic to heavy chemical air fresheners so you might want to consider more natural alternatives like potpourri or essential oil burners instead.