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Houston home sellers are usually told from the moment they decide to put their house on the market that they need to do some home staging if they want to showcase the place in the best light to a wide cross-section of home buyers.

That advice can mean different things to different properties, but there are some things that are almost guaranteed to turn most potential homebuyers off and not all of them may be immediately obvious to the current owners of the place. Here is a little about some of those things.

Dated Decor

Opinions on what are the latest ‘hot’ decor styles change all the time and it is unreasonable–and silly–to think any homeowner is going to completely change their home’s interior design scheme to keep pace with these trends in the way they might with their clothes. But, as the best Houston home stager will tell you, if the last time you updated anything in your home was circa 1985 you should give things a second look.

Things like shabby worktops, worn carpet and truly ‘old-fashioned decor’ just won’t photograph well (those first online impressions are so important) and may very well give a potential buyer the impression that if you have not bothered to update the decor in two decades, you probably have not kept the rest of the home in great shape either, even if that is not really the case.

Crazy Colors

All too often potential home buyers will click their way through a slideshow of photos in a listing and having been impressed by what they have seen so far are suddenly faced with an image of a bright yellow bathroom or a virulent purple bedroom and all of those good feelings go away.

Yes, it’s only paint and that could easily be rectified by a home buyer after the sale, but such things still spoil a great first impression so why take the risk? Get a can of paint yourself and repaint the space in a nice neutral color.

Strange Smells

If you do not have pets and you do not smoke, then you probably assume that you have very little to worry about on this score, but the simple fact is that that may not be the case at all. There are other household smells that you may be quite used to that will be rather jarring to a stranger entering the home.

Cooking smells, scented candles, heavy air fresheners and even just stale air can all be rather off-putting. Because it can be hard for a person who lives in a home all the time to pick up on potentially offensive smells ask a trusted friend–or your home stager–to give you their take on their olfactory first impressions when they walk into your home.

Spaces With No Purpose

Often, in a larger home, people may have a room that has no real purpose. Perhaps it once had one, but a child moved out, or you earmarked it for something–home office, sitting room, nursery–but you never quite got around to renovating and right now it is full of old furniture and boxes.

In order to best showcase your home potential buyers have to be able to see a purpose for every room. Therefore, any unused space should be staged to have a purpose, and a purpose that will appeal to a wide range of buyers. Safe bets? A home office, a sitting room or a dining space. The homebuyers will not have to use it as that, but at least they will see its potential.