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The 5 Most Common Home Staging Mistakes and How to Avoid Them (PT 1)

Posted by Kiana Barry on April 7, 2018
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A picture is worth a thousand words…What are the pictures of your home saying?

Home staging is a trend which aims to show homes that are for sale in their best light through deliberate photography. Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, it is not as simple as grabbing a few photos with an iphone and posting your listing online. 

With international buyers flocking to cities like Paris in droves, it is important that the initial photos of a space give information to and draw interest from buyers. A picture is truly worth a thousand words- or at least saved time, money and effort for potential buyers and agents. As visual creatures, we often digest with our eyes first. It’s the same reason why a Big Mac looks amazing in advertisements and not so stellar (but equally delicious) in person! Most self-taken apartment photos miss the mark completely and fail to make the listing attractive. Sometimes doing-it-yourself is a recipe for disaster.

However, it is worth noting the cost for professional photographers or home stagers to come in, rearrange and take photos of a home can be steep. Spending extra money to insure that your listing goes faster may seem a bit unnecessary and slightly uncouth to some French sellers. This speaks to a difference in mindsets about marketing and sales. Americans tend to go overboard and have no problem putting themselves out there to make a sale; the French, not so much. For example, think of how hard a waiter at TGI Fridays (or any American restaurants) works to sell you food and an experience: big smiles, singing an obnoxious birthday song, flexibility, attentiveness, the patience of a saint, the list goes on. Now imagine going to a cafe in Paris and getting the same or even similar service. Not going to happen. No ‘happy happy birthday from Le Bla Bla Cafe !!!!’ is gonna come with your cafe au lait!

This metaphor isn’t perfect but it speaks to the American willingness to go above and beyond all in the name of a dollar versus the French, more natural, ‘take it or leave it attitude’. Most French sellers just are not so concerned with over-selling themselves and their homes. Maybe they know there will always be someone willing to buy. Or maybe they are just being ‘laissez-faire’. Either way, the lack of effort of some French sellers makes for hilarious apartment photos and hopefully, a few learning points. Here are the 5 most common mistakes we’ve seen in listing photos: 

Mistake One: People and/or clutter in photos

This should go without saying but potential buyers don’t want to see random people in the pictures of the apartment. It’s just awkward.

Starting with the man in the mirror.


Clean it up first- literally!


Mistake Two: Fish-eye lens photos

This method usually does more harm than good. The pictures are distorted, distracting and hard to follow. While the idea of fitting everything into one photo is great…just…don’t.

Am I seeing double?


Am I seeing double?


Mistake Three: Too much too soon

Leave a little to the imagination for potential buyers especially if it’s a fixer-upper detail. It’s better for the buyer to fall in love over pictures first then find a few flaws in person.

So much to do, so much to see.


Mistake Four: Not Enough

Showing a picture of exposed beams is great, if that’s one picture out of 12. Just having one picture of one feature of the apartment (or a picture of the building or metro station) implies the space as a whole may be a bit…unphotogenic.

This gives “beam me up Scotty,” a whole new meaning!


Mistake Five: Not knowing your audience

Rendering implies renovation. Most buyers want see pictures of the space in order from outside to inside. Showing a rendering of the space instead of the space itself would work for architects and engineering purposes but not for impressing potential buyers.

Is this real life or is this just fantasy?


Consider home staging a necessity and not a luxury if you want your property to sell fast. There is no shame in putting your best apartment-self forward! And please, at the very least, make sure we can’t see you (or your shower products) in your pictures!

Stay tuned for pt.2 for a few home-staging ‘dos’!


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