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Davis Journal

Realtors’ rules for staging a house a bit over the top

Feb 27, 2023 09:59AM ● By Cyclops

The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author. 

The Cyclops column is now entering its 39th year of weekly publication. In that time it has analyzed/spoofed/skewered political figures, trends, music, sports, and any other item which I deemed interesting or controversial. There was never a dearth of topics; after all, the Utah Legislature is always good for a laugh!

But one subject that I have never written about is the modern-day “staging” realtors perform to sell houses.  It is obvious, of course, that homes should be clean and uncluttered for potential buyers, but last week’s experience of my friends selling their home showed me “new rules” making a rambler into a mansion. Some of the advice I found peculiar. You decide which is over the top….

“You must remove all the paintings and photographs off the walls,” said the realtor. “We don’t want the home to feel too personalized by the previous owners. That also means getting rid of all items in the bathroom: no toilet brushes, no toilet paper rolls, no wastebasket, no soap or shampoo in the shower, nothing to point out that bathrooms are used for bodily functions.” 

(But don’t buyers know that bathrooms have been constructed for certain, er, excretions?)

 “Oh, don’t remind them! Now the so-called ‘man-cave’ must look nondescript. For instance, the Dallas Cowboys paraphernalia or Roger Staubach bobblehead could destroy the sale.” 

(But sports is an American institution. I mean, I guess a Steelers fan might object?)

“Remember, depersonalize your home. The buyer might well be a person who dislikes violent sports and wants to turn the man-cave into a reading room. Oh, and make sure the books on the upstairs bookshelves don’t show titles. If you wish, you could turn the spines around. And this is very important: Remove that large family Bible. Some buyers might get spooked if they thought the previous owner was some kind of evangelical.”

(But the majority of Americans still profess a religious belief.)

“Trust me, religion is a sticky subject. Now I would suggest you purchase a wine rack for placement in the kitchen or dining room. It suggests sophistication. And, of course, make sure there is no evidence that a dog has ever lived in the house.”

(But almost half of Americans have a pet. And wouldn’t the dog door give them a hint that the previous owner had a dog?)

“Maybe, but don’t rub it in their faces. A dog subtracts from the impression of a clean, orderly home. However, you might want to install a peg by the back door and leave a dog leash on it. If the potential buyer has a pet, that will indicate the house and neighborhood are pet-friendly without alerting them that a previous dog might have had several accidents in the house which are being covered up.”

(I didn’t know there were so many rules.)

“These are proven tactics to increase the sale of your home. Oh, and I like the idea of the fresh oranges displayed in the kitchen. It gives a sense of freshness to the house. But I would also add a few limes to the assortment. People like color.”

My friends accepted the tips. I guess “location, location, location” is still a reality buzzword, but so is “out with Ecclesiastes and in with cabernet sauvignon.”