Why Real Estate Experts Say You Should Never Put Out Fake Plants During an Open House

updated Mar 10, 2021
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

When you’re trying to sell your home, you want it to look perfect — but that’s easier said than done. Buyers are a finicky bunch, and it can be hard to predict what will attract or repel them. There are certain home modifications that can expand your buyer pool, of course, but even some simple home staging can make all the difference. 

However, there’s a big home staging no-no that some experts say can hurt a possible sale: fake plants. Here’s why real estate professionals say you should never put fake plants on display for an open house.

Fake home accents detract from real life 

You’re trying to create a welcoming atmosphere when your home is on the market. But, according to Chuck Vander Stelt, a realtor in Valparaiso, Indiana, and founder of Quadwalls.com, prospective homebuyers who attend an open house or a private showing are often turned off by fake plants.

“Confronting homebuyers with your dusty, plastic greenery can derail buyers’ imagination as they think about how they will enjoy the home in their day-to-day life and what real memories they will make while living there,” Vander Stelt explains. He says it’s your job to create a pleasant and exciting reality in the minds of buyers. “Fake anything dissuades this; you would not have a fake television on the wall, would you?” 

Credit: Liz Calka

Vander Stelt’s view is shared by Justin Riordan, an interior designer, architect, and founder of the home staging company Spade and Archer Design Agency. He reasons that purchasing a home is an emotional decision, and you want buyers to imagine they can live their best lives in your home. “If they see something fake, it is a reminder that this is not real, this is not how their lives will be, this is truly unobtainable,” Riordan says.

The fewer fake items you have in your home, the more realistic the staging feels, Riordan continues. “If we can get a buyer to say, ‘I have no idea who lives here, but it has to be me,’ then we won,” he says. His closing argument on nixing fake plants? “They’re just tacky.”

Faux plants could signal a home isn’t hospitable to live plants

Fake plants could make buyers think there’s something wrong with your house. According to Julie Busby, a Compass broker in Chicago and founder of Busby Group, they may start wondering if those fake plants are a red flag. “Do live plants not get enough sunlight in this home? Can they not grow in this home?” Busby asks. No one wants to purchase a dark, dreary home (especially a plant lover!) and these thoughts could lead critical homebuyers to wonder what else is wrong with the place.

Fake plants could also point toward poor home maintenance

Chris Fajkos, a realtor at Tahoe Mountain Realty in California, agrees. “Just like small cracks in the wall or stains on the carpet might seem minimal to home sellers who have managed to live with them, fake plants might not seem like that big of a deal — but buyers have a different opinion,” he explains. “Fake plants tell a potential buyer that little effort went into the home’s appearance and that there are possibly other areas of the home that were also ‘faked.’”