10 Secrets of Home Staging

In a tough market, sellers need all the competitive edge they can get. Home staging is a great way to make your home appear to its best advantage.

Staging is about appealing to a broad range of buyers. It's about creating an image of a lifestyle that buyers can't resist. They need to be able to imagine themselves living in your house.

Staging doesn't require a big budget either. Although, if you have the budget to make your home a showpiece, go for it! In general, though, successful staging means paying attention to the details.

Here are 10 secrets of staging that can help your home sell.

1. Declutter: Clutter can be one of the most distracting aspects of showing a house. Instead of a buyer focusing on the unique architectural details of your room, they focus in on your trinkets and trash. You don't have to toss your decor, just put it away for now.

2. Furniture: Large, oversized furniture can makes rooms look smaller than they are. The converse if true as well. Small furniture in large rooms looks disproportionate.

3. Room true to purpose: You may have your dining room set up as an office or a second bedroom set up as a craft room, but buyers need to see homes true to their purpose. They want to see the formal dining room that was advertised on the MLS. They want to see 2 bedrooms, not one and a craft room.

4. Proper lighting: Good lighting makes everything look better. CFL lights in "daylight" color makes rooms look light and bright even during the evening hours. Be sure all rooms are well lit, including laundry rooms, garages, and closets.

5. Repairs: Most buyers aren't interested in fixer-uppers. They want homes that have been well-maintained. You may have to spend a little time and money to fix broken doors, drawers, and windows. Buyers will notice every loose board and trim piece. Fix it before you start showings!

6. Keep it neutral: It is much easier to imagine putting your mark on a neutral room than it is to imagine yourself living in someone else's Moroccan paradise. Paint is relatively inexpensive. Play it safe and pick out neutral tones.

7. Fresh flowers: It's all about things smelling fresh and clean. Flowers add life and fragrance to a room!

8. Thorough Cleaning: Clean from top to bottom. The basics mean having dishes and laundry done. Deep cleaning means cleaning carpets, removing stains, and scrubbing that bathroom until it sparkles.

9. Staged Dining Area: You can really make a room pop by setting a formal place setting. Outdoor dining spaces also look great set with placemats, chargers, and proper plates and glasses.

10. Hotel Inspired Bedrooms: Boutique hotels do a great job of making bedrooms feel luxurious. You can do the same by updating your bedding and having a liberal use of pillows.

Staging can make your home can make you stand our from your competition. It may mean the difference between selling and not in this tough market.

Published: June 30, 2011, RealtyTimes, reprinted with permission