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Kimberly Blackford  by Kimberly Blackford

Nothing can frustrate a homeowner like trying to put their home on the market. Homebuyers are ruthless, bent on finding their idea of perfection. The slightest wrinkle in the first impression can quickly change the mind of an interested buyer.

Home staging allows homeowners to gain an edge on the seller. With a few of these tips in mind, you can quickly turn your home into the place buyers want to see.

First, you have to do a complete sweep and purge of clutter. Homebuyers don’t want to see everything you have dragged into the home over the past few years. They want to see the space available and envision how they can make it their own. They have every right and reason to open every cabinet, pantry, and closet door to see what storage is like. So it’s time to clear out every space!

Break this project down and tackle one room at a time in its entirety. Determine an expiration date on items. Be it three months or one year, pick a date and toss out anything that hasn’t been used or missed in that length of time. The “One In, One Out” rule is also great for going through the home staging process. If you buy a board game, you need to get rod of one. Same thing applies to sweaters, shoes, cookbooks, etc. Also, in the end, do not feel guilty for keeping something that has sentimental value. It is your stuff and only you can determine what to do with it. On the other, do not feel guilty for tossing something that once meant a great deal to you but no longer does. Donate it - it may bring great joy to the next person who owns it!

Realistically, busy families do not have time to keep their home in a perfect showing state every moment of every day, Baskets are a great way to add a simple decorative touch to any room while also stashing stuff quickly before a potential buyer comes through. This does not give you license to keep the clutter and just hide it strategically. The baskets are more for a last minute approach as someone views the house between school and soccer. Stick that mail in there until you get a chance to sort it and now the table is clean!

beautiful study with impressive bookshelves

Books should be on shelves or tables, stacked in an interesting way. By subject, author, or alphabetically by title, people are pulled towards bookshelves and will look at what’s there. Remove the dust covers for a more uniform and decorative appearance. Decorative touches and small elements should be displayed in groups of 1, 3, or 5 to draw the eye. These groupings should be arranged purposefully to highlight predetermined areas. For example, if the fireplace is the highlight of the main room, use accent lighting to draw attention to items on the mantelpiece.  Flaunt what you have with style!




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open and airy great room with minimal furniture

If you have the opportunity, remove some of your furniture and store it elsewhere for awhile. That extra corner table may be great for storing a puzzle when the family isn’t working on it, but it’s also taking up a great deal of visual space. Remember that homebuyers do not want to see what you have done with the space; they want to see what they can do. The less of your furniture they see, the more they can picture themselves. Less furniture will also promote good traffic flow and will take the spotlight off tight areas. As you remove excess furniture, evaluate the lighting situation and bring in additional lamps if needed. Spaces that are highlighted with a variety of lighting schemes definitely appeal to buyers.



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inviting front entry with flowers and attractive walkwayGive your entryway a little extra attention. You may be used to coming into your home through the garage so the foyer is often overlooked. Potential buyers will come in the front door though and first impressions are lasting. Detailed landscaping, warm lighting inside and out, and adequate space to move inside are all things that can quickly win over unsure buyers.















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beautiful kitchen with great warmth

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Beyond first impressions, buyers are often compelled to examine kitchens, bathrooms, and storage spaces thoroughly. Kitchens are viewed as the epicenter of home and should be warm and inviting for family and friends alike. Bathrooms should appear as clean, calming environments. Stash the kids’ bath toys under the sink while showing your home.

organized kid's closet

Remember what we said about clearing out the clutter? The closets were not exempt from this rule. Clear every closet space to be half empty. Cluttered closets give the impression that storage space is limited, when really, you may just need to get rid of the clothes that no longer fit. Wrong impression to give a buyer! Half empty closets appear open and bigger than one may think. They also keep overly snoopy people from getting an eyeful of everything you own.

Lastly, take the time to conceal the fact that you have pets. A beautiful clean aquarium filled with your collection of prized tropical fish is not the problem. But your beloved puppy that leaves his toys everywhere could be. Potential homebuyers do not care if your favorite family pet is the sweetest animal there ever was- they are not looking to be sold on an animal. They want to buy a home. So stash toys, leashes, and dishes totally out of sight when they are not being used.

Staging a home is not a convenient process. But neither is having a home on the market for over a year. Taking the time to stage your home and show it at its very best may be a pain for a short while, but in the end, it can also be the very thing that gets your home off the market faster than you ever hoped. Take the time to make it perfect. Check in with your realtor for any suggestions he or she may have after each showing. Before you know it, staging and selling your home will be a thing of the past!

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