I can confidently tell you as a someone who has been a Realtor for 20+ years, staging your home makes a difference. You’ve been a buyer before, you know what it’s like when you walk into a house that could use some decluttering. I think that as a seller it is very important to take some time to increase your curb appeal by following a few tips such as these…

Your home is no longer your home: What does that mean? This isn’t a tip necessarily, this is something that will help you through the process. You need to emotionally detach your yourself from your house. You can benefit from this by 1) being able to clear out all the stuff that makes your house feel like your home – if it feels like your home, it won’t feel like a potential buyer’s home; 2) making changes to your home like painting over the mural of your baby’s name in their room, so your home can look its best; and 3) being open to reasonable offers and not including in your list price all the character and memories your family put into it.

Go outside and look at the entrance to your home: This is something the buyers will see right away and will either give them a good impression or a bad impression. Make your entrance a beautiful one. Buyers spend a few minutes here as the agent unlocks the door. During warm months, it might be a good idea to buy some bright flowers and put them somewhere in the entryway. It’ll help your home to stand out in someone’s mind (“you know that house with the bright purple flowers…”) and make a the initial impression a pleasant one.

Now, step into your house and notice what your eyes are drawn to first: Again, this is about first impressions. Do you want a potential buyer to come in and be draw to that as well? If the answer is “no”, then what should it be and how do you make that happen? You can do this through the placement of your furniture, mirrors, color, and decorations, etc. Now, do this for every room and decide what should be the focal point of the room. Think about what you would want to see if you were the buyer and if you need some extra help, ask a friend or real estate agent.

Declutter: A good rule for decluttering is to only display things that are as big or bigger than a basketball. You can group things together to make them about that size but make sure it’s only about 3 or 4 things and not just a pile of stuff.

Do you smell that? You don’t want potential buyers to ask that question, not even if it’s a nice smell like fresh baked cookies. You want your house to smell like nothing. People can have allergic reactions to certain smells. They also might think you are trying to cover the smell of something less pleasant. Just have your home smell crisp and fresh.

Consider bringing in additional help: A cleaning person can do a lot of good to the condition of the house. You won’t have to worry about dust, weird stains, or messes. Also, having your lawn mowed, trimmed and kept tidy by someone continuously is great for drive-bys. These can be good investments for you and for your home.

Designate a place to just put “stuff”: You want to keep your personal items out of sight. You want your house to look as if someone could move in that day. If you stayed at a hotel and saw someone’s toothbrush and used bar of soap in your room it would make you uncomfortable. Keep those types of things hidden.

Help to market your home: You can provide materials such as information about the neighborhood or location and your experience living there. You can also have a personal letter explaining a little more about the schools, attractions, restaurants, etc. that you enjoyed while living in your home. Buyers will notice if you go the extra mile and always appreciate good information.

Setting out props: I know this might sound crazy but setting out a book opened and put cover-side up will make a dead and plain space look like the perfect place for a quiet read. If you have a random table somewhere set up a board game on it or maybe set it up as the perfect morning coffee spot. Remember not to overdo it and have something in every empty space and also keep the “basketball rule” in mind.

One last tip: In this day and age, people are not living in one home for decades like people have in the past. Furthermore, most people are not looking for a fixer-upper. They want to move in as soon a possible and be comfortable in their new home without having to feel like they have to constantly be working on something. Is your home ready for that kind of buyer? If not, get started and make your home ready for that sale!