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Stage Your Home Like a Professional

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Posted: Sunday, December 29, 2013 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:32 am, Wed Jan 1, 2014.

(Family Features)  Location, location, location may be an important mantra in real estate, but the Golden Rule should be to make a great first impression. Home builders often hire professional stagers to create an impression that will get a home to sell quickly. Here are a few tricks of the trade you can use in your home:

Get rid of clutter: Donate to charity. Rent a storage unit. Do whatever it takes to reduce all the extra clutter in your home. Remove all your extra furniture so buyers only see the bare minimum. This tip also applies to your closet. You want to give buyers the impression all of their belongings will fit in nicely with plenty of room to spare.

Float Your Furniture: Most people push their furniture against a wall in the belief it will make the room appear larger. Not true. Group furniture into conversation areas, leaving enough room for guests to navigate easily between pieces. If this means paring down the number of items in a room, put some in storage. Buyers just want to get an idea of where to place their own furniture and how each room is being used.

Give Each Room a Purpose:  Having the guest room serve as extra storage for out-of-season clothing or spare furniture may work for your family. But make sure to remove extra items before showing it to potential buyers. The playroom/office/music room should also be converted to showcase one primary purpose. 

Stay Neutral:  Many homeowners embrace color in a big way. Bright reds, oranges and purples may fit their personality but won't appeal to everyone. Once you've committed to selling the house, it's time to paint over outlandish colors and give house hunters a blank slate of soft tans, blues and greens.

Add Glamour: Home stagers bring in furniture, décor and special touches that motivate buyers. Use their tricks of the trade. Set a large flower arrangement near the entryway or in the main living area. Smaller bouquets will freshen up a bathroom or master bedroom. There's no need to get too elaborate. Flowers cut from your garden would work nicely. Warming up the kitchen with a tray of fresh baked goods, such as cookies or muffins, is also a welcoming touch. 

Master the Bedroom Décor: The person who will one day write you a large check for your home is probably most interested in the master bedroom. Create a relaxing and inviting space by painting the wall a soft, neutral color and keeping tchotchkes to a minimum. Picture a luxurious day and carry that theme throughout any adjoining bathroom or sitting area. 

Clean is Key: A clean home is a must each and every time a potential buyer enters your home. But they will be paying extra attention to the bathrooms and kitchen. So, make sure they sparkle. If it's in the budget, hire a professional cleaning service to come in periodically while the home is on the market. It may just be a great investment with a huge payoff.

While your home is being shown to potential buyers, do a little reconnaissance at neighboring homes for sale. After all, these are often attracting the same potential buyers your home is. Tour these open houses to see how they are staged and take note of any ideas that would work in yours. Then head home and wait for the offers to roll in.

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