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Staging: The job interview for your home

You’ll want to do everything you can to make a good first impression, because the average home buyer makes up his or her mind within seconds of walking through the door. Because the first impression is a key factor in selling your home, you’ll want to make your living and outdoor spaces comfortable, clean and inviting.

Staging can mean making meaningful, thoughtful edits to the space yourself or it can mean hiring a professional. If going it alone, consider starting with curb appeal by sprucing up your yard, landscaping and entry.

As you move inside, declutter and edit your furniture selections, choosing furnishings and accessories that create focal points and emphasize space. Agents agree decluttering is the number one area upon which to focus. You’ll want to streamline every room to minimize the objects on display, paying special attention to packing away items that are personal. Decluttering allows potential buyers to see their own objects in your home and will truly showcase its potential. Consider renting a low-cost storage unit for your excess stuff. Also, clear off your countertops to remove coffeemakers and other appliances, and be sure any prescriptions and other medications are put away out-of-sight. Depersonalize the space by removing some family photos and items that depict very specific decorating tastes.

If you hire a professional stager, you will have access to a trained expert who knows how to highlight your home’s strengths, downplay its weaknesses and tailor its décor to your neighborhood’s demographic. A professional will know whether you should rent furniture and accessories. If you decide to invest in a staging professional, remember that it’s a lot cheaper to spend your money on staging than it would be to take a loss on the lowered sale price of your home.

Photography Matters

If staging is a job interview, then consider that photos of your home online are a virtual showing. For the would-be buyer, photos are the first and lasting impression of your home. High quality photography– whether taken by a professional or your agent– is definitely recommended. One bad photo can take your home off the list for potential buyers

Quality photos increase the likelihood that potential buyers searching online will want to visit your home. Your agent will work with you to select the perfect photos that showcase your home’s most appealing attributes. You’ll want to ensure your home is show-ready for the photoshoot by thoroughly cleaning it from top to bottom, decluttering, tastefully accessorizing, painting in neutral tones, depersonalizing and replacing anything that’s worn or broken.

If professional photos are not possible, there are some simple rules of thumb in real estate photography. Show off the most sought after rooms of the home and the unique features, pay attention to – and experiment with – lighting, don’t get too fancy with wide or unusual angles and use a tripod.

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