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Trying to sell your home in this market can be a challenge. Marketing it without careful preparation might cause prospective buyers to avoid your home completely.

Home staging is a craft that has gained in importance in recent years, a way for you to make it appealing to home shoppers. To achieve success in real estate enhancement, you’ll want to work with your real estate agent to ensure that your house is market ready.

The following tips can help make your home ready for your buyers:

1. Curb appeal — If buyers don’t like what your home looks like on the outside, they won’t bother to stop and take a look at its inside. First impressions count here, what is known as curb appeal.  Curb appeal for a home means that your grass is cut, your shrubs are trimmed, all sidewalks and driveways are clean and swept, peeling paint is scraped away and repainted, and all other problem areas of your home’s exterior that would send up a warning flag to buyers are remedied.

2. Remove the clutter — Your home is certainly comfortable, isn’t it? You’ve got your favorite chairs, sofas, magazines racks, bookcases, paintings and a host of collectables on display for all to see. Unfortunately, you’re also making it difficult for prospective buyers to imagine what the home would look like if they lived in it. Time to remove the clutter by keeping counters clear, storing excess furniture and boxing your collection of antique frogs of whimsical gnomes.

3. Bring in the light — You might prefer a more cloistered look in your home with heavy drapes, minimal lighting and a subdued paint scheme. That chocolate brown carpet may be the kicker, however, announcing to one and all that your home is gloomy. Your real estate agent will have a lot to say about each room. If there are lighting issues present, you’ll need to resolve these problems first. Sheer curtains, higher wattage light bulbs and brighter wall colors are among the changes she may recommend.

4. Painting matters — You can’t do anything about a small room other than keeping it free of most furniture. HGTV recommends painting a room the same color as a larger, adjacent room. That can make both rooms appear larger. You can also create the feeling of more available room by painting small rooms the color of your drapery.

5. Beautify with nature — If you have lush foliage and seasonal flowers in your yard, you’ll want to bring clippings in and display these in elegant vases in your kitchen and other living areas. Fresh and vibrant foliage adds “pop” to any home and gives your house a warm, inviting look. If you’re short of landscaping options, fresh cut flowers from the florist and potted plants from the home store can fit that need.

6. Kitchens and bathrooms — An out of date kitchen or bathroom can turn off prospective buyers. You may not have the funds to replace or reface cabinets and drawers, but there are two things you can do to brighten things up. The first step is to paint cabinets, choosing a warm, but neutral color. The second step is to replace broken or outdated hardware. All hardware should match, so replace the entire lot if an exact match is not possible.

7. Emphasize strengths — Your home may have one or two weaknesses that can be magnified if you draw attention to them. For example, an unfinished project can turn off buyers, drawing attention away from your home’s many good attributes. Finish painting a room, repair broken tile, replace a malfunctioning ceiling fan, update a lighting fixture and handle any other matters that might distract a buyer.


Once you have rectified the problems in your home, you’re ready to put it on the market. Hire a professional if you need help staging your home — done right, you’ll more than recoup that fee when accept an offer.

Stacey Edwards writes for Environmental Data Resources, an environmental issues company that provides Radius Maps, Historical Aerials, and Sanborn Maps.