Why it’s all the rage to stage

This is the kind of internal dialogue you want buyers to have when they walk through your home. When listing a home, a seller should do everything possible to help buyers see themselves actually living in the house. One of the best ways to encourage this vision is through staging your house.

Seventy-one percent of sellers’ agents believe a well-staged environment increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer, according to the National Association of REALTORS® “2015 Profile of Home Staging.”

While staging isn’t guaranteed to get you more money, it is an important marketing tool to help you compete at the right price, which means you can sell faster, according to a study from the Real Estate Staging Association.

Don’t stop at simply cleaning your home and fluffing your pillows. You need to declutter; remove items that are unique to your family and make updates wherever possible. That cozy afghan grandma made for you in 1981? Yes, fold it and put it in the closet. And speaking of closets, buyers open them up, so make sure they are well-organized, too. No one wants to envision themselves living in a messy or cluttered home.

Here are a few tips to help you stage and beautify your home for sale:

LIVING ROOM

  • Use fashionable pillows and chic table lamps to decorate. Arrange them in a symmetrical manner.
  • Use light and airy staging furniture or place light-colored slip covers over sofas.
  • Remove at least one piece of furniture from your living room to make it feel more spacious.
  • Arrange furniture in conversational groupings; leave out a bowl of fruit and few nice coffee table books.

KITCHEN

  • Place nothing on your counter except one or two decorative items, such as a vase of flowers or fresh fruit.
  • Freshen up and modernize cabinets with a fresh coat of paint or stain.
  • Clean or replace appliances. The Real Estate Staging Association strongly recommends stainless steel. Tip: You can get the look of stainless for the cost of a cheap dinner with stainless films.
  • Remove all refrigerator magnets, and clean inside and out.

BEDROOMS

  • Use neutral colors. This is not the place to showcase your unique tastes and personality. Think clean, neutral and modern.
  • Pack up most of your clothing to make your closets look larger.
  • Put jewelry and other valuables in a safe spot.
  • Remove televisions or video game consoles to depersonalize and create a serene setting.

DINING ROOM

  • Set out some chic place settings around the table, or a few wine glasses and a decanter on the buffet.
  • Strike a balance between overly formal and too casual with an attractive runner and a few decorative elements — think small floral vases or short candle holders.

BATHROOMS

  • Spend extra time scrubbing tile grout and re-caulk around the tub if necessary.
  • Remove clutter from the countertop, tub and top of toilet.
  • Pack up and hide all your personal products.
  • Create a luxury spa look with a fancy soap dispenser, fluffy white towels and decorative baskets.