So you’ve found your dream home. You’re ready to downsize or expand into a larger home and the only thing that’s keeping you from closing the deal is selling your current home.

Proper staging is one of the most important steps you can take to make a quick sale at the maximum price.

“Statistics repeatedly show that staged homes sell faster and for more money than homes without staging,” said Kyley Christy, an agent with Andrew Arroyo Real Estate in California.

According to the 2017 study, 29 percent of sellers’ agents said staging increases the selling price from 1 to 5 percent, while 21 percent of those surveyed said the increase is between 6 and 10 percent. More than a third of the respondents also said that staging greatly reduces the amount of time a home is on the market.

Staging your home means transforming it into a space buyers can relate to and see themselves living in. To do that, you’ll need to get rid of the clutter.

If the bathroom counter is covered with an array of makeup and toiletries and the kitchen counter is home to the coffee maker and microwave, it sends a message that the house doesn’t have enough space for everything. It also detracts from architectural features. You will also need to get rid of the family photos. Displaying a picture of your favorite aunt in her muumuu will not make potential buyers feel like it could be their home.

And because homes also need to look their best in photos and videos for today’s internet marketing, more and more sellers are turning to professional stagers to set the right tone for their home.

“If a seller is reluctant to stage, I ask them to consider the next step should they list their home without staging and fail to receive an offer in a timely manner,” Christy said. “If not prepared properly upfront, sellers won’t know if the issue is the price or if the home just doesn’t show well. By that time, they’ve missed their highest traffic/exposure window.

“Buyers can see how many days you’ve been on the market, and they wonder what’s wrong with the home. It’s so much better to take the time — and a little bit of money up front, if necessary — to stage the home for success, blast out a huge marketing campaign to show off the results and wait for the offers to roll in.”

Most homes can be staged for about $2,500 to $3,000, according to Christy. That’s less than the first price reduction homeowners will consider if their house is still on the market after 30 days.

Sellers should concentrate on staging only the public rooms and the master bedroom. According to the NAR survey, buyers’ agents believed the living room was the most important room to be staged. That was followed by the master bedroom and the kitchen.

Of course, it’s also necessary to give the home a deep cleaning and to make minor repairs, such as replacing corroded faucet rings in the bathrooms, filling in the chipped grout on the kitchen tile and painting dingy walls. After that, often all that’s needed for a fresh look is a new furniture arrangement and a few key accessories.

“I can’t tell you how many sellers joke that they are rethinking the sale after seeing the finished product, because it looks like the model home they always dreamed it could be,” Christy said.

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