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When you’re ready to sell your home, staging—preparing your home for viewings—is a vital step. According to the National Association of Realtors, 81% of homebuyers say it is easier to visualize a property as a future home if it is staged. These tips and tricks will help make your house a standout.

1. Declutter—and De-Furniture Buyers want to see open, airy spaces. Remove unnecessary items like magazines or stray toys from every room (you might consider renting a storage locker), and remember that too much furniture can also make a home appear small. Perform a purge in hidden spaces, like closets and cupboards. Hanging a few jackets or stacking objects on a shelf gives the impression that an enclosed space is much larger.

Did You Know?

The average amount spent on staging a home (as of 2015) was $675.

2. Don’t Neglect the Outside A well-groomed exterior will give buyers a great impression before they enter. Pressure wash sidewalks, tidy up the landscaping, lay out a new welcome mat, and outfit the front porch and backyard with inviting chairs and potted plants.

3. Tone Down Walls Overly bright paint jobs might be a turnoff. Stick to neutral hues on the walls like tan, honey, mocha or a very soft blue-green. Bring in color with decorative elements, such as pillows, vases and artwork.

4. Update the Kitchen A dated kitchen can spell disaster for a seller. But you don’t necessarily have to renovate it to sell the house. New hardware or a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets can do the trick.

Tip
For more on DIY kitchen updates, click here.

5. Bathroom or Spa? Before a showing, stage your bathroom to look like an inviting spa—tuck away toothbrushes, toothpaste and other products, place rolled white towels on the counter, and decorate with (unlit) candles and green plants.

6. Pet Control You love Fido, but buyers may not. Steam clean carpets and furniture to eliminate pet stains and odors. Before a showing, store things like crates, pet dishes, litter boxes and bones.

7. Your Home, Not Ours Help potential buyers see the space as theirs. Swap out personal photos for landscape imagery or artwork. You may also want to remove items that are kid-specific to avoid alienating buyers who are in a different stage of life. Take kids’ drawings off the refrigerator and update paint in kids’ bedrooms with neutral colors.