Staging Dos and Don'ts From Bridget Savereux

The Stagers' host shares her top 5 dos and top 5 don'ts for staging a home.

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A fresh coat of neutral paint and other neutral pieces like the cream sofas, dark-wood furniture and accessories work together to stage this room in a classic yet contemporary way.

Top 5 Dos

Spruce up your curb appeal. Potential buyers judge your home before they even enter it. Make this first impression count. Plant flowers, mow the lawn, put out a welcome mat and make small repairs that you have been putting off.

Clean, clean, clean. This simple tip is essential. Dust, vacuum, clean the windows and mop the floors. Make sure there are no odd odors floating around or major stains on the carpet or furniture. Do like your mother said and make your bed.

Declutter. Get rid of any superfluous items that detract from the rooms. Hide figurines; throw out or recycle junk mail, newspapers and magazines; file disheveled papers; and put clothes, shoes and the like out of sight.

Neutralize. Potential buyers need to imagine themselves living in your home. Make it easy for them by removing all personal items such as family pictures and/or religious statues. Also, get rid of any loud paint colors, offensive wall coverings or in-your-face accessories.

Remove all big clunky furniture. Oversize couches, chairs or coffee tables have to go. If you cannot replace them with smaller pieces, get rid of as much as you can — less is more.

Top 5 Don'ts.

Don't take it personally. As soon as you decide to make the commitment to sell your home, you need to think of it as a product, one that you want to sell fast and for top dollar. Don't take buyers' remarks personally. Instead, think of it as free advice on how to make your product live up to its highest potential. Emotionally detach yourself.

Don't do major renovations. Finishes and fixtures that you see as beautiful may not suit every buyer's tastes. It is best to limit the amount of time and investment you make on renovations to the essentials — replace old flooring, tackle small repairs, paint, change outdated fixtures. Save your renovation energy and dollars for your new home.

Don't think the house will sell itself. The real estate market is a game. You need to make your home the most appealing product on the block. Declutter, clean, do small repairs, repaint and, in general, make it feel fresh and welcoming.

The furniture in this room is too large and there's too much of it. Instead of replacing the pieces, it's a good idea to consider rearranging or even removing some of them.

Don't run out and purchase all new furniture. Chances are the furniture you have is not the reason your space is not selling. You may just have too much of it in one area. Or perhaps it needs to be cleaned or just neutralized with a simple throw. Remove before you completely redo.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Call in a professional stager, whether they just spend a few hours giving you some helpful tips or they come in to completely redecorate your entire space. It is money well spent and will eventually end up back in your pocket when you sell your home for top dollar.

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