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Make sure your home is prepared for a showing.

Showing your home to a prospective buyer is an incredible opportunity to provide that person with a vision for how they’ll live in the home. It is a chance to remove all traces of your own style so that he or she can imagine what it would look like with their personal touches. Key tasks before you begin showing your home for sale include de-cluttering, simplifying your décor, and of course, stain removal. This method of preparing the home for sale is called “staging,” and it is a key aspect of the selling process.

The idea behind staging a home is basically to create an environment that is akin to a blank canvas. Some realtors and professional home stagers even recommend re-painting a room a more neutral color if it is currently a very bold one. The bold colors may not be one your potential buyer likes. You’re going to want to remove anything out of the ordinary and therefore an obstacle to the buyer imagining himself or herself in the home. You may even want to consider storing any custom furniture you have in the home if it is too “out-there.”

The removal of extra pieces of furniture is a trick that realtors use to make rooms look bigger, giving the home an openness that appeals to prospective buyers. It is safe to assume that the potential buyer does not want to take on projects upon moving in, so go through the home and mend or replace anything in need of care. This can include repairing cracked moulding, have the carpet replaced, do whatever you can to create the appearance of true “move-in” condition – eliminating as much work in the home as possible.

Stay away from decorating with anything controversial, such as any sports paraphernalia.. That mounted deer head or political campaign poster will shape a potential buyer’s opinion about your home, possibly in a negative way. Get rid of anything that identifies you, and think neutral about all things.

Take this opportunity to apply fabric protection to your furniture where possible. You will eventually be moving once your house is sold, and this attention to the piece will pay off when you are in the process of moving. You’ll prevent stains during the moving process, leaving you with a clean piece to bring to the new place.

Your ultimate goal when showing your house is to present a clean, inviting, but neutral place that the person can visualize living in. Downplay a room’s negative aspects – if it is typically a dark room lacking in natural light, add lamps and even plants. Plants automatically make us think of sunlight and can make a seem brighter. Accentuate the room’s positive aspects as much as you can, and the sale will go through quicker than you may have thought.