Realtors' top tips on staging your home to sell

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If you're looking to sell your house in this economy, you can't afford to give buyers any reason to pick one of the record number of other houses on the market over yours.

One way to make your home stand out is staging -- that is, de-cluttering, de-personalizing, and redecorating your home for the maximum appeal to the maximum number of home buyers. But the problem is that hiring a professional to stage your home can be expensive, prohibitively so if the tanking market has blown through a good chunk of your net worth.

Realtor magazine put together a list of staging tips from its members, and they're great because you can put them into practice yourself. Incidentally, many of them are just plain good housekeeping tips, even if your home isn't for sale. Here are a few of the best ones:
  • "Be sure that the living room furniture is positioned for conversation as well as entertainment. Potential buyers should be able to easily envision sitting in a space where they can easily talk without having to move a chair or turn completely around." -Rana Lindhorst and Troy Schmidt, Prudential One Realty Centre, Edwardsville, Ill.

  • "I have a great way to add a bed to a vacant bedroom. I arrange moving boxes into the shape of a bed, and then I dress it up with nice bedding. It takes about half an hour and it's really inexpensive." -Kria Lacher, Meadows Group Inc., Realtors®, Portland, Ore.

  • "Replace the light bulbs in the home with higher wattage bulbs. Buyers like 'light and bright,' and the brighter light bulbs make all the difference in the world. Inexpensive and easy!" -Ann Bishop, Ann & Denny Bishop Group, Realtors®, Wichita Falls, Texas

  • "I have two things that I do when staging a home. First, a wreath on the front door (that I make). The wreath stays with the house for the new owners. Second, I hang a black nightgown on the master bathroom door. The buyer (husband) always remembers that house!" -Cissy Snyder, Svetlik Real Estate, Sumter, S.C.

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