Selling your house? Have you hired a home stager?

Earlier today, I took my four-year-old to her preschool picnic, one that they hold every year after the last day of school and right before the summer begins. And as I stood there, underneath a canopy of blue sky, watching mostly three and four-year-olds dashing about, scampering on playground equipment and burying each other in the sandbox, I began talking to the mother of one of my daughter's classmates.

Not long after we began talking, I learned that she is a home stager.

I find it both exhilarating and a little frightening that I can go through life perfectly happy and then one day discover that there's yet another profession I had no previous knowledge of. I'm just thankful I'm very happy in my chosen profession of freelance writer. I'm sure I'd be crafting a stern letter to my high school guidance counselor right now if I had left the picnic in a funk, thinking that home staging should have been my calling.

Although that would be a little unfair to my guidance counselor, who couldn't know what she didn't know. According to Wikipedia, home staging didn't really come into its own as a profession until the 1990s, when I was well out of high school.

And so in case any of you out there are like me and have no idea what a home stager is, let me enlighten you. They are the professionals who prepare a house for its close up when it's on the real estate market. In other words, if you're going to sell your house, the idea is that you really should have a home stager involved first. It's that home stager, even more than a realtor, that can really set the mood for the buyer by decorating the house with a certain "buy me, live here" flair.