The way you live in a home and the way you sell it are two different things, says home-staging guru Barb Schwarz in her book "Home Staging: The Winning Way to Sell Your House for More Money." Here are some home-staging tips to share with clients who are readying their homes for sale:
Staging is not decorating. Decorating is personalizing a space, where staging is "depersonalizing" it. Staging is not about displaying a favorite color rug or ruffles someone loves. It's about selling the house. Remember, if your clients are showing a messy house, they're throwing away money.
If you can smell it, you can't sell it. Make sure your clients do a sniff test and understand that odors they might be used to have to be eliminated. It's a sensitive subject, so handle it with tact.
Clutter equates to stress. One of the biggest challenges to home staging is clutter. Remember, it's just as important for your clients to get rid of excess "stuff" as it is to clean their house. Tell your clients that clutter interferes with potential homebuyers' ability to mentally move into the house. They can't imagine their own furniture in a room if it's cluttered.
Consider painting the interior of the house. Your clients might like the navy blue walls and wacky flower-print wallpaper, but homebuyers want the house to have a cohesive, simple color scheme. Drastic color changes from room to room can actually startle potential homebuyers.