If you want to sell your home quickly and want to yield the highest and best price possible in a given market, my advice (besides pricing the property correctly from day one) is to always have your home professionally staged prior to going on the market.
I have professional stagers stage each of my listings and the sales results speak for themselves. Of the top agents in Santa Cruz County I have been fortunate to hold the record for shortest days on market the past couple years. A key component to short days on the market is the amazing work done by my staging team - Yolanda Slattery & Joanne Cureton. A home must look warm and inviting to sell and a vacant or cluttered home does not look inviting. Home buyers cannot visualize how wonderful a vacant or cluttered home can look and when there are personal items decorating a home a buyer cannot visualize the home as their own. The home must be arranged in a way that emphasizes the size of the rooms and highlights the strongest features of a home. If a homeowner is living in a home that I have listed, my stagers consult the sellers by viewing the home and providing a list of items that are suggested to be removed from every room. Once these items are packed away the stagers return to the site to perform their magical art of placement with the remaining furniture and decor in the home. Home owners often resist the staging idea but once the staging is done, 100% of the time my home sellers are hugging my stagers and thanking them for showcasing their home so beautifully.
Many times I see homes in Santa Cruz County go on the market unstaged. Often they are on the market for many months with the homeowner wondering why no offers. Sometimes these homes are later staged by a professional and then sell quickly but by then they are "old listings" and as such yield a much lower price than they would have had they been presented property from the onset. Another critical component to the success of the sale is professional photography. After all, it is the photographs that make home buyers want to view a home and the photographs can look ten times more beautiful and impactful with the vital combination of professional staging and professional photography.
Remember... the first few weeks are your opportunity to sell the home for the highest price with the best terms so get it staged, get it professionally photographed and price it right for success.