When I work with sellers I pay for a professional home stager to maximize the home's appeal. Homes that are staged sell far more quickly and for a higher price (according to NAR statistics) than homes that aren't staged. I've seen it happen in my own subdivision - The Estates of Forest Creek North in Plano Texas. A beautiful home was on the market for 6 months, if I remember correctly. During that time I had sold a very similar home, 4 doors away, in about 10 days for full price. The difference was in the condition and the presentation of the homes. The one that sold quickly was decorated beautifully and staged by the homeowner - she has a real talent for home staging - it looked better than a builder's model. House number 2 was the same size, age, almost the same floorplan, built by the same builder but it stuck on the market. The problem was in the presentation - the walls were painted in builder's white paint, some areas needed repainting. The carpet had been replaced in a couple of rooms but that just made the old carpet look worse. There were pretty furnishings throughout but they made no impact. The home was furnished and decorated for the owners' lifestyle but buyers lack the imagination to see the potential. I took over the listing and hired a professional home stager - we spent an afternoon moving furniture and accessories all over the house (my husband and son helped - it was very heavy work). The owners also agreed to replace the older carpet and we were able to find a style and color that matched the already replaced carpet. We recommend a company that allows you to defer payments on the carpet until closing (if you qualify) so there are no out of pocket expenses for the homeowner. The house looked great and we sold it two weeks later - of course it was for less than the one down the street but the house had been on the market for so long that no-one was prepared to pay a premium price for it. The moral is: "You only get one chance to make a first impression". If you want to sell your house for the highest price it has to have the "Wow!" factor the first day it's on the market.
So why am I not hiring our stager to stage my home before it goes on the market? I'm hoping that I've learned enough from working with her to be able to create that "Wow!" - we'll see!