You have decided the time has come to put your home on the market and have read the articles, watched enough HGTV, and gotten some advice to know that "Staging" can be the name of the game for a quick sale. Here are 5 great simple ideas to consider when trying to make your home look its best:

1. ORGANIZE! There are lots of busy areas in a home - kitchen, playroom, etc. One great tip is to buy a large plastic bin and label it. When the time comes for a showing, clear each of these areas into the bin and neatly stack them in a storage area or basement. This way you can declutter easily and put things back where they belong after potential buyers have gone.

2. PAINT! A fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost effective ways to update an area and give it a cleaner look. It may take a little work to move furniture, etc. but it is proven to be one of the best returns on investment when getting a home ready to sell. Lighter colors make rooms look bigger - and while you're at it - try Low VOC paint - it's an eco-selling point and costs the same as regular paint in many brands.

3. BRING THE OUTSIDE IN! Embrace something unique about your community. If you live near the water, bring some of it inside to really emphasize one of the main selling points of the home. For example, put simple starfish in the windows. If you live in a large city, a vintage map could do the trick. Have a flower garden? Cut a few and put them in a simple vase. These small touches can make a big difference!

4. THINK ABOUT FIRST IMPRESSIONS! Wherever someone enters the home, make sure the area looks perfect! All lines of sight from the front door should be clear of clutter. Also, take the time to get your yard in order or the building lobby in a condo building (if someone just went in the elevator with a bag of garbage, spray a little air freshener or take it upon yourself to clean up even if it wasn't your mess). Just like meeting people, first impressions matter!

5. DEPERSONALIZE! Staging is not necessarily about decorating, it is about creating an environment where potential buyers can envision themselves living without having to do too much imagining away of your personal things (and photos). Take the time to neutralize your home and develop it into a space that people can see themselves moving right in! A home that looks clear of clutter gives the impression that they can live that way too.

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