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Do & Absolutely Do NOT: Notes On Staging Your Home

Staging a home for sale seems like a no-brainer: clean up a bit, freshen up some paint, and wait for the offers to roll in, right? Unfortunately, judging by the amount of tragic listing photos we see on a daily basis, the reality isn't so simple. You could be missing some details that are the equivalent of wearing Axe deodorant spray on a first date. In other words, you tried ... just not the right way. The real estate market may be turning a corner, but there's no harm in going the extra mile. You wanna get the heck out of dodge, and here's how to do it.

1. First, get an outside opinion.

When you've lived in a place for a while, you tend to become oblivious to your surroundings. Pick your most brutally honest pal (or mother-in-law), and have them over for an afternoon of the hard truth. Even if it's hard to hear, their critiques could help inch you toward seller success. Also, you've probably seen the SUVs riding around town advertising professional home staging services, but unless you've got a particularly bad case of the uglies you might as well take advantage of some free advice.

2. Cleanliness!

After you've got a game plan, focus on the most important issues. If there's one aspect that trumps all others, it's cleanliness. Not everyone lives like the dad on Full House, but let people imagine you do when they tour your pad. Diagonal vacuum lines are a serious turn-on for just about everyone. Get into the nooks and crannies, and don't forget the non-obvious places like inside drawers. People are bound to be nosy. Another thing: If animals are in the home, be especially conscious of smells. Pookie may be the best dog on earth, but you've got to make it seem like he never existed.

3. Next is the problem of knick knacks.

Visual clutter distracts from a home's real selling points, so minimize the mess as much as possible. It sounds harsh, but the best thing you can do is de-personalize your personal space. Let someone else see themselves sipping tea in the breakfast nook without your extended family in photo form watching over them. We promise you can hang them back up when you're in your new digs. And don't just pile everything in the closets, for obvious reasons.

4. Lastly, rethink your furniture plan.

This is where professional help usually comes in the most handy, but nobody's got time for that! Just keep it simple. If there's a path of traffic awkwardly blocked, do your best to free it up. Contrary to popular belief, pushing everything against the walls won't make a space feel larger. "Floating" furniture just feels better. Another thing to consider is moving things around the house into places you've never had them. That retro armchair looks great next to fireplace, but maybe you could form a cute vignette with it in the master bedroom.

After all's said and done, you might not want to leave the place after all ...

— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Jonathan Carnright