By Debbe Daley

You've decided to put your home on the market. Have you considered everything that needs to be addressed before you call your realtor? There's so much hype today in regards to staging your home for sale. Does it work? Is it worth the investment?

Skepticism is normal, however, staging really does work when properly achieved. National statistics show that the guideline for investing in staging should be at least one percent of the sale price of the home. Staging is an investment opportunity, gaining a higher selling price and resulting in fewer days on the market. Once the decision is made to sell your property, you must now look at your home as a commodity. This is not your personal living space any more, and unlike decorating your home with your personality, you must now depersonalize and neutralize. Remember, less is more!

Begin with the exterior of your home. First impressions are everything. If potential buyers like what they see, they'll want to look inside. Curb appeal is the first and foremost critical step in enticing buyers to want to look inside. Clean up your yard, freshen up those plantings and mulch, and paint the front door with a nice contrasting color from the body of the house. Add potted plants to the front entry way. Add a welcoming wreath to the front door.

Interior rooms with deep, saturated paint colors should be changed to warm but neutral.


Potential buyers want to envision their own personal belongings in the home -- this is difficult with customized color choices from the seller.

The entryway of a home is crucial. Remove shoes from the doorway, along with any papers, clutter and coats. Clean, dust and wash the floors. Add an entry hall table (if space allows) with some fresh flowers, a candle and a mirror over the table. This makes for a warm welcoming and inviting space during a showing. Remove unnecessary furnishings in a room, as well as area rugs to expose the wood floors. This will also make the space look larger. Too many books in a bookcase may appear as clutter and distract from the rooms total appearance. Dress shelves with interesting items combined with book groupings.

The kitchen is a key room to be staged. Remove all countertop appliances. Assess for kitchen smells and odors. This is very unappealing when people are walking through the home. Make sure your kitchen is spotless and uncluttered.

Although you are depersonalizing your home, the goal is to keep it warm, cozy and inviting. Welcoming potential buyers to see themselves living in your home -- this is the main goal. Your personal items can be packed away for use in your next home. Remember, you are merchandising your home for sale.

For the small investment it takes to stage you home, it is well worth the return in the long run. Home sale competition is tough. Investing in staging your home is a proven advantage for a quicker sale.

Debbe Daley, owner of Debbe Daley Designs, is an interior designer with more than 25 years of experience as a professional interior redesigner, stylist, stager, trainer and project manager. Follow her blog at