When it's time to sell, you might be worried about the market value of your home -- what you can expect to get for it. Even in a brisk seller's market, most sellers are concerned about pricing, timing, closing, and buying another home. It's only natural that you'll have these worries. What if you can't find something they like as much, at a price you can afford? What if the market cools before you list? 

Staging your home doesn't have to be on your list of problem concerns. Having a plan is what will give you peace of mind and make the staging process go smoothly.     

First step

Before you make any decisions, hire a real estate agent. I am not a fan of the FSBO approach, even though today's technology makes it seem easier than ever. Since a home usually represents your largest financial investment, it strikes me as foolish not to enlist the advice and assistance of a professional. Realtors are trained in the time-sensitive legalities and professional salesmanship of selling a property. 

Sellers often balk at the commission Realtors make. If you calculate the time you will spend marketing your home, the skills you'll need to learn, and the chance that your home will take longer to sell and possibly at a lower price than you could negotiate, I feel strongly that a good Realtor earns her money!  

I've blogged about how to choose a Realtor, what not to do when hiring your Realtor, and how to help your listing agent sell your home. 

Photo: Kara Hebert via Decorpad

Give yourself a budget

The adage "It takes money to make money," is as true when it's time to sell your home as it is when you manage any business. It's going to be more cost-effective for you to do repairs before listing than it is to grant a discount to sellers who, for example, complain that the carpeting is worn or that the bath sink is cracked or that the fence is falling over. 

Take care of the problems that will be stumbling blocks for most buyers, but do your research about what repairs and upgrades give you a good return on your money. You need to base these decisions on what real estate buyers in your market expect. 

The best of the ROI projects are painting, new light fixtures, window and door replacement, landscaping, and minor remodels of the kitchen or baths. Choose only the projects that are necessary, taking the advice of that Realtor you hired!  

Make the necessary repairs after you get a home inspection, 
so you can avoid stalls in the negotiations and having to  
grant price reductions to buyers. Photo: Kera Hebert

Minimize belongings

Unless you have already scaled down considerably or are a true minimalist, you are bound to benefit from having an off-site storage space. For some, using grandma's garage or mom's attic is a possibility, but factor in your decision the importance of climate control. You don't want anything ruined by mildew or mold. High temperatures and humidity can warp wood and ruin leather furniture

Decide what stays and what goes. It's just temporary. Ideally, your closets will be half full, and off-season bedding, clothing, landscaping equipment and sports paraphernalia can be kept elsewhere to make your home show off its spaciousness.

Choose the best pieces of furniture and store the non-essential or least impressive pieces. This move will help create the look of quality and openness. You can learn how to arrange your furniture the best way from my eBook, How to Arrange Furniture Using What You Have. It's written especially for people prepping their home for sale! 

Aim for a spotless home

After decluttering and minimizing what's essential to living in your home while it is listed, it's time to do a deep clean. You might consider hiring a one-time visit by a  professional cleaning service. If this seems like a luxury, consider how impressive a clean home feels, looks, and even how it smells. 

A clean interior is a major selling point, and can often
compensate for minor deficiencies. Photo: Kara Herbert

Get the look, get the book

If you have a home on the market or are getting ready to sell, why not take advantage of my years of experience buying and selling homes for profit? Don't leave here before downloading my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast For Top Dollar