Ready, Set - Stage your Home.

Many people plan to sell their homes during the summer. Before we get much further along in the season, I thought I'd offer some tips on how to stage your home for sale.

Stage Your Home Like A Designer

Clean it up

It's time to toss the junk and clutter. Get rid of the odd stacks and piles of statements and miscellaneous old paperwork, clothes and those things that don't work, you don't need or are out of date. After you declutter and throw away all of the nonessentials, put less-frequently used items such as out-0f-season clothing, holiday decorations, and so on in plastic storage bins. Label the bins and store them in your basement, garage or a closet. This is a good time to donate or sell items that are worth more than a trip to the trash.

Make an Entrance

Impress your guests and potential buyers with a foyer and entry-way that will welcome them. Start with a fresh, new welcome mat, a small table with a lamp or other decorative items. Have snacks such as individual packs of cookies or pretzels, for example, available for your visitors along with a note inviting them to bottled water or other soft-drinks in the refrigerator on the top shelf.

Let There be Light!

Everything shines in natural light. During the day, have your windows open and window treatments in the open position (slats on wood open, shades drawn, curtains tied back).

Bring the Living Room to Life

If you have a focal point in your living room such as a fireplace, interesting windows, a picturesque view or beautiful art, arrange the furniture to focus on that point of interest. Also, group furniture in such a way that conversations and small gatherings seem natural and effortless. Help your potential buyer see and feel how they can use the space when it's their turn to live there.

Keep wires and unsightly cords under control, and be sure that your television isn't the main focus of the room. Soft music playing in the background (jazz or classical) can help buyers feel more at ease and at home when they tour. Fresh flowers add beauty and life to the living room as well.

Clear the Dining Table

Dining rooms show best when they look streamlined. Put away all books and dishes. Have just a bowl of fruit in the center of the table. Keep this area free and clear for buyers who might want to sit with their agent and begin drafting an offer. Give them a space to do just that!

Bare Bathrooms

You never know when a guest might have to use your bathroom. Make it feel less like an invasion of your personal space by removing your clothes, bath towels and robes, putting away your makeup, and so on. Make it instead more like a luxurious spa experience. Have everything clean, perhaps with a scented candle burning, a vase with a single flower (sunflower, rose, lily) or a small and low arrangement of peonies. Fresh hand towels, guest paper napkins or a small grouping of washcloths are a plus.

Go Incognito

Sure you're proud of your diplomas, awards and your photos of you with your friends on an adrenaline-pumping vacation. But these are things best shared with friends and family, not with complete strangers touring your home. Now is a good time to take all personal mementos off your refrigerator, desk and walls. For sure keep your fine art, including artistic photos on the walls, as long as they aren't of you and your family.

Fancy up the Boudoir

Think high-end hotel: If you can fit a small table and two chairs in your bedroom, please do. Buyers want to see that they can sip coffee and enjoy the paper while from the comfort of the bedroom. If you have space for a bit more, say an ottoman, chaise lounge or love seat, include these additions in your bedroom. Make sure the bed is made and that it is positioned as far away from the door as possible. Be sure the headboard is not blocking a window.

A Pat of Paint Will Do

If your home could use a fresh coat of paint, now is the time to bring out your painter's tape and drop cloths. Bring new life to your walls with neutral paint colors. Now you're ready to put your For Sale sign out front. Good luck!