Preparing your home for sale in today’s market can sometimes be a daunting task! There is so much to take care of beforehand — getting paperwork squared away with Realtors, the pre-inspections, packing and moving, repairing or replacing anything broken or faulty, and of course, there’s the job of transforming your house to appeal to a wider pool of buyers by hiring cleaners, gardeners, contractors, and stagers!

Today’s buyers want move-in ready homes: spotless and immaculate, as well as a stylish look that fits today’s home design trends. It is difficult to sell homes that look outdated and cluttered, especially when modern design and technology play a crucial role in selling homes. Home staging, home cosmetic updating, and home makeovers for both vacant and owner-occupied homes are popular services and highly effective in getting your home sold. It is now the “norm” to hire home stagers as an additional marketing tool.

Today’s reality is that people have a much different lifestyle than 10 to 15 years ago. Buyers are more technology-oriented and have adopted more of a clutter-free, minimalistic lifestyle, plus they do not want to deal with the hassle of renovating a home.

Proper staging helps to keep furniture and decor in a perfect balance, so that the house doesn’t feel overwhelming. There is value added when a house is staged. According to the National Association of Realtors, 77 percent of real-estate agents say that staging makes it easier for buyers to “visualize” the house as their future house, with the living room being the most popular room staged, followed by the kitchen and master bedroom.

And did you know that there is a science behind home staging? There is a lesser known but vital aspect called buyer psychology. There is a reason behind the staging: to help give buyers that emotional connection they are seeking that will make them fall in love with the home. By correctly placing furniture and decor to maximize the house’s best features, buyers are captivated and swooned by the “lifestyle” in the home that they want.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you get your house ready for the market:

• Declutter and depersonalize the entire house. Be ruthless! This cannot be stressed enough. Personal names, items, and photos should not be visible during open houses and showings. With most things being online, the MLS pictures and house addresses are out in the public domain, and you will want to protect your privacy a bit more. 93 percent of agents and 100 percent of stagers always recommend decluttering to clients before listing a house for sale!

• Remember, buyers are about themselves and what they want — how they view themselves living there, not to admire your “stuff.” It is hard for them to fall in love with the house if your personal things are everywhere. Think of your house as a temporary place to live once you have decided to list your property.

• Tidy up garages, closets, pantries, and kitchen/bathroom drawers as well. Don’t leave anything out that you don’t want people to see.

• Pack away non-essentials immediately. Put them into a storage space or garage — things you won’t need for three to six months, such as family photo albums and keepsakes, holiday decorations, odds-and-ends collections, seasonal clothing, and such. Only keep what you need until the time comes to move out.

• Adopt the tried and true adage: when in doubt, less is more!

Elisa and Brandon Macomber are the owners of Showhomes of Santa Fe, a home staging company. For more information, contact them at




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