Want to know how to stage your home for a sale? Get rid of CLUTTER!

That is the biggest problem with homes that are for sale. As a someone who has built and renovated before, and has had to sell homes, or go and look at homes to buy, I am amazed how many people keep all their stuff in the house.

The first thing you have to do, is separate your feelings for this home. This may sound mean and cruel, especially if you have lived in it for a very long time, raised your kids, and have lots and lots of good memories. But at the end of the day, this is a business transaction.

You have to treat selling your home as a business, it is no longer a "home" but a "house" that you are selling, and want to get the highest dollar for.

To stage your home for a sale, you have to bring someone else in, especially if you don't know where to start. Before you even consider listing, bring in the agent you are planning to list with, or if you are in a high priced neighborhood, there are people who "stage a home for sale" for a living.

But you can do this yourself.

1. You are planning on moving right? Then get the process started, have faith that your house will sell, and get yourself lots of boxes, and rent a storage unit. Do NOT jam everything into the garage or basement of your present house. This gives the impression of no storage. So, start packing now. Pack all those trinkets, excess books on the shelves, all those family pictures on the wall and on the mantle or shelves.

Go through each room and take away clutter, and trinkets, and pack them up. Get them out of the house and to the storage unit, this includes the garage and sheds.

2. Go through all your closets, and get yourself 3 boxes. One for keepers, one for garbage and one to donate. Be ruthless, because you will be having to pay to have these items moved when you move out, is it worth the moving cost? Ask yourself that question when you are considering keeping those jeans you have not worn since 1974!

This is the perfect time to be ruthless, this way you will start fresh in your new place. Go under the beds, and hallways, and any closets. Taper it down to just a few items you will need. Then give all the closets a good clean, and fix any broken shelves, and even paint the inside of the closets for a fresh and updated and clean look.

3. Fix any holes in the walls from all the pictures you had hanging, and then give your main rooms (kitchen and living room and entrance way) a fresh coat of paint, if it has not been done in a long time. Don't forget to clean and/or paint the baseboards and window trim. Stick to neutral shades, these are calming.

4. Remember staging your home is a business, and it takes work, but it can make the difference of thousands of dollars when it comes to offers. So, take this seriously.

Get a steam cleaner, or hire a service to clean all the carpets if you have carpet, and/or give the hardwood a good shine, or if it is sad looking, invest the money in getting it sanded and redone. You can do this yourself, but if you have a lot of hardwood, then this is a great money maker, as long as it looks freshly done. A potential homeowner, will see that they will not have to do the hardwood floors when they move in, and this is a big issue. You can get your money back on the offer from redoing your hardwood floors. It will pay for itself.

5. Get rid of your dowdy furniture. Either take it to your storage unit, or put slip covers on it, or something to freshen it up. If all your furniture is in sad shape and you were planning on treating yourself to new furniture but not this minute, then it may be worth investing in "renting furniture" to stage your home for sale. A representative from the company will help you pick the right furniture for your house, they will bring it, set it up, and remove it.

6. Clean like you have never cleaned before! Shine anything that is meant to be shiny and scrub the kitchen. If this is too much for you to do, then hire someone. Clean all the windows too, and make sure the appliances, especially the stove and oven are clean if they are to be included in the sale. Even if they are not, you want to give the buyers the impression of a clean kitchen!

7. Curb appeal. Want to know how to stage your home for sale? Start by cutting the grass, and getting rid of those weeds, and kids bikes and whirly gigs on the front lawn. You want clean edges, and simplicity on the front yard. You don't need all those "lawn decorations and gnomes" pack them away. Get rid of old cars, parts, tires, anything that can give the house a messy look. You may have been used to looking at them, but new people will find outside clutter offensive, and will feel that you don't take care of your place and may not even go in the front door.

8. Paint the front door, and garage door. Or replace them if they are dingy. Depending on the time of year, you can have some simple pots of flowers on the front porch and a nice inviting chair. If your house numbers are hanging by a thread, fix them, if your mail box has duct tape on it, get a new one!

9. By having someone else with you, they will notice things that you don't. Have a clip board handy, and allow a good couple of weeks to get this work done. You don't want to be painting into the wee hours the night before that first open house. You need the jobs done right.

10. This could cost you a fair bit of money depending on how many jobs need doing, but this could gain you thousands in the sale. Make sure your kitchen is free of all those small appliances. You only need the toaster out, and maybe the kettle, and if you could find a spot for them, then that would even be better. I personally cleaned out a deep drawer I used for Tupperware and plastic containers. I packed them and then kept all my small appliances in there while the house was for sale. By having a clean and clutter free counter your kitchen shows much better and looks bigger. I mean, none of us live that way, but we have to stage it like we do! I thought it would be hard to live this way, but actually once all the clutter was cleaned out of the house, it was much easier to keep clean for those "last minute lookers".

It doesn't take much to put off buyers. A color that is too bright, or a few broken things and they get put off. I personally look beyond that when we are looking for a house, but then we look at them for the potential of renovation and therefore will offer low.

But you may be thinking "instead of spending $5000.00 dollars on getting this house up to speed for a sale, why not just ask $5000.00 dollars less? It doesn't work that way, you totally lose a good percentage of your potential market.

Depending on the price range your house is in, many people do not want to be faced with ANY work when they move in. If the house down the street costs a bit more, but it was already painted a nice neutral color, or the front door got painted, then will be more inclined to buy that.

One potential buyer for our house, told me, that when they get pre-approved for a mortgage, they don't have the room to be adding money in their for "fix ups". Many just want it "move in ready" and maybe think about painting or personalizing it in a year or two. My agent told me, you can lose over 1/2 the potential market, and therefore limit any good offers, by NOT staging your home properly and doing repairs.

If you have to sell now, and don't have time for all of this staging, then at least pack up the clutter, and extra books you have sideways on the bookshelves, and clean and clean and clean. Make your house look as spacious as possible, and then pocket the money from staging your house.