As featured in The Columbian, Sunday 11/11/2018.

We have had a stellar year in real estate here in Clark County WA, but as the weather cools down, traditionally the market will follow. What does that mean for the homeowner contemplating selling their home? It means they might have to work a little bit harder to attract buyers and get top dollar.

This month, I’m going to share some practical home staging tips that you can implement on your own to showcase your home’s best features and bring in the buyers.

Before you think about staging your home, start with a thorough decluttering and deep clean. That is a nonnegotiable starting point! If you’re selling your home, then you’re obviously moving. Moving means packing, so start now. Pack away your personal photos, travel souvenirs and family heirlooms. We don’t want anything to distract the buyer from seeing the great features of the home, so be very literal in the application of the “less is more” rule.

Pay attention to furniture placement. An empty room can sometimes appear smaller, contrary to what you might think. Without any furniture in the room, there’s no base of reference for size. The experts also advise placing the tallest piece of furniture away from the entry to the room. This makes the room appear larger, whereas large items right at the entryway will make the room feel crowded.

Accentuate the positive. Make sure you highlight the best features of the home. For example, consider an accent table with a decorative vase of flowers near the window to bring attention in that direction, or an artistic planter near the fireplace to draw the eye to that focal point.

Create conversation areas. Prospective buyers want to imagine themselves entertaining in their new home. (That’s why you rarely see televisions in professionally staged homes!) Arrange the room like you would for a cocktail party, with small groupings of furniture designed to facilitate a cozy conversation.

Minimize the clutter in the master. Unless you have a huge master bedroom, consider ditching your dresser and other furniture. Create an open and inviting space with a well-dressed bed flanked by lamps on nightstands. Anything else is “extra” and will just make the space feel busy instead of restful.

Let the light in. The more natural light you can let in, the better. Make sure windows are clean and avoid any fussy window treatments. Even if you really enjoy those blackout drapes, for staging purposes replace them with something light, maybe even gauzy. In a room that does not get great natural light, add floor lamps, table lamps and sconces to brighten things up.

When the house is decluttered, cleaned and staged, the last step to bringing in the buyers is good quality listing photos. This is not a place to skimp. The majority of potential buyers will be seeing your home online before visiting it, so those photos are your first impression. Make it a great one!

Looking for some staging examples? Check out my new website BeautifulHomesVancouver.com for a full gallery of staging photographs, or find us on Facebook.com/BeautifulHomesVancouver and Instagram.com/BeautifulHomesVancouver.