Jim Sheridan | Burlington Real Estate, Billerica Real Estate, Reading Real Estate


Creating curb appeal is an essential ingredient to attracting potential buyers to a house for sale. Similar to the concept of "dressing for success," when you make a strong first impression, your chances for producing positive results are greatly enhanced.

Looking good from the outside is the first step to capturing people's interest, but that's only the first of several hurdles that you have to clear. The last thing you want to do as a home seller is disappoint prospective buyers when they start looking around inside. That's why it's important to start strong and finish strong! While that may be easier said than done, it's a principle of success you can't afford to ignore.

Once you put your house on the market, there are two factors that could potentially work against you: the elements of time and competition.

  • Time is of the essence: Time can either be your friend or your adversary, depending on how long your house has been on the market. When house hunters see the words "just listed," it creates a feeling of excitement and urgency. For many eager home buyers, those two words mean there's a fresh opportunity to discover the house of their dreams... or at least a reasonable facsimile! It's especially enticing to frustrated buyers who have already looked at a lot of homes, without having found the right one yet. When a new house is listed and put on the market, couples will be thinking and saying "Maybe this house will be the one!" Your challenge as a home seller is to do everything possible and cost-effective to live up to their expectations! An important factor to keep in mind is that the longer a house is on the market, the less appealing it generally is to prospective buyers. Once a house has been languishing on the market for more than a couple months or so, it also puts the sellers at a negotiating disadvantage.
  • Competition is a fact of life: Buying a house is weighty decision. No one takes it lightly, and few buyers are going to make an offer on a house if they haven't looked at several others, too. Well-organized house hunters will have wish lists, "must have" requirements, and detailed notes and recollections about how each house stacks up. So it's important to work with your real estate agent to present your home in its best possible light. When your home compares favorably to other similar properties on market, your chances of getting it sold within a reasonable period of time are greatly improved.
Maintaining an appealing exterior will help give you an inside track in the competitive real estate market, but making sure your property is in good shape from top to bottom will often be the deciding factor in how soon you get to the finish line!

Sellers who are eager to attract serious buyers and maximize the value of their home often utilize home staging as a way to leave a good impression.

Homes that are skillfully staged look better in photos online, creating more leads, showings, and ultimately, offers. Furthermore, prospective buyers want to be able to envision themselves living in a home. Staging makes it easier for them to understand what it would look like and how spacious it will feel once it has been furnished.

Home staging by the numbers

You don’t, however, have to take my word for it. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases an annual report which collects and analyzes survey data from nearly 2,000 agents regarding their experience with home staging.

In their findings, they note that 62 percent of agents agree that staging a home lessens the time the property is for sale. Furthermore, 77 percent of agents said home staging makes it easier to visualize living in a home that would otherwise be empty.

Which rooms should be staged?

Staging an entire home takes an enormous amount of time and money. One way to simplify the process is to stage a select few rooms. In the NAR’s study, they asked agents which rooms they typically staged when selling a home. The results:

  • 83% Living Room

  • 76% Kitchen

  • 69% Master Bedroom

  • 66% Dining Room

  • 53% Bathroom

  • 31% Yard Space

  • 25% Children’s Bedroom

  • 21% Guest Bedroom

From these results, we can ascertain that it’s important to stage the main rooms of your home. Lesser used a multi-purpose rooms (like offices and guest rooms) aren’t as important to stage.

Can staging your home increase the sale price?

It’s difficult to say with certainty if, and by how much, home staging affects the sale price of a home. However, if staging your home is successful at getting the attention at a greater number of prospective buyers, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to go with the highest bidder.

When the NAR asked agents if staging increases the amount buyer’s offer on a home, their responses were somewhat mixed.

  • 29% of respondents thought it increases the offer by one to five percent

  • 21% of respondents say it increases the offer by six to ten percent

  • 8% said it increases the offer from between eleven to twenty percent

  • 14% said it had no impact on the dollar value of the home

  • 27% were unsure if it had an impact on the dollar value

In general, it would seem that most agents feel that staging a home not only improves a buyer’s opinion of a home, but also increases its sale value. If you’re planning on selling in the near future, staging at least part of your home could be something to consider to give your property a competitive edge.


If you're getting ready to put your home on the market, one of the best things you can do is adopt a "go with the flow" attitude!

Unless market conditions are ideal and all the stars are in perfect alignment, there will probably be a few ups and downs on the road to getting your house sold!

In all probability, there will be encouraging days and a setback or two, but with the help of a resourceful real estate agent and a little planning on your part, good luck is sure to come your way! What do we mean by the word "luck" in this case? The answer to that question can be found in a quote by the ancient Roman philosopher, Seneca: "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity!"

While a proactive real estate agent will create opportunities to attract potential buyers and present your home to its best advantage, the "preparation" part of the formula will mostly be up to you. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of that "window of opportunity" that opens up as soon as your agent puts your house on the market and plants a for sale sign in your front yard!

Curb appeal: Making a great impression from a street point-of-view can be one of your most effective forms of advertising. When your property looks neat, well maintained, and nicely landscaped, you'll be sending a positive message to potential buyers. By showing people that you have pride in ownership, they'll realize and appreciate the fact that your home has been well taken care of. Some homes require more preparation than others to convey that image, but when you pay attention to details, the desired results often follow.

Home staging: Staging your home for maximum impact involves strategies like arranging furniture in conversational groupings. In other words, if the configuration of your furniture lends itself to socializing, relaxation, and comfort, you'll be sending a positive message to people about the desirability of your home. It's also to your benefit to convey a feeling of spaciousness, cleanliness, and good taste. Although everyone has different taste when it comes to decorating, your real estate agent can offer helpful tips, based on their experience, objectivity, and training.

Most upgrades, repairs, and improvements to your house can potentially increase the chances of selling your home within the shortest period of time. Your agent can help you prioritize tasks you need to do to make a favorable impression on house hunters. They will provide you with professional advice on factors like cost effectiveness, urgency, and putting your best foot forward. In many cases, there are simple and relatively inexpensive measures you can take to improve your home's marketability, eye appeal, and perceived value.


As a home seller, it is important to keep your house show-ready. By doing so, you can ensure your residence will look great, regardless of when a homebuyer wants to see it.

Ultimately, home staging can make a world of difference for any home seller, at any time. And with the right home staging advice, a home seller can learn what it takes to maintain a house's appearance both inside and out.

When it comes to last-minute home staging, here are three tips that every home seller needs to consider.

1. Illuminate your residence

Open up the shades and let sunlight into your residence – you'll be glad you did. By taking a few minutes to ensure that the shades are open, you can illuminate your residence and transform an ordinary home interior into a dazzling one.

In addition, turn on lights throughout your residence. This will enable you to brighten up each room in your home, thereby increasing the likelihood that homebuyers can see the true beauty of your entire house.

2. Wipe down bathroom and kitchen counters and sinks

Let's face it – messy counters and sinks are eyesores that no homebuyer wants to see. Fortunately, wiping down bathroom and kitchen counters and sinks is a fast, easy way to help your house stand out in homebuyers' eyes.

Keep paper towels or washcloths and a general-purpose cleaner near bathroom and kitchen counters. That way, you can wipe down these surfaces without having to search far and wide to find various home cleaning essentials.

Also, don't forget to remove clutter from in and around a bathroom or kitchen sink. Whether it's dishes in the kitchen sink or leftover toothpaste in the bathroom sink, it pays to be thorough as you complete last-minute preparations for a home showing.

3. Check for odors in your home

Pungent smells that come from a refrigerator or other areas may impact how a homebuyer perceives your house. Thus, you'll want to do a quick odor check as part of your last-minute home staging routine.

Empty any garbage cans as needed. This will allow you to eliminate nasty odors that may be coming from garbage cans.

Furthermore, feel free to use scented candles to deal with tough smells. If you decide to use scented candles, however, make sure the odors that they provide are not too overwhelming.

If you need any extra assistance as you get your house ready for a home showing, don't hesitate to reach out to your real estate agent as well.

Typically, your real estate agent can offer expert advice throughout the home selling journey. He or she will make it easy for you to prep for home showings and stage your home properly. As a result, your real estate agent can increase your chances of receiving the best price for your residence.

As the clock ticks closer to a home showing, there's no need to worry. Use the aforementioned tips, and a home seller can get a house show-ready in a matter of minutes.


Staging a home requires a seller to think about how to differentiate his or her residence from others that are currently available. Fortunately, a home staging checklist can make it easy for a seller to ensure his or her house stands out from the competition.

A home staging checklist allows a seller to take a step-to-step approach to enhance his or her house's appeal, which may lead to a fast, profitable home sale.

In addition, this checklist is simple to create and may include the following items:

1. Removing Clutter

Although you likely have collected a variety of antiques, artwork and other attractive items over the years, you may want to remove some of these belongings from your house. That way, you can help homebuyers envision what their lives may be like if they decide to purchase your residence.

Remember, the goal of a home seller is to stir up substantial interest in a house. If you eliminate clutter from your home, you can enable homebuyers to see exactly what your residence has to offer and help them make an informed purchase decision.

To remove clutter from your home, you may want to host a yard sale or sell excess items online. You can always donate excess items to local charities or give them to family members or friends too. Or, if you want to keep all of your belongings, you can put various items in a storage unit until your residence sells.

2. Cleaning a Home from Top to Bottom

An immaculate residence is sure to garner substantial interest from homebuyers. Thus, if you clean your home from top to bottom, you can increase the likelihood that your residence will make a positive first impression on potential buyers.

Go room by room and clean as much as possible. If you require extra assistance, you can hire a professional home cleaning company as well.

3. Collaborating with a Real Estate Agent

If you need expert guidance as you sell your residence, you should hire a local real estate agent.

A real estate agent is a difference-maker throughout the home selling journey. This housing market professional can help you stage your home, along with provide real estate market insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

When it comes to home staging, it often pays to collaborate with a real estate agent. In fact, a real estate agent will learn about your house and offer personalized home staging recommendations.

Furthermore, a real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a house and can help you make tough decisions throughout the home selling journey. He or she can work with you to determine an initial asking price for your residence, whether to accept an offer a home and much more. Also, if you ever have home selling concerns or questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them at any time.

Take the guesswork out of staging your residence – include the aforementioned items in your home staging checklist, and you can quickly and effortlessly get your house show-ready.




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