The moment you commit to marketing your home for sale you need to commit to transforming it into a place that potential buyers can easily picture as their home. This means that you should be prepared to emotionally detach.

In order to gain an edge in today’s real estate market when buyers have so many options, a property must not only be priced right but look better than the competition. One of the best and repeatedly proven methods for getting top dollar for your home is to invest in properly staging it.

One of the costliest mistakes made by home sellers is to ignore the visual psychology involved in gaining a potential buyer’s immediate attention. Staging is all about creating a space that buyers can emotionally connect to. In order to achieve this objective, a home should be as impersonal and attractive as possible. Too much furniture and clutter can make it difficult to concentrate on the property itself. The more we see in a room the less we can process.

To start with, sellers should arrange for an initial meeting with a staging professional to review the property’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as to discuss what changes need to be made and how much time it will require. In addition to basic cleaning and repairing, the staging process will focus on the following key points:

Declutter - There are two major problems with clutter. One is that it distracts buyers from a home’s features. The other is that it can make the home feel like it doesn’t have enough storage space. Put away knickknacks. Keep in mind that buyers will be interested in your closet space, so tossing everything into the closet to hide it away may not be the best strategy. Box up what you don’t need.

Depersonalize - Buyers need to be able to envision themselves in your home, so remove all the family photos and refrigerator art. Put away all your kid’s toys and play equipment.

Remove odors: Pets, kids, cooking smells, a mildew-covered bathroom and many other conditions can make your home smell.

Wallpaper/Paint: It is unlikely that a potential buyer will like your wallpaper. Your best bet is to tear it down and paint the walls instead. Paint selections should consist of warm, neutral colors that appeal to a variety of buyers and project the homey image you’re trying to sell.

Lighting: Take advantage of your home’s natural light. Open all curtains and blinds when showing your home.

Furniture: Make sure furniture is proportionate to the room size. Don’t clutter a room with too much furniture. Furniture that’s too big will make a room look small, while too little or too small furniture can make a space feel cold.

With most all buyers now using the internet for their home search your house had better show really well online. Staging, along with high-quality photos and engaging videos, can help you achieve this important goal.