Twenty years ago, nobody worried about "staging" their home before putting it on the market. Giving it a good scrubbing and hiding the kitty litter box was considered sufficient preparation for
Is Home Staging Worth It
What Home Stagers Do
Examine your home from top to bottom, and explain -- ideally in a written report -- what should be done to get it ready. Together, you and the stager can review the recommendations and costs, and develop a plan of action.
Identify specific ways to highlight your home's best features and compensate for its shortcomings. For example, the stager might recommend removing curtains from a window that has a great view; or, in a small bedroom, replacing the double bed with a twin or even a baby's crib, in order to make the space look larger.
Recommend which items of your furniture and household possessions should stay in the house and which should be removed before an open house or showing. Be prepared to have to either move or place into storage the majority of your possessions, so as to de-clutter and depersonalize your house. This will, of course, be much easier if you've already moved into your next abode.
Help you arrange for recommended repairs or other major work on your home -- by lining up contractors, carpenters, painters, and landscapers, and overseeing their work. (You'll normally pay their bills separately, however.)
Bring in furniture, art work, curtains, carpets, pillows, and even artful-yet-homey objects like a bowl of oranges (either real or high-quality fakes!), potted orchids, and a welcoming doormat. Many stagers keep warehouses of this stuff, all carefully matched and chosen to make your house feel like a place where people can live their dream life.
Add finishing touches before an open house or major showing. For example, the stager might add fresh flowers, or put a pie in the oven on low heat in order to waft delicious aromas through the house.