When selling your home, often the issue will arise on how best to present it (stage it) to potential buyers and you’ll probably be given lots of “ideas” by family and friends on what you should to do.  Following is a short list of staging principles that have consistently ranked high (1-7 with 1 being lowest and 7 being highest) in importance by buyers when looking to purchase their dream home.

Remove personal items: 6.5 – awards, certificates, etc.

Use rooms for intended purposes: 6.49 – bedroom rather than exercise room or a “catch all” room.

Remove evidence of pets: 6.48 – water and food bowls put out of sight during showing; litter boxes cleaned and out of main areas.

Turn on all the lights during showings: 6.39 – people like bright, clean, well lit rooms.

Show homes furnished (as opposed to empty): 6.39 – very seldom does an empty house show as well as a furnished property.

Remove personal photographs: 6.02 – buyers should be looking at the home and picturing their family – not yours in the home. Also a buyer may recognize the seller or seller’s family and it could be distracting.

Surprisingly, the following items rated very low on the survey:

Have cookies baking in the oven: 2.60

Use scented candles, potpourri, etc: 3.63

The explanation for the lower numbers on the above two items may be that baking cookies seems too cliché; and strong scented candles and potpourri scare buyers into thinking the owners are trying to hide something. Battery powered candles may offer a warm accent and would be a safe alternative to regular candles.

Whatever your final decision on staging may be – a knowledgeable Realtor should be able to  guide and/or assure you that you’re focused in the right direction!