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Based on the book: 

So You're Going on the Market... Next Spring?

Laurie Easterlin is a professional home stager and realtor with Keller - Williams.

I recently got a call from a family who plans to put their home on the market next Spring. I thought the caller was absolutely brilliant. They are an older couple, and they want to spend the next six months getting their house ready for sale, but they have a limited budget and want me to help them decide where they will get the most bang for their buck.

People think it's time to call a home stager a week before they list a home. But if you know you'll be selling in six to nine months, hiring a stager to help you decide what to sell, what to use for staging, and what remodeling tasks are of primary importance, is a wonderful idea. Often homeowners put off these projects until quite close to selling, and then feel completely overwhelmed when a realtor gives them a list of things they need to do, prior to listing. There are SO many things homeowners can do six to nine months prior to ensure that the home is appealing to buyers and is ready to hit the market at the exact date an owner needs to list.

As both a home stager and a realtor, I have both an eye for a finished product and an in-depth knowledge of what the local market looks like on paper, and online. There are certain rooms that need to look their very best for showing:

1. The kitchen. Is yours dated? Oftentimes we can find ways to perk up a kitchen without a complete remodel. There are wonderful products on the market such as stick on backsplash tile. Should your lighting be updated in the kitchen? Should your cabinets be painted? What about changing kitchen hardware? Painting walls? Taking down old-fashioned cornices or window treatments? You want to bring your kitchen to a market-ready state, but not necessarily redo it, as incoming buyers may want to completely change your kitchen anyway. But beginning with a fresh, modern, clean, organized kitchen is a must.

2. The Owner's Bedroom. Is it a peaceful retreat? Are there places to store everything? A cluttered owner's suite is an immediate turn off to buyers. Start with clearing out things you don't use all the time. Could you store some of your clothing and shoes elsewhere? How about purchasing under the bed storage for holiday clothes and out of season clothes? Is the bedding crisp, welcoming, gracious? This room needs to beckon one to sleep and allow buyers to believe that their lives will have peace if they just buy your house.

Whether you need to hire a painter, a handyman, a contractor for more complex preparation, or you are a family of DIY phenoms, hiring a stager far in advance will set you off on a path to success for selling your house when you are ready.

Laurie Easterlin is a home stager, realtor with Keller Williams and professional Masters preparation specialist. To learn more about her staging services, please visit: For real estate information, please visit

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