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Based on the book: 

Top three staging mistakes.

As a stager, I am always perplexed when visiting homes that are on the market that are missing the three biggies. But I have to remind myself that owners are often unable to see their homes through a buyer's eye. Today we will go over the three biggest mistakes sellers make when prepping their home for resale.

1. The Front Entry. This is the first thing a buyer sees. How is your welcome mat? Unless it is in perfect condition? Spend 14.00 and get a new one. Be sure the paint on your front door is in perfect condition...your shrubbery is trimmed, allowing buyers to see the windows, and be sure no dead plants are present. Declutter the porch...don't overwhelm a buyer with knick-knacks, or tons of tiny plants in pots, or old furniture in need of painting. Love a particular college or pro-sports team? Now is not the time to fly that flag. You want to invite every person to envision their own team flag on your house. Don't alienate your visitors before they even walk through the door. Any glass windows or glass storm doors should be pristine. Take a photo of your own house with your cellphone, as well as your front entry. Could it make a magazine cover because it is clean, gracious, welcoming? Do what it takes to complete that look.

2. Personal photos. (This one might drive me the craziest.). Yes. We know you love your family. But when your home is on the market? It's a NEW family that is envisioning their lives in that space. Don't crowd out that possibility by having pictures of your children or family members on the walls. Store them safely for your new home and pick up some inexpensive art to go in its place.

3. Religious art of ANY KIND. Remember, you are selling a space in which you want others to envision their own lives. Not everyone practices your faith. I have been in homes where there are angels, bible verses, and crosses in every room. If a potential buyer is not a Christian, this makes the home seem "branded" to that particular faith and not welcoming to all. You are saying "This house is intended for people of THIS religious persuasion" and thereby closing yourself off to others seeing it as their own home.

There are families that gather to worship in rooms created for just that purpose. Be creative. What can remain in that space which could easily be placed in a closet during showings and brought out for daily worship?

It is very hard to disassemble your home while you are still living in it. There is so much joy in seeing the familiar in your home each day...the family pictures, the sports team memorabilia, the faith reminders. But when your home needs to become another family's home, it's important to be gracious enough to allow EVERY person who steps through that door to feel welcome and to see their own beloved family seated right there in that space. So carefully pack away the personal. You will soon be unpacking it in your brand new home!

Laurie Easterlin is a professional stager with, and a realtor with Keller Williams at If you need a consultation prior to selling your home, please contact her at 706-836-1546.

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