This is a guest post from Tara Chila, a blogger for Transit Systems, Inc., who writes about moving, travel, house and home, kids, parenting and recipes.

You may think that your home looks perfect and is ready to sell, but remember: not everyone likes green paint in their living room or a floral bedspread in the master bedroom. You’re going to need to stage your home.

When we listed our home a few years back, we made the mistake of assuming that everyone walking in for a showing had the same taste as our family, and it would sell in no time. Boy, were we wrong. After two open houses and zero interest, we knew we had to switch things up a bit. Despite our reluctance to change the place we called home for 20 years, we decided to follow some of the basic tips of staging a home. A few simple tricks were all it took, and we found a buyer after our next open house! I decided to collect some of the best tips and tricks to staging your home for sale for anyone else who may be having trouble sparking interest from potential buyers.

Give your home curb appeal. The first thing the buyer will see is the outside of your home, so make it welcoming. Weed and mulch your beds, and cut your grass. Add a potted or hanging plant to your deck or patio. Curb appeal is not just lawn care; remember your front door, shutters, paint around the windows, welcome mat, etc. Buyers are looking at everything so be sure to think like a buyer.

Pack up items you will not need until the move. You want to make your home look livable but not messy and overwhelming. For example, you want clothes and shoes in your closet, but you don’t want it stuffed with both winter and summer wear. You want your closets to look spacious. Also, too much furniture can make your home look smaller, therefore store furniture that you do not need. A general rule of thumb is: If you can live without it, get rid of it.

Leave some family photos out for viewing. It’s good for buyers to know who lived in the house, but they shouldn’t be able to read your life story. Leave only a few photos out. It’s the best of both worlds – prospective buyers see it’s a happy home, but they literally have room to picture themselves living there.

Appeal to the buyer’s senses. You can do this by baking cookies the night before and leaving a radio on and playing soft music.  Leaving soft blankets and towels out can appeal to their softer, homier side. Another great emotional appeal is fresh cut flowers on the kitchen table and window sills.

Make sure your house is neutral colors. Bright colors can make your home look smaller and are geared toward specific buyers. Paint your home in neutral colors and you can appeal to all buyers and even make your home look larger and more open.

Increase the wattage in your lamps. Great lighting can help make a staged home look warm and welcoming. According to an HGTV article about staging a home, you should aim for a total of 100 watts for each 50 square feet. Also, make sure you have multiple types of lighting in each room. Overhead, table lamps, under-cabinet and reading lights are ideal.

Make your master bedroom appealing to both genders. Use luxurious bedding and soft colors and try to stay away from feminine flowers and pastels. Both men and woman want to envision themselves in your master bedroom. Show the buyer there’s enough space for both.

On your marks, get set, sell!

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