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It’s no secret that staging has become synonymous with selling a home. A staged home can boost perceived value and may even influence a buyer to bid above asking price. However, it can be challenging to live in staged conditions and keep everything looking its best for potential buyers. When living in a staged home, planning is a must.

First, talk to your family members. Sit them down, and explain the importance of keeping a tidy home and cleaning up before house showings. If you have young children or teenagers, they’ll likely be more willing to help out once they understand the benefits.

You and your real estate agent can also coordinate a showing schedule that works best with your family’s needs. That way, you’ll have time to properly prepare before each showing.

Once you’ve established a schedule, cordon off rooms you can go without entering while your home is on the market. Limit use to one bathroom, if possible, and shut the door to any guest rooms and the dining room. Most real estate agents dub the dining room a definite for staging, so do your best to preserve its picture-perfect state.

Real estate agents also prioritize the kitchen, but paring down activities in the heart of your home is impractical. To avoid pre-showing stress, remember the see-and-sniff rule: Buyers don’t want to see last night’s half-eaten dinner on a plate, and they don’t want to sniff last night’s dinner upon entering the kitchen.

At minimum, place dirty dishes in the dishwasher before vacating your home for a showing. Another, and perhaps better, solution is to pack and store your dinnerware and use disposable plates and utensils for meals instead.

One task you should never skimp on is making the beds each morning, especially in the master bedroom. Aside from indirectly establishing a good habit, a freshly made bed, plumped pillows and all, recreates the staged effect and helps buyers visualize concepts like comfort and safety.

The bathroom is another room that will benefit from staging. To prolong the staged look, store toiletries in an inexpensive caddy and leave towels purposed as props in place. Before a showing, remove the caddy and any wet towels. Place the latter in the dryer for half an hour, and they’ll be fresh for use when the showing appointment is finished.

Staging is an effective way to attract homebuyers. Taking these steps while you live in staged surroundings can help preserve your home’s souped-up appeal and lead to a speedy sale. When buyers come knocking, do a sweep in these key rooms to get the most bang for your staging buck. Happy selling!