Realtors share their top staging tips: It’s showtime!

(Note: We’ve looked at some of the very best ways to put your best foot forward with Crank up the curb appeal and gotten you in the right frame of mind for staging with How to get started. Start with those first if you haven’t already read them.)

You’re almost there! Your house is in great shape. It just needs a few more touches before your showings begin to really make it stand out from the crowd (remember, chances are pretty good that your house will be one of many that buyers will be viewing). Here are a few tips to set the stage for a great day of showings.

Start by opening some doors and windows for several minutes while you get everything ready. Get fresh air into the house. Open all of the blinds and curtains. Turn on all of the lights, ceiling fans and lamps, even in the day time. This includes outside lights. If you’ve got a surround sound system, turn on soft music. If it’s cold and you have a gas fireplace, turn it on. Run the vacuum and dust quickly if there’s time.

In the kitchen, dining, and/or bar areas: Remove any sponges, used towels, mops, or brooms. Take out all trash and recyclables. Set up a couple of vignettes on tables and serving areas as if you were entertaining later. Keep it simple with a couple of place settings, or a cocktail shaker and a martini glass or two. If you’ve got an outdoor eating space, set up a scene there, too. The goal is to evoke the impression that the home is a great place to gather friends and family. Set out a few vases of fresh flowers, making sure they aren’t heavily scented.

In the bedrooms, make sure laundry is put away and beds are made. Tidy up.

In play rooms and offices, pick up toys, straighten up desks, put away papers and tuck in chairs.

Fold towels in the bathrooms, make sure toilets are clean and lids are closed. Tuck away toiletries and close shower curtains.

If you have pets take them with you if at all possible. If not, crate them. Don’t count on Fluffy not getting out or Mittens not biting anyone. Pets don’t like strangers and things happen, even though we try to prevent it. Buyers are often uncomfortable around strange animals. Don’t present a negative.

Make sure your doormats are clean and swept. If you have a pool, make sure fountains are running. If you have an outdoor sound system, turn on some soft music. Highlight the best features.

You’ve worked hard to get your house show ready and your buyers will appreciate it. You will, too, when the offers come rolling in. Now – on to your next real estate adventure. Congratulations on your new home!