First-Time Home SellersHomeownersSellersSelling Your Rental October 10, 2022

Should You Consider Home Staging?

Are you ready to sell your home? Adding a home stager to your team might be your next best move. Your neighbors may not be talking about it, but many people connect with home-staging companies. The goal is to ensure a home is warm and welcoming while helping a buyer see the potential.


You have another option, too. Do your research — and do the staging yourself. With the help of a realtor, you can make a great first impression. Home staging has many benefits, and we hope you add it to your to-do list before putting your house on the market.


The How-Tos of Home Staging

Home staging is about preparing your home to help potential buyers see your space as their own. Adding decorations, removing personal items, and deep cleaning are a few ways to make staging a success. Although you are selling your home, remember you are also helping to sell a vision to the next homeowner. If you successfully staged your home, the benefits directly impact your budget.


Here is how to do things right:


  • Sell the vision

House hunters don’t want to see how you designed your home. They want to know if they can make a place feel like theirs. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to keep the design minimal. Let someone picture how their couch will look in the corner — or whether a bed will fit in a guest room.


  • Close with a cleaning

What could mess up a beautifully staged home? Dirty baseboards, odors, or other visible signs of an unclean home. It’s worth the time and investment to have your home professionally cleaned. For potential buyers, a clean home also shows a move-in-ready space.


  • Focus on key rooms

There is no reason to stage every room. Try to focus on the rooms that are key selling points. Consider staging the living room or the kitchen. If you have a spacious main suite, find ways to help homebuyers see this space as their own.


Hire a Professional — or Home Stage On Your Own

While hiring a professional is a great investment, a seller may need to allocate those costs to another part of the process. Either way, you are giving your home an edge over other homes in the neighborhood. By selling a home that includes a vision, you may be able to sell your home faster and at a better price.


If you are ready to stage your home, here are your options:


  • Hire a full-service staging company

Allow a full-service company to do it all. They can help you place the right photos on your home listing, attracting more potential buyers.


  • Attend a consultation and stage on your own

Learn from the best, and then try it on your own. During a consultation, gain advice on which rooms are your best selling points. Then, find ways to help each room stand out.


  • Stage your home on your own and consult your realtor

A quick Google search can introduce helpful tips for staging your home. Check in with your REALTOR® for feedback and guidance. They also have an eye for design and have experience staging a property to maximize your space. 


Ready, set, stage! Put your home’s best side on display with these helpful tips.

BuyersSellers August 29, 2022

Your Ultimate Fall 2022 Moving Checklist

Check out this helpful checklist to help keep you on pace to get everything completed before your move:

BlogDownsizingFirst-Time Home SellersSellersSelling Your Rental October 26, 2020

5 Things To Do To Get Your House Ready For Showings

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Guest Blog by Cat Dobson

Getting your home ready to sell can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. After first choosing the right real estate agent to represent you and market your home well, these 5 tips can get your house ready in no time!

clean living room declutter organization

Declutter & Donate

First up, declutter! This is above and beyond the best thing you can do to get your home ready to sell. If you think you might want to list your home within the next year, start by going through one space a week and donating or selling things you don’t need or use. Even if you’re short on time and need to move suddenly, decluttering needs to be a priority! Consider storing oversized or excess pieces of furniture to help spaces feel roomier. File and store all papers, as well as clear the outside of the fridge of anything on it. Additionally, make sure your kitchen counters are clear and all small appliances are put away.

Stay Neutral

In order to have your home appeal to the largest amount of prospective buyers, it’s important to neutralize your decor and interiors. While this can be hard for some sellers to do, it can help to think of the home as no longer yours as soon as it hits the market. It’s there waiting for its next owner! Neutralize any shocking paint colors that may be off-putting to buyers (your son’s room that is bright orange, or your living room accent wall that’s deep red), and take down any overly personal bold artwork. While it’s not necessary to replace every single small family photo, make sure large scale portraits are taken down. From a security standpoint, don’t leave up any family photos or items that could release personal information (for example, job certifications, or photos of your children in their school or sports uniforms).

house exterior curb appeal

Check Out Your Curb Appeal

Thirdly, make sure your curb appeal is up to par! The outside of your home is the first thing buyers see, and often they may skip entering your home altogether if the exterior is lacking. Invest in some fresh mulch to draw attention to outside flower beds, and brighten your entrance with some potted flowers. Make sure your front door is fresh with no peeling paint, and that the door handle is well attached and secure.

Along those lines, make sure all the quick fixes around your house are completed! Any burnt out lightbulbs need to be replaced, all interior door knobs secured, and trim and wall paint touched up. Often buyers who find low-level maintenance hasn’t been completed are left wondering if there are more serious things wrong with the home. As a seller, you always want to make sure your home is presented as fresh and well-maintained as possible. It can sometimes be easy to overlook little things such as scuffed walls when you live day in and out in a home – to get fresh eyes on what you might need to touch up, invite a close friend over to critically examine your home.

Highlight the Best Features

Lastly, make sure you show off the best features of your home! Look around your home and decide what are the selling points (you can ask your real estate agent for help if you need) and make sure you’re showcasing them. Buyers will miss out on seeing your amazing transom windows if they’re crowded and full of knick-knacks. Consider picking up small throw rugs and runners to make sure your floors are the star and removing curtains or blinds if you have a spectacular private backyard view. Above all, remember that the buyers are looking to buy your home, not your things! Showcase the great things about your house, and make sure your personal things don’t detract from them seeing and loving your home.

These fixes are often easy and mostly free. They can make a big difference in getting your home market-ready and under contract faster. It may be more work on the front end, but the potential for a faster sale and an easier less stressful move can be worth it!

Cat Dobson | 703-582-8509 | Massaponax Office

Find her on Instagram!


BlogDownsizingFirst-Time Home SellersHome SafeMarket InformationSellersSelling Your Rental September 28, 2020

3 Tips for Sellers from a Home Safe™ Certified Agent

Guest Blog by Terin Merriman

Hi Friends!

So this is our lives in the midst of a global pandemic, huh? As we’re adjusting to this “new world” we find ourselves in, it’s important to keep life as normal as we can. While times are challenging and many of us are still searching for our footing, the world doesn’t stop! Thus during such strange times, you may find that it’s time to sell your home and begin your family’s next chapter.

Now more than ever it’s important to choose a Realtor and/or Company that can produce results as well as keep your family safe during a national health crisis. How can you do that? Funny you ask, I have an answer for that. Did you know that Coldwell Banker Elite is the first in our region to roll out a certification for agents that provides specific tools & training to keep YOU and your HOME safe?

So let’s talk selling your home & keeping your Home Safe™. Ah. See what I did there? Such a clever gal. Here’s my 3 Tips for Listing Your Home During Covid-19:

All Things Virtual

With Home Safe™ practices implemented you can limit in-person contact & potential exposure to germs by doing virtual meetings, offering virtual tours, virtual open houses, and electronically signing documents. Essentially, you never have to see anyone face to face again. Talk about dreams coming true! Have I won you over yet?

work from home computer outside

Follow CDC Guidelines

Real Estate in Virginia has been deemed an essential business and there are suggested guidelines to follow for both agents & clients. Since we can’t always guarantee that others follow the rules set forth, another way to further protect your home and family is to ask that your Realtor ensure showings are only permitted to those with proof of pre-qualification. This will eliminate any unnecessary traffic through your home.

face mask covid couple agent

Implement the Covid-19 Addendum

Fun Fact: There a variety of addendums and contract language that Home Safe™ certified agents have access to that will help protect you. Included in those clauses and addendum is language that we can negotiate to reduce your risk should you have a problem buying or selling a home related to COVID-19. We also have language that we will negotiate into the contract that can be used to compel everyone involved in the transaction to abide by CDC best practices and open up opportunities to negotiate certain aspects of the contract that wouldn’t normally be a consideration without the proper language negotiated between the parties.

Undoubtedly things have changed in what is a typical day for most. We have altered our routines and our lives. One thing that isn’t changing is real estate. We’ve seen an influx in home sales and purchases since the start of COVID and the housing market is projected to strengthen even more. With all-time-low interest rates and a seller’s market now is a prime time to sell with very little to no downside. Don’t let the coronavirus scares keep you from your home sale dreams.

Thank y’all for spending a little time with me & reading this blog!

If you’d like more information on Home Safe™ you can visit or head over to my blog at

We’re always happy to chat and answer questions.

By Terin Merriman, Realtor

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