3 Cleaning Products that will Help You Save Money Before You Sell Your House

When I started professionally staging homes, I cleaned houses on the side while my business got off the ground.  It was during that time that I discovered these amazing products and I can personally vouch, they have saved my clients $THOUSANDS$ over the years!  (And no…I don’t get paid to plug them, but maybe I should!  Ha.)  So before you replace or pay for costly repairs or updates, you should definitely try these much less expensive alternatives instead.

CLR – Not the weaker version that comes in a spray bottle, but the little jug of full-concentrate!  It is absolutely amazing at removing calcium build-up, lime, and rust corrosion on faucets, tiles, shower doors, sinks, and even the toilet!  Just follow the directions, and you will be stunned at the transformation.


Santeen Toilet Bowl Cleaner – This stuff is seriously powerful!  Even on their website they warn, “Seriously, always wear safety glasses and gloves when working with Santeen products!”  But WOWZA!  Is it ever worth it!  This is not the product for weekly cleanings, but this IS the product for seriously tough stains that will not go away.  I’ve rescued several toilets and even a bathtub using Santeen for a client who had planned to replace.  This is truly a miracle-in-a-bottle!

Orange Glo – If you have real wood cabinets or woodwork…fyi – this is not for painted wood…nothing perks them up like a good dose of Orange Glo!  Spray it on and let it sit a while…I typically wait about 30 minutes…then wipe off the excess with a paper towel.  The name Orange Glo wasn’t just a fluke…this product will truly make your cabinets and woodwork glow and bring the grain and finish back to life!





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Is Staging Your Home To Sell Really Worth the Time, Effort, and Money?

Hutto Family TV After (3)

Every year, thousands of homeowners preparing to sell their house are probably asking themselves this very same question.  “Is staging worth it?”  Making the time, effort, and spending some cash to stage your home for market is a tough decision for many, but should it be?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…“Selling a home is the single largest financial transaction the average homeowner will ever take part in.  So why wouldn’t you make every possible effort to ensure your own success?”

Would you go to an important job interview dressed in wrinkled up sweat pants and a dirty old t-shirt?  Probably…hopefully…not!  Because the way you present yourself is a reflection of who you are, and the image you want to project in a job interview is likely not that of a disheveled bum who doesn’t give two beans about their own appearance.

The fact is, most of us would put in the time and effort, and perhaps even invest in a new suit, shiny new pair of shoes, or even a spiffy new haircut.  Why?  Because we want to look the part and impress those meeting us for the very first time.  “I’m the total package!  Buy me!”

Putting your house on the market is like one gigantic job interview and that’s the exact same impression you want your house to give potential buyers.  “I’m the total package!  Buy me!”

While your house may or may not even check off all the ‘must-have’s’ for buyers, presentation is everything!  Buyers are frequently willing to overlook a few negatives and/or even let go of a few ‘must-haves’ for a home that “WOW’S” them everywhere else!

Just like you and that spiffy new haircut, a house that presents itself well is more apt to grab and hold a buyer’s attention.  Staging your home to sell is a reflection of the entire package and displays a well-maintained persona that potential buyer’s find very attractive.  Anything you can do to meet or better yet, surpass their expectations of the perfect house is most certainly going to work in your favor!

Need help getting your house ready to sell?

Our parent company, www.centerstagehome.com, is now offering a very affordable on-line home staging consultation for those of you looking for a comprehensive game-plan that is sure to create a buyer-friendly experience and increase your chances of an offer!

Click Here to order a personalized Home Staging Consultation sent to you in prioritized order, complete with editing instructions, a plan for furniture layouts, paint colors, and update suggestions!  You will receive an automatic link to download your photos along with a detailed report in a few days.  We can solve anything that might be ailing and enhance what’s already there from a buyer’s perspective.  Save $100.00 right now for a limited time.



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How to Time Your Home Sale

kim habermehl (2)Realtor® and Home Staging Expert®, Kimberly Habermehl, owner and broker at Premier Town & Country Realty in San Antonio, Texas, offers some solid advice when  deciding on the right time to list your home for market.

According to Kim, choosing the right moment to sell is a personal decision for homeowners, but she advises you to consider these questions to time your sale for maximum results:

Who rules in the current market?

In a buyer’s market, lower market demand and an abundance of properties is likely to decrease pricing, and a shortage of listed homes drives the prices up.  Each market has its own challenges and opportunities – but waiting for a sellers market makes it easier to find a buyer at the highest price.

How long have you occupied your house?

If you have occupied the home you own for at least two of the past five years when you sell, sale profits up to $250K per owner are exempt from taxes.  Time it right, and pocket those tax savings.

What time of the year is it?

Home buyers are more plentiful during the spring and summer months.  The market slows down around the holidays.  However, persistent buyers are still present during the winter and there is less competition from other sellers.  Your willingness to list your property during the off-season often produces a great sale opportunity, with proper marketing.

What is the condition of your home?

If your property is in need of some TLC, first complete those needed repairs before listing your home for sale.  Homebuyers want a home that is clean and move-in ready.  Holding out to sell until deferred maintenance is cured will pay off in the end.  If you don’t want to make repairs before selling, that works too – but a special buyer is needed and the price will adjust accordingly.

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“Ask the Home Staging Expert®” – Are two front doors confusing potential buyers?

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Hi, Lori!

I’m a Realtor® in North Carolina and have a ranch-style listing with a very odd issue.  The house almost looks like it has two front doors and I think it’s been confusing potential buyers.  Technically, the door next to the attached garage goes into the mudroom, but it’s nearly identical to the REAL front door in very close proximity!  We’ve already gotten some negative feedback about it as they don’t seem to know which door to choose.  Short of closing up the mudroom door and re-siding, any suggestions?

Charlotte Realtor® in Need of a Fix


Dear Charlotte Realtor® –

While definitely odd, it’s a lot more common than you think.  I’ve dealt with this exact same dilemma many, many times over the years.  Most of these ‘duplicate front door’ offenders have likewise been on ranch-style homes or ranch-splits.

That said and looking at the photos you’ve provided (sorry we can’t post the actual pictures of the listing for our readers) I think in this case, the problem is the way they’re dressed.  Both doors are painted glossy red!  Teamed with the glossy red garage doors, I can definitely see where the confusion comes in.

By leaving only the front door red and painting the mudroom entry and garage doors the same charcoal gray as the siding in a matte or satin finish to match, they will blend into the background and the front entry will definitely stand out!

You can take that a step further by adding a couple of large, lush floral planters next to the steps on either side of the door, perhaps a shiny new kick-plate, house numbers, and even a new welcome mat and there will be absolutely no doubt!

Hope this helps and fingers crossed this solves it for you.

If you have a question for “ASK THE HOME STAGING EXPERT®”, please contact lori@homestagingexpert.com.



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Living in Your Home vs. Staging it to Sell

Still confused, or perhaps even a little skeptical, about the power of staging your home to sell?  Home Staging Expert® Marla Alt, owner of 123Organize in Westchester County, New York, shows us here that the way you live in your home vs. the way you show your home to sell are two different things!

Marla and her team run a full service home organization company specializing in moving, staging, and organizing spaces.  They have worked with clients throughout Westchester County, Lower Fairfield County, Bergen County, and the New York City area.  They’ve assisted their clients in selling their home and moving as far as California to the West, and Israel to the East, and they obviously know their stuff!

While the original listing looks comfortable and cozy, buyers are really looking for space and want to see the details of the actual structure which will help them picture themselves living there.  But all too often, buyers get hung up on all the owner’s stuff, which typically means they overlook what the home truly has to offer.

Marla Alt BEFORE (2)

By thoughtfully editing and rearranging what the homeowners already had, Marla was able to create visual square footage and help place positive attention back on the actual features while downplaying the décor, which felt overwhelming.  The end result is a room that feels spacious, calm, and beautifully appointed!

Marla Alt After

The visual impact staging had on this room is indisputable.  And when it comes to selling a house, that visual impact is exactly what draws the buyers in and prompts them to make an offer!

Marla took our online course to earn her Home Staging Expert® certification.  If you are interested in adding Home Staging to an existing organizing, interior design, or real estate business, or would like to start a Home Staging business from scratch, we are currently offering our course for half-price.

No Final Exam Fee – No Annual Renewal Fee

CLICK HERE to check out info on our Home Staging Expert® Certification Course and receive your instant download right now!




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“Ask the Home Staging Expert®” – How do I start actually getting PAID for my staging services?

free leaf living room


Good Morning, Lori!

I took your online course last year which I LOVED and learned so much, but now I have a problem!

I’m a real estate agent and had planned on just offering staging services to my own clients.  It has been a great tool for me to get more listings signed as I use my complimentary staging services as a bargaining tool.

The problem is, I now have a number of co-workers in my office who have asked me to stage their listings for them, too.  While I definitely take it as a compliment that they have so much respect for my abilities, they offer absolutely zero compensation for my time and effort.

Agents I’ve helped out once are now starting to ask me to assist with every listing they sign and even ask me to join them on appointments to consult with their clients about staging!  One listing took several trips and a financial investment in accessories on my part.  All I got from the other agent was, “Thanks!  This turned out great!”  Well, the listing sold in a few days, and I never heard another word about it, nor was I compensated!

How do I actually start getting PAID for my staging services?  I don’t want to do this for nothing anymore and feel like I’m being taken advantage of!

Patty the Doormat in Tucson


Hello, Patty!

First of all, thank you for purchasing our course!  I certainly appreciate your kind compliments and am glad you have been able to utilize the information.  However, you are definitely not utilizing ALL of the information.

The reason you feel like you are being taken advantage of, is because you ARE being taken advantage of!  It’s one thing to help out a fellow agent in need, it’s another thing to allow someone to take advantage of your generosity, which is exactly what’s happening and very disrespectful on their part.  But they are taking advantage of you because you are allowing it.

In the course that you purchased, we provide information for Realtors staging their own listings, as well as those looking to turn a profit for their services.  That is something you might need to go back and re-read.  And then it’s time for that frank talk you’ve been avoiding.  “As much as I loved helping you out, this is what I do for a living.  I am more than happy to help you again, but here are my rates for doing so going forward.”  And then give them your pricing.

While your intentions when purchasing our program might have been to use the information for your own clients only, you are now officially in the business of staging homes.  You’re just doing it for free, at this point!  As we teach in our course, you have to place a value on your own abilities before anyone else will do the same.

By simply letting your fellow agents know that you expect to be comped for your time and effort, many of them will simply stop asking.  But I have no doubt some will be more than happy to pay you for your talents, so it’s definitely time for that discussion!

Thank you for getting in touch and please do keep in touch and let me know how it goes.

If you have a question for “ASK THE HOME STAGING EXPERT®”, please contact lori@homestagingexpert.com.


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