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Home staging isn’t just about creativity and good design. In fact, it is more about the profit rewards that come to those who stage their homes.

For those of you who are not glued to HGTV or TLC, home staging is the art of taking a home that needs a little work and making it a gorgeous showplace.

Designing woman

A lot of people have the impression that home staging is a very expensive endeavor reserved only for wealthy homeowners. The opposite is true. More importantly, not staging your home can cost you a lot of money in the end.

Chris Eramo, from the Boston Staging Group, says “home owners shouldn’t look at how much it will cost, but instead at how much it could make.” Staged homes sell two to three times faster than unstaged homes and with a minimum of 3 percent increase in value according to statistics published on www.bostonstaginggroup.com.

It used to be that your real-estate agent told you everything you needed to know to fix up your house for sale. You did what you were told, lit a candle before the open house, then sat back and waited for the offers to come pouring in. Well, welcome to a new era in home selling where the old ways just won’t cut it.

“There is more competition out there between sellers; everyone wants their home to stand out,” said Lauren Arute, a real-estate agent with Keller Williams in Bedford. “Staging is the way to do it; for the price, you just cannot beat it.”

The truth is that while most real-estate agents are probably very good at their job, they almost certainly are not design savvy. Even if they were, most likely they don’t have the time or desire to help you properly prepare your home to be sold. Agents tend to tiptoe around issues like clutter and overstuffed rooms because they are afraid of offending their clients and losing the listing.

It is no secret that homes are staying on the market longer now than they did even a year ago. Of course, in real estate, time is money. Because of this, staging should really be in the minds of every real-estate agent and home seller.

Setting the stage for a sale:

* Make sure your yard looks great. Rake leaves, pick up trash and make sure your house number is visible from the street. The outside of your house is the first thing potential home buyers see when they pull in — give off a good first impression.

* Get rid of clutter. Invite over a friend and have her point out all the clutter to you. She’ll see more than you will.

* Take 50 percent out of your closets and kitchen cabinets. This will make them look much bigger to potential buyers.

* Clean your home. A spotless home really sells itself. If you do not like cleaning or do not have the time, hire a professional.

* Make sure each room has enough light. A dark room is a real turnoff. Open draperies or bring in additional lamps to brighten up dark spaces.

Julie Chrissis is a professional home stager and interior decorator based in Nashua and Malden, Mass. She can be reached at julie@bostonstaginggroup.com.