I know. You love your home. It’s been a source of joy and memories for years. Selling it is going to be hard. If only all of those warm and fuzzy memories translated into a bigger asking price. Unfortunately, they don’t.

Let’s face it. A well-loved home is a lived in home and that means dirt, clutter and personal touches that most likely won’t appeal to potential buyers.

The hard truth is buyer’s don’t want your memories. They want a home where they can picture themselves living out their own dreams. So you are going to need to lovingly pack away some of those memories and stage the home in a way that shows buyer’s the home’s potential.

No one wants to settle for a lower selling price or watch their home sit on the market for months. It’s heart breaking. So do yourself a favor and stage your home for a quicker sale. The easiest way is to little a professional stager handle it (why, yes, I do offer professional staging) but if that’s not in the budget, at least take a few steps yourself.

De-clutter: I mean, really declutter. Don’t just hide that pile of mail you keep meaning to get to but go room to room and remove personal items like photos and college paraphernalia. Put away anything that makes your space look smaller… like appliances that take up valuable counter space in the kitchen. If you do it right, it will likely feel almost sparse to you.

Clean: Then clean again. Get the scratches your dog left on the wall by the kitchen door. Wipe up those crumbs off your pantry shelves. Consider investing in having a service deep clean windows, hardwoods, carpets, and ceiling fans.

Leave empty spaces: You can leave the painting you got on vacation above the fireplace but you don’t need to leave up the drawings your child gave you. Remember staging is about sparking the imagination of the buyer. Take out the old recliner in the living room to open up the space. Make do with one bookshelf in the office instead of two. Buyers want a home that has room to grow.

Light is your friend: Whatever you can do to lighten up the home, do it! Take curtains down or leave any/all window dressing wide open. Paint dark or extreme colored rooms in a natural or neutral color. Turn on lights whenever the home is going to be shown.

We get so used to our homes we often don’t see the problems. Or smell them. Pets, kids, what you ate for dinner, or a damp smelling laundry room can turn off buyers. Really, after all that cleaning and decluttering do you want a smell to be the reason a buyer passed on your home? You don’t have to bake cookies but at least burn a vanilla candle. It also wouldn’t hurt to grind half a lemon in the garbage disposal, and take out the trash before prospective buyers stop by.

I’ll be honest, staging is a little inconvenient especially when you are still living in the home you are trying to sell. But keep this in mind, buyers might consider every ‘problem’ they see (or smell) a reason to lower their offer price. So do yourself a favor and show your beloved the home the love it really deserves. You’ll be glad you did.