Accent the Positive and Focus on What You Love

This Spring Real Estate Market, I find myself repeating the same instructions during pre-listing staging consultations. Homeowners have their own decorating style making every house unique. Besides personal taste, how people live and maintain their house makes a big difference when preparing a house for sale.

Accessing of a house should take place annually. This is where you address what needs fixing and refreshing. Most get acclimated to how a house looks and smells, they no longer see the negative issues that turn into problems when it is time to sell.

Spring-cleaning can happen all year round. Make the time to purge items you no longer need or want, and clean. A clean house has no bad odor issues.

A family of four standing in front of their home they just bought, happy and excited to start a new chapter.
Photo by Metro Creative

What do you really love about your house? It is the fireplace? The view? The property? Whatever it was that made you fall in love with your house can also make a potential buyer love it too. The problem is we take what we love for granted and sometimes it gets covered or neglected for various reasons, mostly distractions from our busy lives.

In order to reconnect with your own house or to make the connection for buyers, it is important to remove the layers to showcase whatever it was that allowed you to connect with the house. Accent the positive features. Open the blinds and remove heavy drapery to let light in. This also showcases the architectural feature of the windows.

A fireplace that has many knick-knacks on the mantel with decorative items hanging around it focuses on the stuff, not the fireplace. Many times furniture is placed in front of the fireplace blocking it. Visual clutter is a distraction.

My staging approach is different than what is on TV. Most people have everything they need to stage their house. Items can be removed, rearranged and styled to enhance the space, flow and features of the house. Often I hear from my clients how they never would have thought of placing an item here or using there. All that is needed is a fresh perspective.

When my former house went on the market last year, I edited, staged to prepare my house for sale. My house was well maintained and serviced regularly so it was in good condition. To quote a friend, “You see a yellow jacket in the house, you call the exterminator”. But on the day the listing photos were to be shot, my Realtor, Diane Blanton of Better Homes and Garden Rand Realty in Goshen said to me, the professional stager, “It’s beautiful but it’s busy. Let’s get it out of the picture.” Which is the point I made earlier of how difficult it is to be objective in our own house. I always advise to “edit and forget it” then edit even more to allow each room to breath.

A happy couple in the living room excited to move into their new home. Their moving boxes are set up and ready to be unboxed.
Photo by Metro Creative

Over time the ‘honey-do-list’ grows longer and gets neglected. My best advice is to make a priority list of things that need to be addressed and budget for it. Farm out what you can. More importantly, enjoy your house while you are living in it. A potential buyer can sense pride of ownership. Once that buyer makes the connection, consider it sold.


Claudia Jacobs is professional stager, decorator and owner of Claudia Jacobs Designs in Newburgh. Visit or call 294-8993. Send questions and photos to