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According to research, more than 80 percent of potential home buyers begin their search for a new home online via popular real estate listings sites such as homesandland.com. The Internet allows homebuyers to find and even “tour” properties in the comfort of their own homes, without ever setting a foot in yours. So does that eliminate the need for home staging?

Quite the contrary! Staging a home is more important than ever, especially when it comes to online photographs or a virtual tour. First impressions make a tremendous difference, and the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words has never been more true than for the online real estate research.

This is where the experience and expertise of a real estate professional can make a big difference. They know what buyers are searching for and can help you stage your home to sell for the best possible price. Perhaps even more important, they can also help you decide what features should be emphasized in online photographs or virtual tours of the property.

Use this handy checklist when determining how to stage for an online audience:

1 Lighting

Is the house too light or dark to show nicely on smartphones and computer screens?

2 Color scheme

Are custom colors hurting the selling price of your home? A small investment in paint can pay off generously in a higher selling price if your home is painted in hard-to-match colors. Remember, even if a color looks great with your furniture, the same color may clash with a potential buyer’s scheme.

3 Clutter and cleanliness

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Does the roof need cleaning? How does the garage look in the photos? Is a large tree limb blocking the view of the home’s entrance? Ask your agent to take a walking tour with you and point out what needs attention both inside and outside of the home before the pictures are taken for the listing.

Thinking of selling? Find a local realty expert who can help or explore the local market with our real estate listings.