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Q: I am selling my home and moving out of state. My real estate agent tells me I should have it staged to show better and sell faster. Do you think this is really necessary?

A: Although for different reasons, Burt Bacharach had the right idea when he titled his song “A House Is Not A Home.” An empty dwelling is a house. A home can be a welcoming environment that shows signs of pride of ownership and a warm sense of security.

Homes stagers are lifestyle decorators who perfect the art of creating moods. The purpose of home staging is to turn nondescript and average areas into creative living spaces that will show buyers the potential of what their new home could look like. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of buyers, thereby selling a property quicker and for more money.

Staging is actually the second step in preparing a house for sale. The first is to clean, paint, make minor repairs, replace old carpet and declutter if it is still lived in. Then, it is time for painting or filling in the blank space canvas to produce a work of art that translates into a likely home in the minds of the buyers.

The idea behind staging is to give a home soul that produces into an emotional reaction from buyers. This can be done in several ways. Perhaps the best is to concentrate on the five senses – how we perceive things.

Sight is on the top of the list. Buyers won’t buy what they don’t like to look at. Small rooms crowded with over-sized furniture will not do. Walls filled with photographs can be overwhelming. Simplicity makes the rooms look bigger, brighter and airier and this enables buyers to imagine their belongings in your spaces. It also helps to maximize strong points and minimize problems that could hinder a sale.

Have you ever visited a museum and were just dying to touch a piece of art work because you wanted to feel what appeared to be a tactile quality, but didn’t because the guard was staring at you? The sensation of coming in contact with appealing crisp, ribbed or lustrous fabrics can make buyers want them in their surroundings, too.

Many people are put off by dog and smoke odors and even strong incense. Fresh flowers, potpourri and scented candles are perfect accessories to have in different rooms.

A fountain provides more than just a decorative piece for the home. Fountains are works of art and add a soothing psychological feature to any environment. Water fountains also add a sound element which is very relaxing and pleasant.

While food may not be offered as part of staging, you can still appeal to the nature of cooking by creating colorful bowl displays of yellow, green, red and purple peppers or lemons with limes or apples with oranges.

Today, many buyers first search on the Internet to find a home. On-line photos have replaced curb appeal as the place for a first impression. It is important for a property to photograph well in order to represent it as special. Otherwise, buyers may go to the furnished competition.

Fees range depending on the square feet and number of rooms staged. There is typically a minimum rental term. If your budget allows, staging will certainly help sell your home in our current down market.