Forget the sale: staging a home for showing is an art unto itself. It’s not enough to just sweep up and move clutter around. When you show your house to potential buyers, it has to be just right for them to see themselves in the property. Put some effort toward avoiding these common mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to selling your home.

1. Be At The House

There are two kinds of “stay-at-home” sellers: those who don’t care about the showing, and those that care too much. Some of our realtors have found sellers using the kitchen, sleeping in their bed and even in the shower while they are trying to sell your home. But other sellers have tried to shadow the realtor, looking for their own insights into what the potential buyer is saying. Either way, accommodating someone in their own home is awkward for everyone, making it hard for the buyer to evaluate your home fairly.

2. Still Be Cluttered

And then there’s the times when staging isn’t impeccable. Dirty dishes? Laundry on the floor? Closets filled with clutter? Visitors will open closets, drawers and cabinets and will be looking to evaluate storage space. If you shove the debris into these areas, they’ll instead be focusing on how much can’t fit.

3. Leave Your “Friendly” Pet Home

Your pup is your best friend, but even if he’s safely in a crate, the sound of a barking dog is distracting for everyone. Pets in general end up either turning off the potential buyer or blocking his or her view of your home. Best to find a pet sitter or take them to the park.

4. Forget the Power of Smell

Speaking of Fido, pets can be a major source of unpleasant aromas in a house. Other common culprits are mildew, old cooking smells, or septic issues. Regardless of origin, any fabric holding in smells should be cleaned out or replaced. Mildew and must can be solved with a dehumidifier, which can also lighten the atmosphere in basements and boiler rooms.

5. Keep Your Favorite Chair In Its Spot

Even if the area is uncluttered, staging a home often requires rethinking where you’ve been accustomed to living. If you have changed your dining room into an office because of the nice morning light, you may have to revert it to its original purpose to attract buyers who are used to seeing a more traditional lineup of arrangements. These six mistakes may seem like no-brainers, but the “horror stories” of realtors and buyers alike show that even the simplest mistakes make the biggest impact on how potential buyers view your home. Don’t fall prey to these slipups: give your property the best chance to become someone else’s dream home.