A home stager has the skills to make your house as competitive as it can be.

You've lived in your home for plenty long enough to know what looks right and what doesn't. Right? Probably not, at least according to professional home stagers. Make no mistake, this isn't an industry that tries to take their share of your profits from a sale. Staging matters, most people don't know how to do it, and the difference can add up to better offers and a faster sale.

Why You Need Home Staging

Staging is a lot more than just tidying up and having the carpets cleaned. It's an art, really, and it creates an environment for one purpose only - to sell your home for the highest amount possible. Phase one of staging removes every single shred of your personality from the house.

That's right. Every photo, your shampoo in the shower, notes on the fridge, and even artwork from the kids - it's outta there. The reason why is simple. With your personality throughout the house, buyers have a much harder time imagining living there.

It's got nothing to do with style, and everything to do with helping prospective buyers stand in your kitchen and imagine their own casserole dishes in the cupboard. If your vitamins are the countertop beside the sink, that's a lot harder to do.

A staged home looks like a magazine page, and that's the whole point.

Staging isn't an Insult

There's nothing wrong with your design eye, it's just not trained for this particular job. You spend your life curating the things that fill your home, so the idea of wiping it away might feel a bit insulting. It shouldn't be; you'll take them with you. And your stager might ask you to rent new furniture just for the sale.

Realtor.com® says that you should not take depersonalization personally. When a home stager tells you what needs to be changed, it's worth your while to listen. After all, you're not selling your furnishings and decor anyway. So if those things are standing in the way, the right response is 'please and thank you.'

There's no single reason why any item or vignette just doesn't work for the stager. Maybe it's outdated, or maybe the prime buying market in your area isn't into the things that you like. Or maybe it's just that it doesn't photograph well. Photos are critical, so you want your house to shine.

Staging isn't Cheap, but it Can Bring Big Rewards

Going in, you should know that a pro will charge anywhere from $1,250 and up, according to the Real Estate Staging Pricing Guide.   If that seems awfully high, consider what you get for your money. It really is an investment.

A house that sits on the market costs you money. You'll drop your price if it lingers too long, and you might never really know why it's just not taking off. Real estate mogul, Barbara Corcoran, of Shark Tank fame, explains for the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) that it's not a luxury anymore. It's necessary.

So many buyers shop for houses online, so it has to look great. If it doesn't, you might not get any tours at all, not to mention any bids.