Tips for Staging a Home to Sell

5 Effective Tips for Staging a Home to Sell


Home staging can make a world of difference when putting your home on the market. Regardless of how popular your neighborhood or fantastic your home is, if it isn’t staged well, it won’t impress potential buyers as much as it could. What exclusive buyers want is not only a home, but the lifestyle it offers. Here are some staging tips you should follow so buyers see your home in its best light.

Keep the colors neutral

A coat of paint might be in order prior to placing your home on the market. Although you might adore your bright orange accent wall, you have to be aware that not everybody else will. When choosing colors for refreshing your walls, you should stick to neutral tones. Not only is there certain elegance about these colors, but they also leave something to the imagination for potential buyers. The neutral shades of gray, beige, cream or white will allow them to picture their future home decorated in the colors and textures they prefer, and a neutral color palette can appeal to nearly anybody.


When staging your home, make sure you put away personal items, from your kids’ artwork to the copious amounts of shampoo bottles in your bath. These aren’t the things buyers will find attractive. It will only remind them of the fact that this is your home and it will make it harder for them to imagine themselves living in it. Furthermore, your kitchen and bathroom countertops should be cleared of everything but one or two decorative items. As far as your closets, cabinets, and drawers are concerned, about 20% of them should be empty and the things that remain inside them should be neat and tidy, so that they look spacious and appear to offer plenty of storage space for your buyers.

Create an Inviting Setting

Even though you want your home clean and decluttered for showings, you definitely don’t want it to look sterile. In fact, you should use various adornments to highlight its best features and comfort. You want the buyers to come into your home and imagine living there, snug on your sofa or wrapped up in that soft, white robe left casually in your bathroom. Your home should be the perfect combination of inviting and luxurious, which is something you can easily achieve with the right accessories. For example, the use of an area rug adds texture, warmth and softness to the room. If you opt for the finest antique Persian rugs, not only will you make your home polished, but also more luxurious and therefore more appealing to a high-end buyer.

Celebrate a Lifestyle


A specific lifestyle is one of the things that home buyers expect to come with the house, so make sure they experience it the moment they arrive. If your home’s highlight is a lavish pool, make sure your back yard is in perfect condition and your pool is clean and filled with water. If a bit of seclusion is a benefit of your home’s location, trim your bushes to just the right height to showcase the privacy they seek. If one of your property’s best features is the view, draw their attention to it by placing the outdoor furniture in just the perfect spot. Do it subtly, but don’t miss the opportunity to point out the best that your home can offer.

Keep it bright and breezy

A home with inadequate lighting can seem gloomy and dark, which can turn away anybody. Open your blinds or put light-weight curtains on your windows and let as much natural light as possible into your home. Turn all the lights on if you’re showing your home, so that there aren’t any dark corners. Plus, you can emphasize your home’s most beautiful features with good lighting. Another thing to keep in mind is odors. If your novice cook burnt the microwave popcorn or your pet seems to collect odors consider opening your windows for a while before buyers arrive. You can even bring in some fresh flowers or a scented candle, but with a discreet, natural scent.

If you want to sell your home at the best price and soon, stage it so that it looks like every home-buyer’s dream home. It may take some patience and creativity, but it will definitely be worth it.


About the author: Mike Johnston is a home improvement blogger and DIY enthusiast from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and Divine Magazine. He has also contributed to numerous other lifestyle, real estate and green living blogs. Mike’s goal is to create and share meaningful content that helps and inspires people.


**All pictures posted are in homes currently on the market. Click on any photo for more information**

Extraordinary Agent of the Week

Debbie Elliott-Sexton

For me there’s no greater reward than making a positive impact on the life of another. I have made real estate my career because of the benefits of helping others. To navigate the complex decisions involved in today’s real estate market requires the guidance of a professional. I am committed to service with an emphasis on accountability, reliability, timeliness and enthusiasm.

Providing all the information necessary to make real estate investment decisions throughout the changing market cycles is something I take pride in. As a leading real estate professional in Knoxville, I took my career – and the real estate industry – to a higher level by opening the doors to Alliance Sotheby’s International Realty. I felt that the Knoxville real estate market was in need of a higher standard in luxury properties and communities. Sotheby’s International Realty is a world-wide leader in marketing and selling exceptional properties and I am proud to bring Knoxville into that equation.

Alliance Sotheby’s International Realty takes a different approach to real estate, one that is built on personal touch and positive results. A home is not a home because of its room dimensions or the color of the walls. It is about how you feel when you walk through the front door, the way you can instantly envision your life unfolding there. This is about more than real estate. It is about your life and your dreams. Our brand works to utilize the latest technologies, market research and business strategies to exceed your expectations. I love helping other people achieve success. Whether it’s helping a client find the perfect home or helping my agents build their businesses, there’s nothing more rewarding and inspiring to me than making an impact on people’s lives.

Extraordinary Agent of the Day | Theresa Carnathan

Theresa Carnathan has seen positive growth and change in the real estate industry.  She has been in the residential real estate market for over 25 years helping clients buy and sell homes. A Knoxville native and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Theresa’s roots run deep with her support of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Clarence Brown Theater and Kingston Pike Sequoyah Hills Association.

Theresa brings her wealth of knowledge to each transaction and takes great joy in helping Sellers and Buyers reach their goals in a professional manner.  Treasured friendships with clients from past transactions are the result of her successful representation!


To reach Theresa, please call our office 865.357.3232 or Theresa’s cell 865.548.6097

Celebrate National Cake Day!

Today is the “unofficial” day to celebrate all that is cake. This has to be one of the best “unofficial” holidays ever.

In most homes, the kitchen is the heart and below are some of our favorite kitchens to bake, decorate, cook, eat, savor and love!

Rudder Lane | listed with Debbie Elliott-Sexton


Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!     

C. JoyBell C.


Bay Pointe Road | list with Angie Riedl


Where there is cake, there is hope. And there is always cake.

Dean Koontz


Laurel Trace | listed with Sandy Poe


The great thing about cake is it doesn’t feel like work. You forget about work. Kids, adults, they all get the same look in their eye when they’re decorating cakes. That’s the magic right there.

Duff Goldman



Bluff Drive | listed with Whitney Ray-Dawson


Love is when you have a really amazing piece of cake, and it’s the very last piece, but you let him have it.     

E. Lockhart


Gettysvue Drive | listed with Debbie Elliott-Sexton


A party without cake is really just a meeting.

Julia Child


From us to you……Happy National Cake Day!


Each kitchen featured is in a home currently on the market. Please click on the photo for additional information or call our office at 865.357.3232

6 Useful Tips for Protecting Your Furniture When Moving House

We can all sometimes forget that furniture, no matter how small and light, can also get damaged in the process of moving. And, your furniture pieces, as well as other decorative accessories, deserve the same amount of attention as your electrical gadgets and appliances. Therefore, it’s important to keep the following tips in mind when the time for the move finally comes. After all, the entire content of your home definitely deserves some delicate handling.

Carry the furniture with someone’s help

Obviously, you may have to carry your furniture to the moving truck. And truth to be told, the biggest accidents and damages can occur even before your furniture and accessories are all packed up. Essentially, you need to make sure that you can carry your furniture to the truck without dropping it. For starters, try out different positions; carry your stuff high and low. Experiment with different angles so that you can find the best balance for transferring the items into the truck. You can’t do this on your own though! That said; make sure to ask a friend or the movers for help.

Never force your items through the door

This is one of the biggest mistakes you can do when moving house, especially if you’re dealing with delicate or important pieces that you want to keep damage-free at all cost. It can be tempting to just use a bit more force to get everything through the door when it is obvious that such a move would actually work, but that also leaves room for tears and breakages. Essentially, you have two safe options. You can either take the door off its hinges or remove the glass from a big window in order to make way for bulkier yet valuable pieces of furniture.

Have some patience with the moving truck

The careful work you need to put into moving your furniture doesn’t end once you get everything out of the house. You also need to think about the organization inside the truck. Just like you should never force your items through the door, you should never force-fit the items inside the truck either. With the best Budget truck hire deals, you can get the most suitable vehicle for your needs, and then organize your belongings properly. Remember to pad the truck ends with something soft. Also, if you can’t fit everything properly in one go, it’s perfectly fine to make two trips.

Protect the furniture in the truck

Aside from padding the ends of the truck, and even using mattresses as support when necessary, you should also properly wrap and pad the furniture so that the pieces don’t get damaged in any way. You can use Styrofoam or some other soft items/materials to pad the furniture. Of course, don’t forget to wrap up the items you’re most concerned about. Bubble wrap is one of the safest options, especially when it comes to breakables, but you can also use plastic wrap or duvet covers if your main concern is chipping or dirt. Obviously, you can use boxes to pack up the smaller valuables. Make sure that all the doors and drawers are secured so that they don’t suddenly open up or slide, and hit the surrounding items.

Disassembling is a good option but…

If you can, you should always disassemble the larger pieces of furniture in order to protect them. When they’re packed in parts, there’s less chance for the items to get damaged, and it’s easier to store them inside the truck. However, even though this is a great solution for some larger furniture pieces, it’s important to remember that they also come with plenty of screws and other smaller bits and bobs that you need to store properly as well. So, if you’re going with the disassembling process, make sure that you don’t lose the tiny pieces!

What about moving artwork?

In case you have some valuable artwork ready to be moved together with your luxurious furniture, you should always wrap it thoroughly in bubble wrap. It would be best to opt for a moving company that specializes in artwork transport, but if that’s not the case, use the masking tape at the front to prevent the glass from breaking together with the bubble wrap. Put the art in the box and secure it so that it can’t move. Most importantly, keep the boxes with paintings in the upright position, as they should never be laid flat in the moving truck. You may be able to handle the move on your own, but if you really want to ensure complete safety of your valuable items and your nicer furniture pieces, it would be best to rely on professionals, or at least friends who know what they’re doing during the moving process.

About the author: Mike Johnston is a home improvement blogger, DIY enthusiast and sustainability buff from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and contributor on several interior design, real estate and eco blogs, always on the lookout for new ideas and the latest trends in these fields.

Set the Stage for a Successful Open House

While many house hunters start their initial search online, photos or a short video can’t replace an in-person visit. With that in mind, anything you’re potentially hiding with Photoshop or stuffing into a closet can’t be disguised during an open house. Before opening your door to a potential buyer, make sure your home is as showroom ready as possible.

Turn Decluttering Into An Opportunity To Start Packing 

There’s no reason to wait until someone signs on the dotted line to start prepping for a move. Clutter is among one of the top turn-offs for house hunters. It’s also a major distraction from viewing the property, so do yourself a favor by purging and packing prior to your relocation. While many people choose to start packing by room, it can actually be more helpful to focus on a specific category. For example, books — getting heavy items out of the way first. Make five piles (pack, display, sell, toss, donate) and handle each one accordingly immediately after decluttering. Don’t forget to write down everything you’re donating for tax purposes.

Keep in mind that one of the most important things during this process is to depersonalize all items including personal photographs, niche decor (think a fishing theme), certificates and trophies, pet paraphernalia, toiletries and other personal items. It’s important that you create a neutral space where potential buyers can picture their own things. Consider storing boxes out of sight in the garage, in a temporary storage facility or your new abode if applicable.

Hire A Pro To Remove Pet Odors And Stains

Pet urine can be extremely difficult to remove — if at all — so put down the store-bought cleaner and pick up your phone and call a professional cleaner to remove stains and odors. Make sure you hire a company that steam cleans with a hot-water extraction method as any other process is liable to bring out the odors even more. If all else fails, you will have to remove the carpeting and/or furniture if you still detect an odor as it’s likely that it will cost you a sale.


The Devil Is In The Details 

You may be so focused on the big-ticket items that you overlook smaller yet equally important details like cleaning the pool, power washing the deck, trimming the trees and bushes, making sure all the lighting fixtures are operating properly, and removing weeds between brick entryways. Have an outside source like a neighbor or loved one do a walkthrough of your home prior to the viewing to serve as a second set of eyes. 

Extra Touches Count 

Have a few light refreshments out — think lemonade and fruit in the summer, hot cocoa and cookies during cooler months. While there’s a debate on whether or not to play music as it’s completely personal, as long as it matches your home, market and the volume is low. Soft jazz (not elevator music), calming classical or “coffeehouse”-type tunes work well. Basic is best.


Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years’ experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.

Extraordinary Agent of the Week | Melissa Collins

Extraordinary Agent of the Week | Melissa Collins

Melissa is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a degree in communications. Her degree, coupled with several years in sales, equips Melissa with the tools needed to help her clients. Finding that perfect home or selling your family home can be one of the most stressful, yet exciting times in your life, and Melissa wants to help you through that process. She is dedicated to her clients and to making the home buying or selling process as easy as possible.

Melissa has lived in Knoxville for over 20 years and is happily married with four children. In her spare time, she loves to travel, be anywhere outdoors, spend time with her family, UT Football and, of course, house hunting!!!


Extraordinary Home of the Week

Extraordinary Home of the Week | Personal Estate, Equine Facility or Bed & Breakfast


The hills and valleys of East Tennessee are some of the most beautiful in the world. Among those hills is a parcel of land that is 32+ acres in size and located in an exclusive Louisville subdivision.


Beyond the gates unfolds an expanse of land mixed with woods and fields. Wildlife is plentiful with ducks, deer and turkey. Private trails for hiking or riding are easily accommodated, plus a stocked pond for the resident fisherman.


This custom home, which has been recently undergone a complete renovation, has two covered porches where days and nights can be spent rocking your cares away while watching the scenery.


A spacious kitchen with breakfast room is outfitted with breakfast bar, top of the line appliances which include a double oven and a commercial sized farmhouse sink. Ample counter space rounds out this space creating a kitchen that is both beautiful and functional.


Rich wide-planked hardwood floors flow throughout the home, and the main level offers an incredible master suite! The master suite is spacious and allows for a space for reading and relaxing. The master bath is an elegant showstopper and must be seen to be fully appreciated.


The second level boasts an additional master suite with a balcony overlooking the water. Tranquil days turns into tranquil nights with French doors opening to allow cools breezes on warm spring nights.

It is truly rare to find such quality acreage located within a subdivision so close in  ~ A sanctuary in a hectic world.


For more details about this home, please click on any photo or call Melinda Grimac at the office 865.357.3232 or her cell 865.356.4178.

This home additionally offers affordable taxes under the Greenbelt Tax plan

Extraordinary Feature of the Week | The Master Suite

Extraordinary Feature of the Week | The Master Suite

Your master bedroom is the room you spend the most time in at home. It is a place to rejuvenate, rest and reconnect. 


A master suite fireplace conjures up feelings of romance. This fireplace is a beautiful focal point and this master is spacious enough to allow a sitting area while keeping an intimate feel. The adjoining master bath has its own focal point with an over-sized window above the bath and separate vanities providing ample space for two to prep for the day!


Choto Road | Knoxville, Tennessee | listed with Sandy Poe 


This master suite offers water views and makes every morning a good one! Expansive French doors to a private balcony and windows allow the sun to flood the entire room. Views of the water continue into the bath with a jetted tub to take your stress away.

Jackson Bend Drive | Louisville, Tennessee | listed with Jenny Snodgrass and Julia Jubran


Views of mature trees and lush grounds can provide a reprieve like only nature can. This master suite appears to be resting up in the trees and creates a space that is both lovely and peaceful. The claw foot tub in this master bath is ideal for long soaks at the end of the day.

George Lovelace Lane | Knoxville, Tennessee | listed with Whitney Ray-Dawson


This bedroom has been designed to specifically take-in the views of the lake and mountains! Take advantage of the deck just steps from your bed to either enjoy morning coffee or late night aperitifs.  An incredible over-sized shower with multiple shower heads will help wake you up and invigorate so you can charge the day.

Riverbend Drive | Dandridge, Tennessee | listed with Deanna Mendenhall-Miller and Paula Kelley


This master suite’s more elegant looks is achieved with the arc of the ceiling and the beautifully arched windows. Surrounded by mature trees, this master suite is both soothing and relaxing. The master bath is elegant as well with beautiful cabinetry and delicate lighting.

Rudder Lane | Knoxville, Tennessee | listed with Debbie Elliott-Sexton


*For more information about any of these featured homes, please click on the photos or call 865.357.3232*



Extraordinary Property of the Week Scenic Shores

Riverbend Drive in Scenic Shores

This beautiful Scenic Shores custom home rests at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains on a three acre parcel of land and is ideally located in a small cove off Douglas Lake’s main channel.  Sweeping views of the water; the mountain backdrop; and extensive landscaping all offer a visual treat.


Outdoor entertainment is a breeze on the rear stone patio. Prep meals and dine al fresco using the outdoor kitchen or enjoy late night s’mores and aperitifs around a fabulous fire pit.



Opportunities to play are ample with a beautiful in-ground pool and a lakefront recreation area outfitted with a covered boat dock including two boat and two jet-ski slips.



The interior of this beautiful lakefront home is as spectacular as the exterior. The two-story living room does not disappoint with floor to ceiling windows and stack stone fireplace. Ample natural light flood this open space making it warm and inviting to all who enter.


The open and spacious kitchen creates an ideal place to prepare meals for family and friends. Custom cabinetry, granite counters, stainless appliances and large island are a few of the components to this wonderful space.


A grand and spacious master  is on the main level. Imagine waking up to these incredible and expansive views of the water and mountains! A fireplace and a quiet space to recline help create a retreat that any home owner would cherish.



Whether a full time residence or vacation retreat, this home is an incredible find! Call Deanna or Paula at 865.357.3232 to schedule a private tour of this magnificent East Tennessee home and see, first hand, what a beautiful place it is.

*please click on any photo for more detailed information