Staging your home to sell fast and well

The old real estate saying is "location, location, location." But that's not the only thing that can help sell a house. How you present your home for an open house and your real estate listing can make a huge difference in its selling price.

You can get over $5,000 more if you have a light blue bathroom, according to You can lose $2,000 if your home is too dark. And in New York, you'll get a 20 percent premium if you have heated or herringbone floors.

The big thing to remember is that you don't need to do major renovations, but you do need to play up your home's features and maybe tweak the decorating before you put it up for sale.

That's where Tori Toth comes in. The professional stager helps homeowners redecorate to attract buyers and offers. What is staging? It's properly preparing your home for sale, Tori says. Your home is your No. 1 asset, she says, so you want to make sure you're getting the most money out of it.

A stager starts by doing research to figure out who the potential buyer is in that particular area, according to Tori. Once they're inside the home, they go from ceiling to floor in every room to figure out what the seller needs to do to improve the home's appearance.

We went with Tori to Cort Furniture in Midtown Manhattan, looking to redecorate the living room of a home in Scarsdale, New York, on the market for $699,000.

Tori charges $2,000 and up to stage both the main living area and the master bedroom of a home. You should factor in that cost when you're selling your home. On average, selling a home can cost more than $18,000 between staging and closing, according to Zillow.

Lauren Riefflin, a Zillow spokeswoman, says staging is important if you do it right. Staging can help a potential buyer visualize how they could utilize a space. But, Lauren says, make sure you aren't decorating in ways that are too specific to your style. That could actually deter a buyer.

Following that philosophy, Tori went with neutral pieces with modern touches. She started by picking her main pieces. First, she chose a traditional couch, with blush accents for a bit of bling. Tori says blush is very on trend.

She also selected a winged-back chair. It's a traditional style, updated in a shimmery fabric, with nail heads and a Lucite acrylic base. The credenza she chose is also a traditional piece, with a modern matte black finish, another popular trend in the furniture market. Tori picked tall lamps for her statement pieces and worked in mixed metals to further the funky traditional vibe.

The next day, we met Tori at the Scarsdale home to start staging. The empty living room was a great space, with a picture window, fireplace, and built-in wall units. Tori wanted the furniture to compliment, not compete with, those features.

She and the movers got to work setting everything up. And when it was all done, the homeowner Barry, who grew up in the house, was impressed, to say the least.

Tori worked with the mauve shades around the fireplace and played with symmetry in the artwork. The most amazing part? She had never seen the house in person, picking the furniture and decorations based off of photos of the room.

Tori's $2,000 fee to stage a living room and master bedroom does not include furniture and decoration rentals. Those cost about $1,000 a month and $100 a month, respectively. If that is out of your budget, Tori also consults for $250, telling you how to stage your home yourself.