My business partner and Realtor Bob DePalma puts the finishing touches on a home prior to photography.
We advise our clients selling their homes to pack as if they are moving. This is not always easy or even accepted advice and we are often met with apprehension. However, it's necessary to remove any unused, unneeded, furniture, clothing, nick-knacks, art and toiletries when prepping the house for selling. You need to "go all the way".
1. Pack away all unnecessary items from every room (rent off site storage when needed)
2. Paint any necessary rooms (one neutral color throughout the house is best scenario)
2. Clean, repair, re-caulk, re-paint, refresh baths
3. Stage remaining furniture and art
This advice is nothing new, but I think a good Realtor really works hard to make it happen. We do our best to emphasize how important these steps are and have come to realize we can never be too persistent. We'll physically engage in these steps as part of our commission package and work hand in hand with clients to help stage their homes when needed.
Me, stringing up a new shower curtain (sorry, "Nemo" had to go).