When you put your East Valley home on the market as a short sale it is important that you maintain the home in a presentable way. No one wants to walk into a home and see trash all over the floors and junk on the counters.
No, you do not need to professionally stage your home, just make your home inviting to the people viewing it. Make it a home they can see themselves living in and a home that looks like it is enjoyable to own. A home that looks like it was cared for is going to get a much better offer than a home that is trashed. That better offer is going to make it much easier to get your offer approved.
Another subject that gets me fired up is designations. Why is it that almost all designations you need to pay for and then pay the designation company every year to keep using it? This of this, you go to ASU (Go Sun Devils!) get your degree and then every year ASU comes to you and says if you want to say you got an education from us you need to pay us every year (insert student loan joke here.) Also that designation does not mean you know how to do anything, it means you took the class.
The exception may be the SSG or Short Sale Genius designation. With this designation once you have it, you have it. But the kicker is, you actually need to have closed short sales before you can use it. But even then I would not hire an agent just because they have the SSG designation. When interviewing an agent make them explain to you the process the use and ask them questions on how they do things.