Most every home can benefit from some staging. I always offer to pay for the initial consult with a designer that I use. She has done wonders tweaking homes by rearranging of furniture, decluttering, embelishing with accents. The key is she works with the seller and incorporates their taste (to a degree) Since she is a professional Designer and not just a "stager' she creates an environment that the seller feels comfortable living in while their house is on the market and buyers are attracted to the more homey feeling then that of a staged, sometimes more sterile setting. I never recommend to sellers to remove family pictures (unless of course there are an over abundance of them). They add warmth and personality to a home which I feel is a positive not a negative.
Sell NOW! It's all about supply and demand. Sell when the inventory is down which in my market is right now. Bad weather and lots of snow is keeping sellers from listing which is a big mistake. Don't wait for the pretty flowers to bloom and the pool is open. That's when most decide to put their house on and the inventory goes up. Just listed a house last Saturday and priced it to sell. The sellers were very hesitant to start showing since the weather was horrible that day. We had 6 showings that day, 5 the next day and are negotiating 3 offers - all over asking price.
Regarding dual agency, the real estate agency and agent that is listing the property should designate an associate within that company to represent you as a buyer's broker. It is very difficult to represent both parties and not something I would do as a listing agent. I explain up front to all buyers when they sign a buyer broker contract with me, that this situation may come up and that I will always represent the seller and choose an agent within my office to represent them just for that particular house. I will introduce them in advance to the agent I have in mind before this situation comes up, so they will have met them previously and feel comfortable with them.Regarding your offer, I would first go back to the seller with a counter offer that you'll split the difference. See what that response gets you and then if you have to go up to the $205.Good luck!!