Whether you’re thinking about putting your home on the market or launching your own house-flipping business a la HGTV’s Christina Haack and Tarek El Moussa, one thing’s for sure: The way you present your home to potential buyers matters. Nobody knows that better than real estate agents and home stagers, who see firsthand what makes people’s eyes light up…and what makes potential buyers race out the door faster than you can say “potential sinkhole and poltergeist problems.” That’s why we turned to them to uncover which items they rely on again and again for making a home look its best. You might want to copy their recs even if you aren’t planning on selling anytime soon.
But first, a couple pro tips if you are trying to stage your home: (1) Declutter as much as possible—even if that means moving things into storage until the house is sold. (2) If you’re staging an empty space and are trying to stick to a budget, focus on staging just the master bedroom and living room. “Those are the spaces people pay the most attention to—especially if it’s an open concept kitchen and living room—because it’s where they spend the most time,” says Kristina Kuba, real estate agent at KVA Group at Keller Williams Realty in Tampa, FL. Zeroing in on those two spaces, along with a few outdoor flourishes, can have a big impact in how quickly people start making offers on your home. Here’s what to consider before that “For Sale” sign goes up.