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When watching home shows or flipping through the pages of magazines, you’ve probably come across a few houses that make you think, “I could live there.” That’s exactly what you want potential buyers to feel when they come across your listing.

Staging is how you achieve that – regardless of how or why you sell your home. And you don’t need to pay a fortune to a professional stager to make a big difference in the way your home feels; you can borrow the best tips from the pros with even the most modest of budgets.

Clutter is a killer – No one wants to feel overwhelmed by stuff – especially when it’s not their stuff. Clutter anywhere in your home will make potential buyers uncomfortable (even if that’s how you prefer to live). It also makes rooms appear small and cramped. Use this opportunity to cut the amount of clutter to the bare minimum. Hiding things in closets and cupboards doesn’t work; people open these and will believe that the available storage isn’t sufficient. You’re moving anyway, so get a head start and box up all the items you won’t be using.

Light the living areas – You won’t notice when you enter a well-lit space, but you’ll know it as soon as you walk into a room with poor lighting. At the very least, make sure all the bulbs in a room have matching hues (warm or cool is up to you). If you can, rearrange lights to ensure there aren’t any dark corners.

Rearrange your furniture – In many homes, couches face the television or are pushed against the wall; it just makes living easier. But, home buyers like to believe that whatever property they purchase will provide the ideal lifestyle. Create furniture clusters that allow people to engage in conversation or prepare meals while still assisting with homework or chatting with their partners. You’re selling a lifestyle as well as your property.

Neutral is naturally calming – Plain walls and white linens may not be the way you want to see the world, but it’s exactly how buyers want to see your house. When everything is neutral – from the walls to the furnishings – buyers can imagine their furniture and family making a home in the space. A little pop of color doesn’t hurt, as long as it’s not glaring. At the very least, paint that bright orange wall and put color-coordinated comforters on the beds.

Best foot forward – While many home buyers start their search online, which makes your listing photos either an invitation or a “keep out!” sign. They will decide whether or not to visit your home based on the photos. By staging both the interior and exterior, those photos will make them want to jump in the car and drive over.

Of course, the more you can spend, the easier it is to stage your home. But even these basics can transform your property, allowing that lovely, homey feeling to sway potential buyers as soon as they see it.