If you are selling your house, the place has to look its best so buyers can see its potential and imagine themselves living there. That is what home staging is all about. The good news is that you can get it done for a lot less money. Here are five ideas:

Stash away your personal items

Packing away your personal stuff, such as pictures, sports memorabilia, even religious items, is one of the easiest, things you can do to stage your house. Prospective buyers may have a hard time envisioning themselves in the house if they are surrounded by photos of your family. Besides attracting a buyer, “you want the buyer’s agent to enjoy showing the home,” said Jennifer Radice, a Boca Raton, Fla., Realtor.

Clear all that clutter

Decluttering is another simple way to get buyers to focus on the bones of the house.

Radice recommends clearing off kitchen and bathroom countertops. “If you have kids, get rid of the toys all around the house. For all you know, the buyers could be empty-nesters,” Radice said. She suggests packing that stuff in boxes and neatly stacking them in a corner of the garage.

Rearrange rooms and give them purpose

Rearrange the rooms in your home and make sure each room has a distinct purpose. If your home has been painted recently, you are ahead of the game. If not, take a paintbrush to the rooms that need it most. Sellers who paint the interior of their home will see a large return on the investment, said Jessica Page, a broker in the Denver area.


Scrub and deodorize

No one wants to visit a dirty house, especially prospective buyers. So make sure your house is squeaky clean.

“When buyers see an unkempt home or smell something when they first walk in, they become turned off immediately,” Page said. “They can rarely see past it to look at all of the great features in the home.” Radice suggests having the house professionally cleaned so that everything is spotless.

Enhance your curb appeal

“Curb appeal is just as important as cleaning the inside of the home,” Page said. Mow the lawn, make sure the sidewalk and driveway are free of clutter and debris, and make sure the house number is easy to see. You may need to pressure-clean your driveway. Another valuable low-cost solution? Mulch. “It makes everything look trim and neat,” Radice said.