One of the best investments you can make to ensure the home you’re selling gets a quick offer and achieves the highest sale value is staging the home. Research has shown that a staged homes sells three times faster than a non-staged home – and 70% of real estate agents stated that home staging increased the offer value on a house by up to 10%.

First impressions matter, so you want to make sure your home stands out the instant buyers pull up to the curb. Anne Carr of Los Angeles-based Anne Carr Design says that, “staging is important for two reasons. Most people cannot see beyond what is in front of them. They get caught up in past perceptions, so you need to show them what is possible.”

Decluttering your home is the first task to take on when home staging. Clutter is very distracting for buyers – their eyes will be drawn to your belongings and not the rooms. Clutter can make rooms look smaller and untidy. Try and free up as much surface space as you can on your shelves, coffee tables and especially in your kitchen. Investing in storage is a great idea as well, but you don’t want to overload it. Remember that buyers open cupboard doors, so do not have those overflowing.

Other tips for staging your home include other maintenance tasks such as fixing that dripping faucet, mend the guttering, fill any holes or cracks in the walls, repairing doors/hinges and anything that looks broken or doesn’t work that can steer buyers away. A fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference because it brightens up a room, can make a room look bigger and gives an overall appearance of a well-kept home. White, neutrals, naturals and pastels are the safest route in creating a space-enhancing feel for buyers.

Like mentioned before, decluttering and cleaning your kitchen is important, but there’s always other considerations to take such as remodeling. “A new kitchen has the most impact on a new buyer. It demonstrates to buyers that the house has been updated. You always recoup your investment from upgrading kitchen and baths,” says Anne Carr.

Starting to rework your home’s layout is another great way of increasing the eye appeal for buyers. You want your rooms to look their best, and not for practicality’s sake. For example, a table may be too close to a cabinet for proper opening and closing and that is only because we’re going for a balanced look. The same goes for television placements.

Remember accessories when staging a home. It’s not just about adding new pieces to your home, you may also need to rid of some well-loved furnishings too. Get rid of all of those stained rugs and furniture…it gives an overall bad feeling to prospects. It makes the home look beaten up. If you’re unable to replace it, there’s always the option of buying an inexpensive-sisal rugs and place them on top of the existing rug, advises Anne Carr.

Finally, stage your home with comfort in mind. Comfort is much more important because people will be staying in their homes for long-periods of time. Buyers want to see up-to-date furnishings that do not look too cold. For a while, a trend was to have everything white, but keep in mind that it also has to make people feel like their lifestyle could fit in with this on a daily basis, so it’s critical to not give any space an impersonal, hotel look.

So, what are some colors to use that will add pops of personality? The psychology of color says that the majority of people gravitate towards things that are blue. In more modern homes, a neutral pallet with more-black would be used compared to a farmhouse style.

Remember that staging a house is one of the easiest and best ways to add value. Home staging can be done yourself or through a professional home stager, which ultimately will make the process so much smoother, quicker and potentially more successful!