Help your buyers imagine themselves at home.

A home-stager can make a real difference in selling your home. That's according to the Profile of Home Staging by the National Association of Realtors®. In the report, the vast majority of surveyed agents expressed their belief that staging helps prospective buyers envision themselves living in the house. Nearly half said that this extra measure improves the likelihood that buyers will take a tour. But staging isn't cheap. What if you can't afford the $675 that® says is average?

Think about staging on your own. It's tricky, but you can do it. Just follow a few tips, and learn how to fake the look of a pro.

Clear out Everything

The first step in home staging is to make a blank slate, says Brett Caviness for®. Clear out closets, empty drawers, and give yourself and buyers all that space to survey. If you can't empty your belongings because you're still living there, go for as spare a look at possible. You want your home to look spacious.

Perhaps just as important, erase all of your personality from the property. That's what a home stager would do. Pack away all photos, and definitely remove personal items from the bathroom countertops and nightstands.

Paint in Neutrals

New paint is clean and clean is good. And although khaki isn't everyone's favorite color, they don't call it 'for-sale khaki' for nothing. Neutrals don't overpower, and they don't anchor your home in one specific decor light. Choose a moderately pale neutral to paint all of the walls. And round out the trim with fresh white, unless you have natural wood trim.

If you just can't bear the thought of any variety of tan, consider a newly popular neutral, which is gray. You can find grays in everything from mushroomy tones that lean toward taupe and those that look more blue. Just keep it light, because gray can also make rooms look dark and small.

Tell a Story with Decorations

It's ironic, but while you want to make your home look as if you don't live there, you also don't want it to look abandoned and vacant. That's where the real staging comes in. Each room should tell a story, says Caviness. You'll need furniture. But unless yours is brand new, it's probably a good idea to send it all to storage and rent furniture until the house sells.

In the kitchen, set the bar for breakfast or add a bowl of fresh fruit. Set the dining table for a nice meal. And if it's near a holiday, consider decorating for that. Fresh flowers in a vase, an open book on a table, and other details that look like home - just not your home - help buyers get a warmer feel.

Remember that the outdoors is an extension of your home.

Don't Forget About the Outdoors

Make your front porch look welcoming with a comfy chair or two, and add a new door mat. As for the patio or deck, dress those up with great outdoor furniture. Staging the outdoors helps buyers see the property to its fullest. Instead of a blank slate that adds nothing to the interior, patio furniture can help them think about their own family barbecues and kids playing in the backyard.

Be sure your outdoor furniture is in terrific shape, just like the indoors. It's better to have nothing outside than a mismatched set of worn chairs and a table that's seen better days. While you're at it, scrub the patio or deck.

In staging, remember that less is more. Space between hangers in the closet lets buyers see the potential for storage. The same applies to drawers and cupboards. A large painting is better than a collection of your favorite art. No matter where clutter happens, put it aside until the house sells.

While you can sell your home without any special effort, staging really is worth it. Learn even more ways to increase your sale price and boost your chance of selling faster with eppraisal home valuation articles.