DIY StagingStaging your home, the act of preparing your home to make it more appealing to potential buyers, can be highly beneficial. After all, first impressions are extremely important! The way your home is staged (or isn't) can help a potential buyer decide whether or not they can picture themselves in that home, and can be a make-it-or-break-it factor.

But is it always worth it to hire a professional stager? Today, there are companies that specialize in transforming homes in the most marketable way possible. However, staging can be quite expensive. Most realtors recommend hiring a professional stager when your sale price is at least $500K or higher.

Generally, there are certain small things that sellers can do themselves to appeal to potential buyers. If you are considering staging your own home, check out these helpful tips from actual real estate agents designed to give you the best return on your investment:

The First Impression is the Last Impression Porches and front entryways are the first things a potential buyer sees, and are considered the most important parts of staging. Make sure the front areas of your home are clean, welcoming, and visible from the street.

Remove Personal Items While your home may hold many special memories for you and your family, potential buyers are looking for a place to create their own! Remove personal items (like family photos) and replace with neutral decorations (like a city skyline) so buyers can see themselves in your home.

De-Clutter You have probably lived in your home for a while, so it's reasonable to expect your home to be full to the brim. Many agents suggest investing in a temporary storage unit and clearing space in your home, so the home appears more open and inviting to potential buyers.

Clean No one wants to buy something that looks dirty and used! After de-cluttering, consider hiring a service to deep clean your home (for instance, get your carpets washed or bleach your tub).