Think you're ready for the open house? Consider this: "Architecturally interesting homes in immaculate shape can be shown empty," notes designer Applewhite. But in general, "people look for a homey kind of a feel," adds real estate agent Kohn. And that's homey, not homely. If the bulk of your furniture isn't attractive, don't hesitate to have it staged (propped with attractive rental furniture). "We're even seeing that done in the inexpensive condo market," she says.