While luxurious textiles and well-placed greenery can grab a buyer’s attention for a moment or two, most people searching for a home will tell you that the kitchen is one of the biggest make-or-break factors influencing whether or not they make an offer. It makes sense, of course.

Kitchens usually end up being the heart of the home. Whether it’s where your kids gather for an after-school snack and a daily update, or where you spend a long, lingering evening cooking your favourite dinner for two, keeping your kitchen in optimal shape lets buyers see themselves and their families in the same space, making it more likely that they’ll make an offer.

Here’s how to keep your kitchen looking its best:

Get rid of strong scents.
Kitchens are a magnet for strong odours, whether it’s a garbage pail that needs a scrubbing or an oven that still smells like last night’s salmon dish. Air your kitchen out before an open house and consider adding a subtle essential oil diffuser or a scented candle.

It’s hard to go wrong with stainless steel.
If you’re interested in investing in some upgrades, consider opting for stainless steel appliances, which are still some of the most in-demand with buyers. Failing that, ensure that your stovetop, oven and fridge are spotless.

Tidy and de-personalize.
While your personal trinkets and fridge magnet photographs may hold great personal meaning, an ideally staged home lets buyers imagine themselves in the space. Remove any personal effects from the room and declutter the counters. A simple vase of flowers or a bowl of fruit makes a great accent, but other than that, keep decorations minimal.