TORONTO - So you've decided to take the plunge and make 2013 the year to sell your home.

Maybe you want to move up the property ladder into something roomier, say switching from a condo to a bungalow or from a semi into a fully detached two-storey with plenty of yard.

Or perhaps wandering through bedrooms left unoccupied by grown-up kids has made you admit it's time to downsize to a smaller, more manageable abode.

Whatever the motivation for sticking up the "For Sale" sign, some of Canada's best-known on-air designers and realtors are pitching in with five things you can do to change that sign to "Sold."

1. Get ruthless: Go room to room, decluttering and depersonalizing.

"Selling your house is about taking your personality out of it and having people going through it envisioning their own life and personality," says Candice Olson, host of "Candice Tells All" on W Network.

That means doing a bit of a purge, agrees designer Jillian Harris, co-host with realtor Todd Talbot of the series "Love It or List It Vancouver," debuting Jan. 7 on the same network.

"Even if you don't plan on throwing things away, you've got to get all of the clutter out of your house," says Harris, who advises packing rarely used household items, overabundant decorative doodads and off-season clothing in containers, then storing them in the garage or at a friend's or family member's house.

That includes packing away most, if not all, of those framed family photos bedecking side tables and the fireplace mantel, and taking down that gallery of magnet-held children's artwork covering the fridge.

Even wall art should be assessed with an eye towards prospective buyers, says Olson.

"Art is very personal, but mirrors aren't. Mirrors are great for adding depth and dimension and visual space and light. So I think walking in and seeing a console and a beautiful mirror over top, it's non-committal art, with all the great things that a mirror does."

RELATED: The Most Expensive Houses For Sale In Canada

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  • Newfoundland: $2.5 Million

    This surprisingly modest house at 34 Battery Road in St. John's is a historic property dating back to the 1870s. The six-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house overlooks St. John's Harbour and suggests that, on the Rock, even the wealthy are down-to-earth. Source: <a href="http://remax.nf.ca/">Re/Max</a>

  • Newfoundland: $2.5 Million

    This surprisingly modest house at 34 Battery Road in St. John's is a historic property dating back to the 1870s. The six-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house overlooks St. John's Harbour and suggests that, on the Rock, even the wealthy are down-to-earth. Source: <a href="http://remax.nf.ca/">Re/Max</a>

  • Newfoundland: $2.5 Million

    This surprisingly modest house at 34 Battery Road in St. John's is a historic property dating back to the 1870s. The six-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house overlooks St. John's Harbour and suggests that, on the Rock, even the wealthy are down-to-earth. Source: <a href="http://remax.nf.ca/">Re/Max</a>

  • Prince Edward Island: $6.9 Million

    If Anne of Green Gables were around today sh'ed probably want to switch up her seven-gabled house for this 13,000-square-foot home that overlooks the red-earth bluffs of P.E.I.'s north coast. Six bedrooms and nine bathrooms feature in this house that sits on 11 acres of land. Source: <a href="http://www.century21pei.com/">Century 21 Northumberland</a>

  • Prince Edward Island: $6.9 Million

    If Anne of Green Gables were around today sh'ed probably want to switch up her seven-gabled house for this 13,000-square-foot home that overlooks the red-earth bluffs of P.E.I.'s north coast. Six bedrooms and nine bathrooms feature in this house that sits on 11 acres of land. Source: <a href="http://www.century21pei.com/">Century 21 Northumberland</a>

  • Prince Edward Island: $6.9 Million

    If Anne of Green Gables were around today sh'ed probably want to switch up her seven-gabled house for this 13,000-square-foot home that overlooks the red-earth bluffs of P.E.I.'s north coast. Six bedrooms and nine bathrooms feature in this house that sits on 11 acres of land. Source: <a href="http://www.century21pei.com/">Century 21 Northumberland</a>

  • Prince Edward Island: $6.9 Million

    If Anne of Green Gables were around today sh'ed probably want to switch up her seven-gabled house for this 13,000-square-foot home that overlooks the red-earth bluffs of P.E.I.'s north coast. Six bedrooms and nine bathrooms feature in this house that sits on 11 acres of land. Source: <a href="http://www.century21pei.com/">Century 21 Northumberland</a>

  • New Brunswick: $2.5 Million

    You can really get some space for your money in New Brunswick. This 20-bedroom, 11-bathroom resort in Alma, N.B. — composed of three buildings including a chalet — sits on no fewer than 450 acres of land, next to Fundy National Park. There is a 40-acre man-made lake on the property, as well as four islands, picnic areas, row boats, paddle boats, tennis courts amd two garages. Source: <a href="http://www.monctonroyallepage.ca/">Royal LePage Moncton</a>

  • New Brunswick: $2.5 Million

    You can really get some space for your money in New Brunswick. This 20-bedroom, 11-bathroom resort in Alma, N.B. — composed of three buildings including a chalet — sits on no fewer than 450 acres of land, next to Fundy National Park. There is a 40-acre man-made lake on the property, as well as four islands, picnic areas, row boats, paddle boats, tennis courts amd two garages. Source: <a href="http://www.monctonroyallepage.ca/">Royal LePage Moncton</a>

  • New Brunswick: $2.5 Million

    You can really get some space for your money in New Brunswick. This 20-bedroom, 11-bathroom resort in Alma, N.B. — composed of three buildings including a chalet — sits on no fewer than 450 acres of land, next to Fundy National Park. There is a 40-acre man-made lake on the property, as well as four islands, picnic areas, row boats, paddle boats, tennis courts amd two garages. Source: <a href="http://www.monctonroyallepage.ca/">Royal LePage Moncton</a>

  • New Brunswick: $2.5 Million

    You can really get some space for your money in New Brunswick. This 20-bedroom, 11-bathroom resort in Alma, N.B. — composed of three buildings including a chalet — sits on no fewer than 450 acres of land, next to Fundy National Park. There is a 40-acre man-made lake on the property, as well as four islands, picnic areas, row boats, paddle boats, tennis courts amd two garages. Source: <a href="http://www.monctonroyallepage.ca/">Royal LePage Moncton</a>

  • Nova Scotia: $6.7 Million

    This newly-built, 6,000-square-foot house in Ketch Harbour, N.S., sits on the granite shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and features "a series of interlocking pavilions constructed of reinforced concrete and window walls of star fire glass to capture the amazing, endless ocean views," as the realtor describes it. Only three bedrooms in this house, but what a view. Source: <a href="http://www.tradewindsrealty.com/">Tradewinds Realty</a>

  • Nova Scotia: $6.7 Million

    This newly-built, 6,000-square-foot house in Ketch Harbour, N.S., sits on the granite shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and features "a series of interlocking pavilions constructed of reinforced concrete and window walls of star fire glass to capture the amazing, endless ocean views," as the realtor describes it. Only three bedrooms in this house, but what a view. Source: <a href="http://www.tradewindsrealty.com/">Tradewinds Realty</a>

  • Nova Scotia: $6.7 Million

    This newly-built, 6,000-square-foot house in Ketch Harbour, N.S., sits on the granite shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and features "a series of interlocking pavilions constructed of reinforced concrete and window walls of star fire glass to capture the amazing, endless ocean views," as the realtor describes it. Only three bedrooms in this house, but what a view. Source: <a href="http://www.tradewindsrealty.com/">Tradewinds Realty</a>

  • Quebec: $18.9 Million

    The realtor selling this property suggests you may want to build a heliport to get to this 200-acre estate located in a secluded corner of Quebec's eastern townships. There are several houses on this site, the main one being built in 1927. Another building is described as a "three-season chalet" and is located next to the 120-foot dock on Lake Mephramagog. The property features multiple garages, including a 40-foot-long one. The whole place is so ritzy that a barn on the property was declared a historical site. Source: <a href="http://passerelle.centris.ca/Redirect2.aspx?CodeDest=JMONTANARO&NoMls=MT10764029&Source=WWW.REALTOR.CA&Langue=E">Centris</a>

  • Quebec: $18.9 Million

    The realtor selling this property suggests you may want to build a heliport to get to this 200-acre estate located in a secluded corner of Quebec's eastern townships. There are several houses on this site, the main one being built in 1927. Another building is described as a "three-season chalet" and is located next to the 120-foot dock on Lake Mephramagog. The property features multiple garages, including a 40-foot-long one. The whole place is so ritzy that a barn on the property was declared a historical site. Source: <a href="http://passerelle.centris.ca/Redirect2.aspx?CodeDest=JMONTANARO&NoMls=MT10764029&Source=WWW.REALTOR.CA&Langue=E">Centris</a>

  • Quebec: $18.9 Million

    The realtor selling this property suggests you may want to build a heliport to get to this 200-acre estate located in a secluded corner of Quebec's eastern townships. There are several houses on this site, the main one being built in 1927. Another building is described as a "three-season chalet" and is located next to the 120-foot dock on Lake Mephramagog. The property features multiple garages, including a 40-foot-long one. The whole place is so ritzy that a barn on the property was declared a historical site. Source: <a href="http://passerelle.centris.ca/Redirect2.aspx?CodeDest=JMONTANARO&NoMls=MT10764029&Source=WWW.REALTOR.CA&Langue=E">Centris</a>

  • Ontario: $17.9 Million

    This six-bedroom house sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oakville, near Toronto. Situated on 3.2 acres, it has 185 feet of waterfront and a boat house. The property features a triple car garage, a foyer of Italian limestone and a two-story living room. Security cameras can be controlled by way of a security panel. And the view from the back-yard pool can't be beat. Source: <a href="http://www.remaxaboutowne.com/">Re/Max Aboutowne</a>

  • Ontario: $17.9 Million

    This six-bedroom house sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oakville, near Toronto. Situated on 3.2 acres, it has 185 feet of waterfront and a boat house. The property features a triple car garage, a foyer of Italian limestone and a two-story living room. Security cameras can be controlled by way of a security panel. And the view from the back-yard pool can't be beat. Source: <a href="http://www.remaxaboutowne.com/">Re/Max Aboutowne</a>

  • Ontario: $17.9 Million

    This six-bedroom house sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oakville, near Toronto. Situated on 3.2 acres, it has 185 feet of waterfront and a boat house. The property features a triple car garage, a foyer of Italian limestone and a two-story living room. Security cameras can be controlled by way of a security panel. And the view from the back-yard pool can't be beat. Source: <a href="http://www.remaxaboutowne.com/">Re/Max Aboutowne</a>

  • Manitoba: $2.9 Million

    That this 6,000-square-foot house is listed at $2.9 million is a testament to the (relative) affordability of Winnipeg real estate. "On entry you are greeted by an impressive foyer, soaring ceilings, curved staircase and grand principal rooms that are perfectly suited to entertaining," the realtor fawns. The four-bedroom house features an office and a media room, among many other amenities. Source: <a href="http://agents.royallepage.ca/winnipeg">Royal LePage Dynamic</a>

  • Manitoba: $2.9 Million

    That this 6,000-square-foot house is listed at $2.9 million is a testament to the (relative) affordability of Winnipeg real estate. "On entry you are greeted by an impressive foyer, soaring ceilings, curved staircase and grand principal rooms that are perfectly suited to entertaining," the realtor fawns. The four-bedroom house features an office and a media room, among many other amenities. Source: <a href="http://agents.royallepage.ca/winnipeg">Royal LePage Dynamic</a>

  • Manitoba: $2.9 Million

    That this 6,000-square-foot house is listed at $2.9 million is a testament to the (relative) affordability of Winnipeg real estate. "On entry you are greeted by an impressive foyer, soaring ceilings, curved staircase and grand principal rooms that are perfectly suited to entertaining," the realtor fawns. The four-bedroom house features an office and a media room, among many other amenities. Source: <a href="http://agents.royallepage.ca/winnipeg">Royal LePage Dynamic</a>

  • Manitoba: $2.9 Million

    That this 6,000-square-foot house is listed at $2.9 million is a testament to the (relative) affordability of Winnipeg real estate. "On entry you are greeted by an impressive foyer, soaring ceilings, curved staircase and grand principal rooms that are perfectly suited to entertaining," the realtor fawns. The four-bedroom house features an office and a media room, among many other amenities. Source: <a href="http://agents.royallepage.ca/winnipeg">Royal LePage Dynamic</a>

  • Saskatchewan: $2.7 Million

    Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three outdoor decks feature in this 4,600-square-foot home in Saskatoon. The coolest feature in this house may be the split staircase to second floor. The basement media room features an ornate bar and a huge projection screen. Source: <a href="http://www.suttonsaskatoon.com/">Sutton Group Saskatoon</a>

  • Saskatchewan: $2.7 Million

    Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three outdoor decks feature in this 4,600-square-foot home in Saskatoon. The coolest feature in this house may be the split staircase to second floor. The basement media room features an ornate bar and a huge projection screen. Source: <a href="http://www.suttonsaskatoon.com/">Sutton Group Saskatoon</a>

  • Saskatchewan: $2.7 Million

    Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three outdoor decks feature in this 4,600-square-foot home in Saskatoon. The coolest feature in this house may be the split staircase to second floor. The basement media room features an ornate bar and a huge projection screen. Source: <a href="http://www.suttonsaskatoon.com/">Sutton Group Saskatoon</a>

  • Saskatchewan: $2.7 Million

    Four bedrooms, seven bathrooms and three outdoor decks feature in this 4,600-square-foot home in Saskatoon. The coolest feature in this house may be the split staircase to second floor. The basement media room features an ornate bar and a huge projection screen. Source: <a href="http://www.suttonsaskatoon.com/">Sutton Group Saskatoon</a>

  • Alberta: $12.7 Million

    This house, featured in Architectural Digest, sits in beautiful Canmore, on the edge of the Rockies, and has six bedrooms and 10 baths. The property features multiple "outdoor living rooms" (think ornate decks) to enjoy the view. For those into medieval intrigue, there is a hidden staircase running to the underground wine cellar. Source: <a href="http://www.rlfoothills.com/">Royal LePage Foothills</a>

  • Alberta: $12.7 Million

    This house, featured in Architectural Digest, sits in beautiful Canmore, on the edge of the Rockies, and has six bedrooms and 10 baths. The property features multiple "outdoor living rooms" (think ornate decks) to enjoy the view. For those into medieval intrigue, there is a hidden staircase running to the underground wine cellar. Source: <a href="http://www.rlfoothills.com/">Royal LePage Foothills</a>

  • Alberta: $12.7 Million

    This house, featured in Architectural Digest, sits in beautiful Canmore, on the edge of the Rockies, and has six bedrooms and 10 baths. The property features multiple "outdoor living rooms" (think ornate decks) to enjoy the view. For those into medieval intrigue, there is a hidden staircase running to the underground wine cellar. Source: <a href="http://www.rlfoothills.com/">Royal LePage Foothills</a>

  • British Columbia: $34 Million

    The most expensive house in Canada's priciest (and fastest-falling) real estate market features four bedrooms and six baths on 8,500 square feet, as well as a very cool boat house. But in a sign of the weakening of Vancouver's housing market, this property in ritzy West Vancouver has been on the market for some time — it featured as the most expensive house for sale in all of Canada the last time we put together this survey, in June 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.angellhasman.ca/">Angell Hasman Realty</a>

  • British Columbia: $34 Million

    The most expensive house in Canada's priciest (and fastest-falling) real estate market features four bedrooms and six baths on 8,500 square feet, as well as a very cool boat house. But in a sign of the weakening of Vancouver's housing market, this property in ritzy West Vancouver has been on the market for some time — it featured as the most expensive house for sale in all of Canada the last time we put together this survey, in June 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.angellhasman.ca/">Angell Hasman Realty</a>

  • British Columbia: $34 Million

    The most expensive house in Canada's priciest (and fastest-falling) real estate market features four bedrooms and six baths on 8,500 square feet, as well as a very cool boat house. But in a sign of the weakening of Vancouver's housing market, this property in ritzy West Vancouver has been on the market for some time — it featured as the most expensive house for sale in all of Canada the last time we put together this survey, in June 2012. Source: <a href="http://www.angellhasman.ca/">Angell Hasman Realty</a>

2. Kitchen and bathroom: They're the heart of the home, so make sure they show to their best advantage.

"It's not a cliche, it's truth: kitchens and bathrooms sell homes," says Hilary Farr, the designer half of the stay-or-sell duo on the original Toronto-based "Love It or List It."

Farr says spending mega bucks on an all-out kitchen reno aimed at upping your asking price — and one you don't get to enjoy for long — can backfire if the space doesn't align with buyers' tastes. And it may not result in a higher selling price, she warns.

Instead, Farr suggests painting or refacing kitchen cabinets and perhaps changing up the backsplash, a minimal area that nevertheless can deliver a visual punch.

"So you can give your kitchen a wallop in terms of style ... (with) not too much money, and you don't have to do any demolition."

Olson agrees, saying episodes on her show featuring kitchen facelifts are rated No. 1 by viewers.

"We do a lot of facelifts on the show with refacing cabinetry using the existing bones," she says, but even freshening up cabinetry with paint and updated hardware can give a kitchen a whole new look.

"There are paints for countertops, backsplashes, cabinets. It's about the right preparation for all those surfaces. These are real budget makeovers, but selling a house is about impressions."

When deciding whether the bathroom needs a do-over, Olson suggests homeowners ask themselves: "Is the juice worth the squeeze?"

"I don't want people to go in and completely retile their bathrooms," she says, again recommending a facelift that won't break the bank. That could be as simple as repainting walls and trim (neutral colours are usually best when selling) and modernizing light fixtures.

"Lighting is key. It's easy to wire up a couple of bathroom sconces."

3. Welcome home: Present a clean, inviting space reminiscent of a hotel suite, one that would-be buyers want to stay in — permanently.

Worn-out hardwood floors should be refinished to a glossy sheen, or if still in good shape, they should be clean and gleaming, says Farr. "They're the biggest area in your home and they're the first thing that strike you when you walk in the front door."

Beds should look as if nobody has slept in them the night before, so a crisply made bed with plumped up pillows and shams are de rigueur, she says.

"Same in your bathrooms: fresh towels, fresh flowers, fresh soaps. Dress it up, make it look like the best hotel room you've ever seen, whether in reality or in a magazine."

In the kitchen, countertops should be antiseptically clean and devoid of clutter, but adorned with an eye-catching vase of flowers and a bowl of fresh oranges, "which also put a beautiful scent into the air."

Jonathan and Drew Scott, the "Property Brothers," recommend hiring a home stager to make your house stand out from other listings in the neighbourhood.

"Staging is such a crucial part of it," says Drew, a realtor who finds potential properties for clients, which twin Jonathan then renovates for the show. "It's just as important as any sort of renovation, because if a buyer can't walk into a space and picture themselves living there, they're not going to give you top dollar, for one, and they might just turn and walk away."

"You can stage with a lot of your own furniture," adds Jonathan. "On our show, we don't get rid of everybody's furniture. I can usually reuse about 50 per cent of their furniture. Some of the stuff, we may reupholster it, we may paint it."

Bringing in a stager doesn't have to be expensive, and the money spent is usually more than recouped with a higher selling price, says Drew. "A good home stager will work with your budget."

RELATED: What's Your Paint Personality?

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  • Where are you most comfortable spending your weekends?

    a) A rustic cabin far away from city life b) Bar-hopping to all of the city's new hotspots c) Trying out a new restaurant off the beaten path d) Riding the tallest, fastest roller coaster all day long at an amusement park

  • How would you describe your wardrobe?

    a) Yoga-sexy b) Right off the runway c) Eclectic chic d) Business Class

  • What is your favourite room at home?

    a) Bedroom b) Living Room c) Kitchen d) Home office

  • What is your optimal travel destination?

    a) Hawaii b) New York c) Jamaica d) Hong Kong

  • Which is your favourite type of car?

    a) Prius b) Fiat c) Land Rover d) BMW M3

  • What is your favourite colour Smartie?

    a) Brown b) Red c) Orange d) Blue

  • Inhale Palette Overview (Mostly A's)

    This palette focusses on the importance of an intimate space to nest and nurture balance. Given the chaos of our economy, we're naturally drawn to organic textures, comforting earth-tone shades of rust-worn bronze, and the rich, regenerating colours of golden sunrises. The trend palette used here is neutral, but soulful, with muted overtones that bathe the room with measured calm. Your celeb designer match is network design stylist <a href="http://www.hgtv.ca/hometoflip/team.aspx?categoryid=4714935160811510509" target="_hplink">Elizabeth Wharnsby</a>.

  • Urbanage Palette Overview (Mostly B's)

    Our cities are evolving, and city-dwellers' tastes in colour are more grown up. They speak to a sophistication that's posh and polished. The reflective surfaces in the room combine a dramatic backdrop of cityscape green, softened with cream hazes and accented with pale seafoam and smoky mauve, to express a distinct metropolitan vibe. The palette feels well-heeled and well-honed. Your celeb designer match is television design personality <a href="http://www.ambroseprice.ca/Ambrose_Price.html" target="_hplink">Ambrose Price</a>.

  • Rhythm Palette Overview (Mostly C's)

    Design trends are now as global as commerce and culture. As a Canadian company, it's not surprising that PARA has responded with a bold and eclectic collection that shows a strong multicultural influence. This hybrid palette pairs spicy oranges and yellows that pulse with island rhythms and mouth-watering purples of homemade preserves. The effect is primal and evocative of tribal adornments, but with a luxurious regal flair. Your celeb designer match is celebrity trend designer/Publisher <a href="http://marcatiyolil.com/" target="_hplink">Marc Atiyolil</a>.

  • Digital Palette Overview (Mostly D's)

    This palette expresses a vibrant, youthful, futuristic glow that's very now. The palette is alive and playful, immediately satisfying and stimulating. It reflects our thirst for quick access to information. We've charged this palette of modern greys, blacks and reds with a luminous optical energy that inspires creative clarity. These are high-speed hues that give sharp definition to a room's style and sense of form and function. Your celeb designer match is celebrity design host <a href="http://www.wnetwork.com/Shows/Take-This-House-and-Sell-It/CastBios.aspx" target="_hplink">Glenn Dixon</a>.

4. Price it right!

"One of the big things for 2013, if we see (the housing market) levelling off, is people pricing their properties right," stresses realtor David Visentin, Farr's partner on "Love It or List It."

"And that means investigating what your home is worth and not just throwing it out there at a price that makes you warm and fuzzy. Because things aren't selling the way they used to."

Drew Scott agrees, saying homeowners need to put aside their emotions. "This is a business transaction. You have to be realistic and that means having a realtor, an agent that can come in and give you a non-biased opinion as to the value of your home."

Todd Talbot, the realtor co-host of "Love It or List It Vancouver," says the West Coast city has seen price reductions on listings in the last few months, with homeowners dropping their asking price two or three times — a big change compared to a year ago.

"There wasn't a sense of competition before, but now you are actually competing for fewer buyers. And if you want to have your place sell, you need to make sure it looks better than the rest ... I think that the success is in the details, especially when it is officially a buyer's market."

5. Curb appeal: You only get one chance to make a first impression.

While the emphasis may be on dazzling would-be buyers with your home's interior, don't neglect the outside, the experts advise.

"Bump that up," says Visentin, "because you want to make sure that no buyer that goes by your house doesn't want to look at it.

"Paint the garage door or railing, put in shrubbery in the spring, make sure the grass is always cut. It's not expensive but it makes people look twice."