Home staging experts say every homeowner who intends on showing her home to prospective buyers must, above all else, do one thing to prep the home for a tour:
Find an objective eye to give the place a look.
But new scientific findings, MSNBC reports, suggest that one piece of decor might have your hapless volunteer struggling to keep his or her balance, or even running to the washroom.
Researchers have concluded that a black-and-white patterned rug appears to have the ability to induce "motion-sickness-like symptoms," according to a study in the scientific journal Perception.
"We were surprised at how quickly people experienced symptoms -- within five minutes," Frederick Bonato, one of the study's authors, told MSNBC.
Speaking to AOL Real Estate, he added: "I probably wouldn't buy that carpet."
Bonato and his colleague Andrea Bubka, who researched motion sickness, conducted the study by asking 22 college students to stare at a photo of the rug and a photo of a gray poster for five minutes on separate occasions.
Completing a motion-sickness questionnaire after the tests, students reported feeling much more off-kilter after gazing at the rug.
The researchers became originally interested in the rug, MSNBC reports, after a colleague told them that he and his wife began to experience headaches when they stared at the mat. The owner of the mat disposed of the rug, but also told his colleagues about his experience, prompting them to launch the study.
"We kind of did it almost for kicks," Bonato told AOL Real Estate.
The lesson? If you're on a mission to offload your home, watch out for black-and-white checkered patterns like the one above (though don't look at them too long).
After all, according to researchers Bonato and Bubka, the pattern could be found on an array of furnishings and decor, including one that could be particularly dizzying: wallpaper.
Home sellers who own furnishings with the offending pattern could seriously undercut their efforts to sell.
That's why, experts tell us, in order to prep your home for a tour, you must "depersonalize" it. That could mean shaking up years-old furniture layouts or removing heirlooms, family photos and mementos.
Also make sure you pay special attention to "curb appeal": your front yard and front entrance should be spotless -- and, as you're now well aware, should definitely not include a black-and-white checked welcome mat to greet house-hunters.
"It's not that it's just a carpet," Bonato said. "It's that regular, repeating pattern that seems to bother us."