It doesn’t matter how new or how old your home is. With a little elbow grease and a few simple “spruce-ups” your house could look like the home of a buyer’s dream.

Most improvements can be easily achieved without a lot of time or expense. Just follow these simple suggestions, and get ready for prospective buyers to beat a path to your door.

SELL IT A LOT FASTER, AND MAKE A LITTLE MORE

Investing just a few dollars can help you get the most money for your home. If the carpet looks a little dingy, get it cleaned or replaced if necessary. Put a new coat of paint on the inside, and outside if needed. Make small repairs that can appear to be big problems to a potential buyer, such as replacing any thermal windows that are fogged or rehanging louvered closet doors. Such repairs really pay off, because 90 percent of all buyers don’t want to spend the money or the effort on fixing up their new home.

MAKE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION

If your front door makes a really poor first impression, replace it. This is the first thing they see, and that will set the tone for the rest of the home tour. If the front door is all right, just make sure it’s freshly-painted and clean. keep your lawn trimmed and edged, and get rid of any clutter. Better yet, drive by and try to look at your home’s exterior as if for the first time. If anything seems like it might hinder a buyer, correct it.

KEEP YOUR HOME BRIGHT AND CHEERY

Dark rooms have little appeal, so be sure to turn on as many lights throughout the house during a home tour as possible–whether it’s dark or sunny outside. If the weather’s cold and rainy and you have a fireplace, a warm toasty fire is also a nice touch.

MAKE A CLEAN BREAK

It’s a well-known fact–clean houses sell faster. Make sure you have cooperation from everyone in the family to keep their own personal spaces neat and clean. Remember, you never know when the right person is going to come along, so your house needs to always be spotless. That way, you can be ready for a home tour at a moment’s notice.

GET BACK TO WIDE OPEN SPACES

This is the time to clean out your closets, get rid of the clutter, and even remove some furniture if it makes your house look cramped. Actually, it’s good for you because it gives you a jump start on your move. Hold a garage sale to get rid of those things you don’t need, or store boxes and furnishings you won’t be using while your home’s on the market. The more open the rooms and the less packed the closets, the bigger your whole house will appear.

FOLLOW YOUR NOSE

You may absolutely love smoked fish or liver and onions, but it can be a real turn-off for some people. While your home’s for sale, try to prepare foods that don’t leave a lingering odor in the kitchen. Model home decorators know a little cinnamon potpourri simmering on the stove is a great way to give any kitchen a fresh, welcome scent.

THE HEART OF YOUR HOME CAN MAKE THE SALE

The kitchen is the most used, and often the most important room in anyone’s home. Women are often the ultimate decision-makers in what home to buy and the kitchen is the key to whether they like your home. Make sure your kitchen is always spotless, free of dirty dishes, and inviting. People even draw conclusions about the condition of the entire house just by looking at your oven. If your refrigerator stays with the home, make sure it’s sparkling as well.

KEEP A CLEAN BATHROOM

Bathrooms are very important to any home sale, since buyers look at them very closely. Fix any leaky faucets and make sure the toilet doesn’t continuously run. Be sure everyone picks up their towels, and cleans the basins and tubs after use. New shower curtains are a must, and special “guest” towels that are only displayed during showings add a memorable touch as well.

PLAY IT SAFE

Check every room in your home for hazards, like potentially slippery throw rugs or exposed extension cords. Keep stairways clear. If you have a dog or cat, it’s best to remove them during any showing because many people are either afraid or allergic.

USE SHOWINGS FOR SOME TIME AWAY

Potential buyers will whisk through your home if there’s a crowd. Many feel embarrassed asking what may seem like “personal” questions about how the home functions. Trust your Realtor to do his or her job. After all, they’ve spent a lot of time with these people and can show your home objectively.

START PACKING

Once you’ve done all the above, the only thing left to do is get ready to move yourself. With these simple preparations, you could be moving into a new home of your own in a flash!