When listing your home for sale, you may think that you need to spend a lot of money to renovate the home before going on the market, but before you do, make sure you’ve made these small improvements that cost little to no money!

Light and bright! Avoid showing your home s drab or dreary – replace any burned out light bulbs with new white-light/daylight bulbs and have all lights on for showings.¬†Wash your windows, inside and out! Open your window coverings (unless it’s concealing a less than desirable view!) or remove them completely. Rooms are larger when the eye can extend out of the window.

Clean up! The way you live may not be the way you sell your home. We love model homes because no one lives in them! They are staged perfectly. There is no clutter! CLEAN WELL! If you want to be sure it’s clean, hire a professional or ask a friend to help. Sometimes it’s easier for someone else to see our dirt. Plan time to de-clutter the house. You’re going to be moving, so go room by room, closet by closet, and start packing belongings that you don’t plan to use for the next several months. Moving is also the perfect time to donate unused items that still have value, but not to you!

Neutralize. Remove, replace, or repaint anything that is too “taste-specific”. You might love your purple walls, but the buyer might be too distracted by the color, to even notice the upgrades in the room! Remove most personal photographs, especially larger portraits over fireplaces or in the main living areas, and replace them with neutral art. Less is more.

Keep it sanitary. This means toilet seats down, empty all trash cans, and conceal/remove trash cans as possible. Make the beds, remove shoes from the entryway and remove all signs of pets (including food bowls, beds, etc.). If it’s been more than six months since your carpets were cleaned, it’s time!! Tile and grout is often overlooked, but buyers will notice it! Get it professionally cleaned as well.

Keep it minimal. Clear kitchen countertops, leaving only one appliance per countertop area. Countertop microwaves should be moved out of sight. Remove everything displayed on the fridge. We love our kids’ pictures, art work, magnets and coupons, but put them somewhere else while your house is on the market! Clear off the fireplace mantel and remove table coverings. In the bathrooms, put out the best towels and remove just about everything on the counters – just leave out a few decorative items or a plant arrangement. Empty the shower of shampoos, etc. and make sure it’s clean! Keep the rugs/floor coverings to a minimum.

Keep it safe. You’ll probably remember to lock up the valuables and any weapons, but… did you know that the #1 item reported stolen while a house is on the market is…. prescription medications?!! Lock them up too or take them with you. I already mentioned it, but removing photos of children and personalized art work (children’s names in big letters on the wall) is also recommended. Photos of your home will be all over the internet and it’s advisable not to draw attention to the personal details of your children.

Don’t forget the exterior! Move the trash cans out of sight. Coil the watering hose, open up umbrellas, set out colorful cushions! Uncover the spa and the BBQ and make sure they sparkle! Bright flowers out front or by the front door can really add some color. Make sure to put gardening tools and children’s smaller toys away (even in the back yard) and don’t forget to clean up after Fido!

The biggest bang for your buck? Paint! If you aren’t sure what color to use to neutralize your home, ask your Realtor or watch HGTV. Your favorite painter can also direct you in the right direction. When you paint, don’t skimp on the details. Make sure doors, baseboards and ceilings get a fresh coat too!

My second favorite update is lighting. Replace coach lights outside or install pendant lights inside – or better yet – if your bathroom still screams of Hollywood make-up artist tables, replace them!!

If your kitchen is really outdated, then consider adding hardware to the cupboards for a little sparkle, or replacing the sink and faucet to give it a fresh look.

There are lots of other ways you can make small improvements without breaking the bank. If you keep up on maintenance on your house, then you won’t be hit with big repairs when you sell either… if you have questions, you should be able to consult with your Realtor. If you don’t have a trusted Realtor… we’re here to help!