Springtime ushers in lots of things—warmer weather, south swells, baseball and—typically—more homeowners listing their properties for sale.

With the spring homebuying season just around the corner, you may be thinking about putting your home up for sale. Now may be the time to list your home with strong demand from buyers and a limited number of properties on the market in most areas.

If you’re kicking around the idea of selling, you may be worried that there’s too much to do to get your house ready to market. But a few simple, relatively inexpensive steps can make a big difference when it comes time to show off your home to prospective buyers.

Many sellers use a professional “stager” to help make their home really look its best and get the greatest possible interest from buyers. These are the folks that make those model homes look so neat and beautiful with their arrangements of furniture, accessories, and gardens.

Using a professional stager may be the right move for you. But regardless of whether you decide to hire a stager or not, it may be appropriate to think like one when it comes time to get your home ready to put on the market:

  • Maximize Curb Appeal: The old saying is true: you only get once chance to make a good first impression. Make sure that the outside of your home looks as appealing as possible. Water and mow the lawn, trim the trees, cut back overgrowth and plant colorful flowers in the front and back.
  • Clear the Clutter: When it comes to staging, less is more. Having fewer things filling the rooms makes your home look both neater and roomier. It allows buyers to more easily visualize their own furnishings there. Be sure to store bicycles, gardening equipment, and children’s and pet’s toys. Also move any cars from the driveway and along the curb in front of your home.
  • Focus on the Living Areas First: A living room is an area in which potential buyers should be able to envision themselves entertaining friends or gathering with their family. With that in mind, consider making the area appear as large and functional as possible by removing any unnecessary furniture and decorations.
  • Make Your Home Anonymous: Of course you’re proud of your family, but now is not the time to show their pictures and mementos. Stow away family photos, trophies, collectibles and any other personal items. You want buyers to imagine their families in the house, and that’s hard to do with constant reminders of your family. This process can also help you declutter.
  • Make Necessary Repairs: Look at your house with a critical eye. The last thing you want potential buyers to see are chipped tiles in the bathroom, a faucet that doesn’t work, or burned out bulbs in light fixtures. All systems and appliances should be in good working condition.
  • Consider Cosmetic Improvements: Simple, cosmetic touch-ups like painting, wallpapering, adding new light fixtures, and minor landscaping, can really help a home show better. If you paint, make sure it’s in a neutral color. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on these projects to help make your home look its best but remember that if there are any problems these must be disclosed to potential buyers whether or not the problems have been remediated.
  • Give Your Home a Good Cleaning: This can be the most cost-effective thing you do in prepping your home for sale. Potential buyers will want to inspect every part of your home, from the kitchen to the bathrooms to the garage. After removing any clutter, clean the inside of the house from top to bottom. Clean carpets, spotless kitchens and bathrooms, and tidy bedrooms can help make a positive impression.
  • Add a Few Final Touches: When stagers are through decluttering a home they finish by adding a few carefully selected items for beauty – a painting in the living room, fresh flowers in the kitchen, an accent pillow for the sofa, or maybe an area rug for the bedroom.

Preparing your home for sale doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, costly endeavor. By making a few simple changes you can help make a difference when it comes time to sell.