Most people think preparing a house for sale is often a painful and costly process. Actually, it doesn’t have to be either. With a few expert secrets of the trade, you can have your home on the market for very little money, requiring very little time and effort. Here is a short list of proven and easy preparation tasks to consider versus their often recommended counterparts.

1.  Put Everything in the Garage and Closets

Time-Consuming Alternative: Decluttering

It is very difficult for homebuyers to see past sellers’ photos, knickknacks, stacks of books and old magazines. Buyers get distracted and thus, are unable to visualize themselves within a given living space. This is the opposite effect of what is needed to facilitate interest in the property. If you cannot part with your personal items, you should liberally stuff the garage and closets, while keeping all living areas as unobstructed as possible with minimal décor.

2.  Patch and Match Paint

Time-Consuming and Costly Alternative: Painting the Entire House 

In very rare cases, a seller would need to paint the entire house. Most of the time, patching holes and cracks in the interior, while matching the paint, is sufficient to present a fresh look. Also, for scuff marks and dirt, you can use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove those markings. These blemishes will easily disappear especially if you have a neutral, white shade on the wall.

3.  Use Mulch and Paint the Front Door

Time-Consuming and Costly Alternative: Landscaping the Entire Front Yard 

While you are patching the interior, think about choosing a modern, fresh color for the front door. Many buyers love a red door. You can also look up the trending front door colors of the year. This year, 2019, the trending color is blue – both a dark, bold blue and a light, bright blue. Fresh mulch looks great in the yard and it is an inexpensive way to spruce up any landscaping. Many cities and local communities even provide mulch for free.

4. Replace Light Bulbs

Costly Alternative: Replacing Light Fixtures 

You don’t need to hire an electrician and replace your light fixtures. Just clean the ones you have. For glass flush mount fixtures, I recommend running them through the dishwasher. What is most important is to make sure that all light bulbs are replaced and working. Use the maximum wattage possible, while opting for soft white or warm white color temperature. These lights make the home feel cozy and look great in photos. Also, make sure that all recessed light bulbs match.

5.  Ask a Realtor

Time-Consuming Alternative: Doing It Yourself

Realtors are trained how to increase your sale by performing small, inexpensive fixes. They know what local buyers are looking for and how to highlight those features in your home. They work side by side with you to assess every opportunity to elevate your home’s value and saleability.

Natalie Alchadeff is a Real Estate Broker and Owner of the Hero Broker Group affiliated with Keller Williams.