With spring in sight, the time is right to place your house for sale. The market is heating up and buyers are ready to take a look!

But before you decide to list your home, it makes sense to spruce up the exterior and interior and perform any maintenance tasks you have let slip. It can be difficult to see your home through fresh eyes after many years, but you’ll want to give your home a once-over and optimize its potential.

While a full-scale renovation of a kitchen or bathroom may not make sense, there are some smaller changes a homeowner can complete over a few weekends that won’t put the dent in your wallet that a remodel would. You’ll be amazed at what a difference these small, but significant, changes will make in helping your house look its finest for potential buyers.

An entrance that says “come in!”

This may seem obvious, but its importance can’t be overstated. The front entrance is the first indicator to buyers how well you’ve cared for your home. They will be standing there taking their first look while their realtor opens the lockbox – give them the signal this is a clean and cared-for home. A new coat of paint on the front door in a complementary color and shiny new door hardware present your home as updated and fresh. Put buying a new door mat on your to-do list. This is not the year to skimp on outdoor flowers -- a blooming pot or a hanging basket will set a cheery tone. Also, take a look at your outdoor light fixtures to see if they could use updating. New ones can be found at home improvement stores for less than $100.

Lawn and driveways

Time to get out that pressure washer! A thorough wash of the sidewalk, driveway and patio will help your house looks its best. Washing off the siding or brick will remove lingering spider webs and dirt. A thorough cleaning of your windows inside and out will let the light shine in beautifully. Replace broken or old screens, it will help your house look maintained. And a layer of fresh brown mulch laid a few days before your house is officially listed sets a pretty, manicured picture.

Closets and Countertops

What’s the common link between model houses and existing homes that are beautifully prepped for sale? The absence of “stuff” – all the little things that come with daily life. When you list your house, you want to provide a “fantasy” home for buyers they can envision living in themselves. That means clearing the kitchen counters of piles of paperwork and small appliances, removing the toy bins in every corner, and emptying the refrigerator of its artwork and calendars. You’re planning on packing to move, so why not begin the process? You can donate the items you don’t want to take with you, and box the rest in a storage unit.

Take each closet one at a time and pare down belongings. If you have 20 pairs of pants teetering in a hazardous stack on a closet shelf, pack all but two or three that you leave neatly folded. Buyers will be impressed with how roomy and organized your closets are!

A fresh coat of paint in neutral colors will also let buyers know they will be moving in to a clean and maintained home.

Consider a realtor who can help choose paint colors and will stage your home in neutral furnishings and accessories that will appeal to a wide range of buyers. At Hemming & Sylvester, we offer full staging for our clients and have the experience to advise you on how to best prepare your house for the market. If you’d like to talk about selling your home or buying a new one, please contact Ginny Sylvester at (630) 715-1887.