Selling your home doesn’t just mean having me stick a sign out front.

There’s a lot to do!

1. Repair. Home buyers are picky. Maybe you don’t notice those cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators, but home shoppers will. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget curb appeal and exterior repairs—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. Without curb appeal, some buyers won’t even set foot inside.

2. Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, it will be much harder for them to do. Replace bold color choices with neutrals—beiges, tans, and whites. Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.

3. Stage. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’s done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup.