Most home sellers are eager to garner the highest possible price when they put their home on the market. To maximize profits, your home must be in the best possible condition so that buyers compare it favorably to a model home. At the same time, you should minimize the amount of cash you spend. A free and essential first step is to pack personal items and eliminate clutter.

1. Freshen Up Paint, Front Door and Hardware
One of the simplest and least expensive ways to give an instant lift to any room is to apply a coat of paint. Even if you choose not to paint your whole house, touch up the trim near your front door and windows, since buyers will notice those spaces first.

You may even want to replace your front door or at least paint it, since buyers stand outside waiting in that spot while their Realtor fetches the keys from the lockbox. First impressions have a lasting psychological impact. While you’re at it, look at your front doorknob. Shiny new knobs outside and inside can make your whole house seem newer, especially if you opt to switch your brass knobs for brushed nickel or a more contemporary shape. Replacing your switch plates and outlet covers so that they’re all fresh, clean and matching can also have a surprisingly big impact.