A few improvements help your agent help you.

You can make your house really sparkle for sale without a major investment in upgrades. You don't need a line of credit or a no-limit credit card, and you don't need a contractor or interior designer. All that you need is some elbow grease and a little inspiration, and you can help your home sell faster.

Worried about whether or not you can compete with your neighborhood? You shouldn't. An investment in major upgrades might not come out in the wash anyway. What you'd make on a higher sale might, or might not, cover the upgrades. And a lower asking price could be the most appealing thing of all to your potential buyers.

Try some or all of these ideas, and you'll have an open-house ready home without going into the red just to sell it.

A professional can probably clean faster than you can.

#1: Clean, Clean, and Clean Some More

There's cleaning, and then there's the kind of cleaning that you need before listing your home for sale. This can be tricky. You clean your home regularly, but how often do you really step back and look at every nook and cranny? Probably not very often.

Bob Vila lists cleaning as one of the most important things that you can to do improve your home for sale. This means deep cleaning carpets, scrubbing baseboards, removing toilet seats and cleaning around the seat bolts, and even scrubbing out the tracks along your windows. If this is overwhelming, a professional cleaning crew can do the job in a day.

#2: Update Your Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchens and baths can practically sell a house, but not if they're sad and outdated. Get a brand new and fresh look for a pittance by painting cabinets and swapping out hardware. There's a way to paint cabinets, though, and it takes more than just a coat of any old latex paint.

This Old House gives detailed, step-by-step instructions for professional looking results. It includes sanding, primer, oil-based paint, and adding new hardware once you're done.

Blue walls might be happy, but let your buyers choose that color later.

#3: Paint the Walls

Your home might look great, but fashionable and marketable are two different things. A marketable home is neutral for a reason. Blue walls can work in different interior schemes. But beige, khaki, cream and tan are much more appealing to a wider range of decor tastes.

Neutrals also help prospective buyers picture themselves living in your house. Where walls stand out as a dominant decor feature, that's what gets the attention. But where the blend in with the rest of your home, buyers can think more about how their furnishings will work there.

#4: Power Wash the Exterior

Bob Vila also recommends deep cleaning the exterior, including your siding, deck, porch and even the driveway. A deep power wash can remove mold and mildew, dirt, cobwebs, and make your whole property shine like a new penny.

A word of caution about using a pressure washer. If your siding is painted and beginning to flake, it can remove a lot of paint. And if your siding is brick look to a pro for the job, as you could accidentally force water behind the bricks and damage the structure.

#5: Expose Wood Floors

You might have wood floors and not even know it. But if you carefully pull back the carpeting at a corner, you could be in for a nice surprise. Carpet was a common floor covering, even over wood, as recently as the 90s. And refinishing a wood floor on your own costs a few hundred dollars but can yield more interested buyers. Lowe's explains how at this link.

A very big caution on this technique. Carpet could be hiding a wood floor that's in bad condition. So this might not be advisable unless your carpet is in bad condition, too, or you're prepared to work with what you have. If there's wood, you'll have the expense of a sander and refinishing materials. If the wood is bad, you'll need to buy new carpet for the room.

Home upgrades don't have to cost you thousands, especially when there's no guarantee of getting your money back at the sale. Sometimes the very best thing that you can do is give your home the deepest possible clean, freshen up the paint, and make it look as well-tended as you can.

Put away every speck of clutter, take down all of your personal items, such as family photos and wall calendars, and turn your house into a comfortable yet non-personal space. That way, anyone who walks through the door will see a clean, cared for home where she can imagine living.

Wondering how your home compares to others in your neighborhood? Let eppraisal remove the mystery. In just a few minutes, you can find your home's estimated value, compare it to others that have sold, and see how it stacks up against neighboring properties that are currently on the market. Click here for your free property valuation today.