Thinking of selling your home? The quickest and least expensive "home improvement" project is to stage your home. Making simple improvements and staging your home correctly can increase your home value. Here's a short list of where to start – but don't hesitate to consult with your real estate professional and ask for their thoughts before listing your home for sale.

Declutter and Depersonalize

Top of the list is to declutter your home. A close second is to depersonalize it by removing pictures, collections and home décor that are personal to your decorating style and family. What one person or family treasures and considers valuable may be considered worthless or junk to another person. In addition, the less there is in a room, the larger it looks. You have to start packing at some point so this is the perfect time.  If not packing, donating or holding a garage sale are good alternatives.

Give Your Home a Good, Thorough Cleaning

Give your house that once a year, deep Spring cleaning. Take extra care to clean all parts not on the weekly cleaning rotation, from doors and door frames to windows and window frames, be sure to clean 100% of your homes surfaces. Take the extra effort to clean light fixtures, remove stains on carpeting with extra care given to the heart of the home, your kitchen.

Make Sure All of the Light-bulbs Work

When you have a showing, it's advisable to turn on all of your lights for the buyers. The more light in a home, the larger and brighter it looks. Before you list it for sale, make sure all of the light-bulbs in your light fixtures work. Don't hesitate to increase the wattage or lumens.

Remove Any Unnecessary Furniture in the Rooms

Rooms appear larger if they aren't cramped with large or extra pieces of furniture. If you have any furniture pieces that can be removed and placed in the garage, basement or storage, it's best to do that before you start showing your home.

Cosmetic Updates

Do your walls have outdated paint colors, chips or dings, or too many marks? Consider a fresh coat of paint. It's a quick, easy and inexpensive fix. Plan a Saturday with the family and you'll knock out a couple of rooms in a day. If your carpet is outdated, worn or has stains, you may want to replace it. Although more costly, carpeting and flooring will often give a significant boost in appeal. Today's buyers prefer a move-in ready home.

Home Upgrades

It's not always advised to "keep up with the Jones's," unless it's necessary when trying to sell your home. If competing homes on the market have upgrades such as kitchen appliances, counters, cabinets, bathroom renovations and more, you may need to make some upgrades. If you don't, your home may get passed up for homes that have more upgrades.

When preparing your home for sale, think of the next home purchase you are going to make. Envision yourself as the buyer walking through your home, and consider what they'd like to see. By making improvements and staging your home, you'll sell your home faster and for more money. A little extra care and elbow grease goes a long way to increase your home value.