When Washington, DC homeowners get ready to list, advice will often come from all corners of their personal and social network -- what within the home to upgrade; what to repair; what to replace. And, although some advice remains valuable, much of it can be ignored. The costs of an expensive upgrade are rarely recouped at the time of sale and studies show that smaller, simpler actions can yield a bigger return on your investment of time and money. Here are four inexpensive, yet highly effective, ways to prepare your home for sale. Improve the curb appeal
It's not just the inside of your home which should be inviting to buyers -- the outside of your home should be, too. Trim hedges, maintain the lawn, power wash the walls and try to inject some color, where possible. Your yard is your home's first impression on buyers. Make it a great one. Lighten up the place
Extra sunlight lends an airy feeling to your home, and interior lights provide cozy glow. Therefore, wash your windows, pullback your drapes, replace burnt-out bulbs, and add outdoor lighting to your landscaping, if possible. Also, keep your home lit in the evenings in the event that potential buyers drive by after-hours. With the lights on, your home will look cheery instead of dark and gloomy. Store unnecessary furniture and personal objects
Less can be more when it comes to showing your home so put your knick-knacks, your stacks of books and your fridge-covering artwork in storage. Be sure to avoid stashing personal items in closets because buyers expect closets to be clutter-free as well. Paint a pretty home
A new coat of paint will freshen up any room so paint where needed. However, stick to neutrals such as grays and tans. Also, consider repainting rooms bathed in bright, fun colors -- this can divert a buyer's attention away from the home and toward money-costing "projects" that would come with buying the home. With the help of your REALTOR® and a little hard work, these tips should help you increase your home's appeal to a wide variety of buyers without breaking the bank. It may even help you sell your home more quickly.