1. Depersonalize. A potential homebuyer needs to picture herself in your rooms, and quirky decorating or pictures of the kids hurts the illusion. Remove all family photos and, if necessary, paint brightly colored walls a more neutral shade.
2. Make sure everything in the house is in top condition. No torn screens, cracked plaster or burnt out pot lights. You may have gotten used to seeing them, so tour your house with a critical eye (or ask someone else to), and repair anything that needs it.
3. Chandeliers. One favorite low-cost, high-return investments is chandeliers. "People think you have to spend a fortune on lighting, but you can go to any big box store and get beautiful ones for, at most, a few hundred dollars," she says. "Many houses don't have enough lighting to begin with, so if you're having the electrician in anyway, have more overhead fixtures installed -- or at least buy some great lamps."
5. A clean kitchen. Kitchen counters should be clear and clutter-free. A single bowl or vase holding cooking utensils is okay, but that's about it. Store small appliances in cupboards if you must.
6. Kitchen decor. If your kitchen doesn't have a backsplash, this is a weekend job that a reasonably handy person can tackle for little money. Invest in some gorgeous tiles (since you're doing such a small area, it shouldn't cost too much) or consider glass mosaics, mirror tile, or plain tile interspersed with a few fancy ones.
7. Replace boring or worn cabinet pulls with high-design new ones. Consider brushed steel, which look great with stainless steel appliances, or decorative ceramic.
8. Fresh linens. Make sure any visible linens (tea towels, chair cushions, oven mitts, etc.) are brand new or at least look brand new.
9. Spotless kitchen. Hire a professional cleaning company to get at all the little nooks and crannies, down to the last detail. This rule, incidentally, should apply to the whole house.
12. Keep clutter to a minimum.
13. Fix up the master bedroom. Continue the luxury hotel look in the master bedroom: Multiple new pillows with shams or toss pillows in front, crisp white linens and a throw at the end of the bed. Keep end tables uncluttered, with matching lamps and nothing else except, perhaps, a tiny vase of flowers.
14. The exterior of your home should look as polished as the interior. This means neatly trimmed bushes, mulched flower beds and fresh seasonal arrangements in urns by the front door.
15. A great smell makes a house memorable. Baking cookies has become a cliche, but buy a room spray with a fragrance you love and spray the house sparingly before each showing. Home staging can be easy and inexpensive, especially if you focus on the small details. Then, just stand back and let your house shine and it is sure to impress potential homebuyers.