You’re selling your home, and you naturally want to get as much for it as you can. Are there ways that you can make that happen without spending thousands of dollars? Try these five steps, and you’ll almost certainly sell your house for more money.

Use a real estate agent

There’s some debate on this point, but generally speaking you’ll get more for your house if you list it with a real estate agent. It’s a matter of numbers; real estate agents have more potential buyers than you do alone, and the more people who see your home the higher the price you’re likely to get.

Multiple listing services, which real estate agents participate in, multiply the number of buyer prospects many times over. It’s all about getting traffic to your home, and real estate agents are just better at it.

Clean out the clutter

Sell Your House for More MoneyThis is especially important if you live in an area where there’s a lot of new home construction going on. Your house has to look as close to a showroom as possible. That means the clutter has to go. The house not only has to look neat and orderly, but it has to have plenty of room for prospective buyers to imagine their own furniture being in it. Clutter has a way of preventing that.

If you need to, move your excess furniture and possessions into a remote storage while you’re selling your home. The reduction in clutter could result in a higher sale price.

Put on a fresh coat of paint

No single effort will do more to make your home look fresh and new than a new coat of paint. And buyers love fresh and new!

You can paint your home for just a few hundreds dollars if you do it yourself, and it will be time and money that can result in a selling price that’s thousands of dollars higher.

Keep the landscaping neat and well trimmed

You’ve probably heard sayings that include the term, “the house with the white picket fence…” That’s an emotional description of cozy home, one that a person would want to live in. You want to be sure your home conveys that kind of appeal.

You can do this by making sure that the outside of the home is as well kept as the inside is. Keep the lawn mowed, the hedges and shrubbery trimmed and the weeds from over-growing the driveway, curbs and any walkways.

A neat exterior will create a positive emotional experience for your buyers that will make them more likely to make an offer and for more money.

Keep the house smelling sweet

When we think about buying a house we mostly think about down payments, mortgage rates and property values. But that isn’t what primarily governs the sale of a house. Buying a house is mostly emotional, so in order for your home to be the one a buyer will make an offer on, you’ll have to appeal to their emotions.

That’s much of what we’re doing with the steps above—trying to create a visually appealing look to your home. But when people look at your house they’re doing a lot more than just looking. They’re also smelling!

I don’t mean that they’re floating around your home sniffing out the closets and corners like a dog. But when they walk into your home, they are smelling the air, if only because they need to breathe. What will they smell when they enter your home? The answer to that question could be the difference between them making an offer and moving on to the next property.

This isn’t even a secret. Real estate agents have been aware of the smell factor—house sale connection for a very long time. When holding open house events to sell a home, agents will sometimes tell you to bake chocolate chip cookies just before the open house begins. Another trick is to boil cinnamon. Either activity will give your home a pleasant, down home feel that will make the house a more attractive home to a prospective buyer.

Pay close attention to smells in your home, even if you have to ask an outsider to give you an opinion. Sometimes odor can result from an un-emptied trash pale or carpet in need of shampooing. But don’t overlook the delicious food smells if you’re ever unsure. People really do follow their noses when it comes to buying a home.

And the better they feel about your home, the more they’ll be willing to pay for it.

Kevin Mercadante

Kevin Mercadante

Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids and can be followed on Twitter at @OutOfYourRut.