Although thousands of people put their homes on the market every day, not very many of them understand how to make their homes more attractive to buyers. If you're thinking of selling your home, we'll tell you how to lure in more buyers in a few simple steps.

We've all seen the houses with "For Sale" signs that look like they should have a "Condemned" sign instead. One of the most critical steps in selling your home is making it presentable and, more importantly, attractive, to buyers. Doing this is easier than you think, and will most certainly pay off in the end. offers simple tips to increase the value of your home and to sell it quickly.

According to Steve Berges, author of 101 Cost-effective Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home, as well as a real estate investor who buys dilapidated houses, improves them and sells them for a profit, when you prepare to sell your home, you need to think like a buyer. The first thing that buyers are going to do is drive up to your house and look at it. If the exterior is covered in dead leaves and trash, they might just drive off. Here is the easiest, most cost-effective way of increasing the value and appeal of your home: buy a roll of plastic trash bags and stuff them with junk in your yard, garden or driveway. It sounds like common sense, but many people don't realize that removing dead leaves, weeds, trash or dilapidated lawn furniture can make a big difference in the eyes of potential buyers.

Along those same lines, Berges recommends sticking to the following guidelines:

If you have to choose, spend money on what you can see;  If you have to choose, spend money on what you can see;

Fix up the exterior of your home first, then the interior; and  Fix up the exterior of your home first, then the interior; and

Focus on what Berges dubs "Yikes!" appeal - clean up trash and clutter and eliminate bad smells.  Focus on what Berges dubs "Yikes!" appeal - clean up trash and clutter and eliminate bad smells.

In addition to the trash-bag approach, also look at your house objectively. Repair the gate that has been hanging from one hinge for the past year. Reattach the rain gutter that fell down. Put away, or throw away, any other clutter outside, such as tools, toys or other miscellaneous items. Now concentrate on the landscaping. Remove any dead or dying plants, bushes or trees. Prune what you have left, especially if any of it is obscuring the view of your house from the street. Power-wash the roof or driveway if necessary. Finally, remember that a new paint job can make any house more attractive.

Now that your home can persuade buyers to come in from the curb, you need to prepare the inside. Try the same trash-bag approach that you used for the exterior, except extend it to include items to give to charity. Reducing clutter is the first step - cleaning is the next step. Clean everything thoroughly, even the corners of the ceiling and the floorboards. If necessary, hire professionals to do the job for you.

As with the outside, some new coats of paint inside will do wonders for your home's appeal. You should also seriously consider having new carpet and vinyl flooring installed. Although it may sound nice to throw in a "flooring budget" for buyers, most buyers don't want the hassle.

Finally, when deciding how to spend money on your home, remember that any improvements that are not in tune with your neighborhood are not likely to be recouped when you sell. For instance, if you decide to remodel your kitchen, installing two dishwashers or two ovens may not be cost-effective if no other house in your neighborhood has a similar feature. In Berges's words, "you don't want to overimprove." To find out how best to spend your remodeling money, consult an experienced real estate agent who is familiar with your neighborhood.