Use this checklist to ensure that you’ve taken every step necessary to ready your home for resale. The best-prepped homes yield the best returns.

1. Cut the clutter

Clear shelves, countertops, closets, garage space and storage areas before showing. Also, remove any bulky or distressed furniture, and simplify any over-furnished areas. Be ruthless. Donate infrequently used items or hold a yard sale. If necessary, keep overflow items in storage until you’ve sold your home.

2. Perform small repairs.

Fix leaky faucets and broken appliances, repair holes in drywall, apply touch-up paint where needed, and attend to any creaky doors or stairs. If you’re pressed for time, hire a handyman. It will cost less to hire a handyman than it will cost to hire multiple specialists for multiple small projects.

3. Do a deep clean.

Dirty homes send buyers running, so clean your house deeply and thoroughly before you sell. In addition to performing your usual cleaning routine, vacuum in hard-to-reach places, dust ceiling fans and light fixtures, and wash the walls and windowsills. Consider having your carpets, windows/window treatments, and kitchen and bathroom grout professionally cleaned.

4. Kick up the curb appeal.

Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see, so it’s important to do what you can to make a good first impression. Clear junk and clutter from the yard, remove faded or broken lawn furniture, and ensure that walkways and driveways are weed-free and clean. Touch up exterior paint, repair broken screen doors, and replace missing light fixtures or bulbs as necessary. Finally, spruce up your lawn and landscape; and use potted plants and flowers and seasonal wreaths.

5. Stay on top of maintenance.

It’s crucial that you stay on top of home maintenance once you’ve listed and started showing your home. Vacuum and dust daily, keep laundry and clutter out of sight, and be on the lookout for problems and unexpected repairs. If you don’t have time to stay on top of the cleaning, consider hiring a cleaning service.