The best first step toward increasing your home’s resale value is to look at your property from the eye of your buyer.

Most buyers are looking for good condition, neutral neat space and price according to value.

The basic rule of thumb is to clean. Counters should be cleared, shelves and closets half-emptied, including floors, and personal photos should be tucked away. Store as much away as possible, placing extra furniture, tables, chairs, clothing, etc. out of the way in the basement, garage or one room. The more visible floor space, the larger rooms appear.

Next up is fresh paint, including the trim. This will go a long way to brighten a home. This also gives you a chance to take down pictures and photos and depersonalize. Consider cleaning window treatments or removing them for an updated look.

Cleaning windows, woodwork and corners makes a noticeable difference. Installing new shower curtains and fresh towels brightens a bath. A few new accent pillows or throws in the living and family rooms can instantly add color and make a buyer feel like they too can live in a home as nice as yours.

Take a look outside. The first approach means a lot. Cover well-heads with decoration. Sweep, power wash, straighten crooked stones, etc. Remember, look as a buyer would and do the small things that can be corrected. They will help offset objections outside your control, such as the slope of the property, slant of a driveway, a busy road, an eclectic neighbor, etc.

Add a pot of in season flowers or a front entry decoration, and pay attention to the front door by giving it a cleaning or coat of paint. First impressions are difficult to sway.

Preparing your home to sell in its best light will get you the highest and best price and inspire you to get ready to make your next move.

As an agent, giving staging suggestions before photographs are scheduled is customary in order to discuss what owners can comfortably manage to prepare their home to sell. Bring on the spring market.

Jean O’Neill, William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, 203-300-2332,