We all know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it's impossible for homebuyers not to. A well-kept home tells buyers that you've taken great care of the place. An outdated or even poorly staged home signals buyers to beware. If a home appears messy or disorganized, homebuyers' imaginations can quickly run wild about all of the problems lurking beneath the surface. If you want your home to look like a buyer's dream house, here are some things to do:

Capture Curb Appeal

You only get one chance to make a first impression, so start off on the right foot by wowing potential buyers as soon as they pull up to your house. Mow the lawn and plant some blooming flowers to refresh any less-than-thriving landscaping. Add fresh mulch to the flower beds and make sure that all walkways, sidewalks, and the driveway are swept free of any leaves, dirt, or debris. Give siding a good power washing to revive its color and while you're at it, give all of the window exteriors a thorough cleaning. If you have a front porch or patio, make sure it's clean and uncluttered. Add a new set of outdoor furniture to create an enticing outdoor living area. And most importantly, make sure your house number is easy to read.

Update Outdated Details

Do your curtains look straight out of the '90s? Do you still have a floral wallpaper border in the powder room? Are the dusty rose mini blinds showing your home's age? If any detail is making your home look outdated, it's time for a replacement with something more neutral. Replace the colored mini blinds with classic wooden blinds from The Shade Store and ditch the ruffled curtains in favor of simple fabric panels. Remove the wallpaper border and give the powder room a fresh coat of white paint. You'll be surprised at how such simple details can quickly bring the look of your home up-to-date.

Minimize Personal Photos

Yes, personal touches like your favorite family photos are part of what makes your house feel like home, but that's also the problem. You want to make your buyer feel at home in your space, and an excess of personal photos and mementos can be alienating to an outsider. Get a head start on packing for the big move and start boxing up framed photos and other family keepsakes now. Does your space seem bare without those little touches? Incorporate some simple, framed art prints or landscape photographs. By choose neutral details like this, you minimize the distractions for a potential buyer and allow them to better envision themselves in the home.

Use Gender-Neutral Decor

Sure, many women are in charge of the home decorating, but that doesn't mean the decor shouldn't appeal to male buyers. From bachelors and single dads, to men who have the final say on the new family home, your decor needs to appeal to men. Opt for gender-neutral wall color, bedding, and other details in the master suite to boost the space's universal appeal.

Clear the Clutter

If you think you find your own clutter annoying as it piles up, think how much more annoying someone else's junk might be. That's exactly how a potential buyer is going to feel about that stack of mail on the entry table and the piles of magazines in the living room. Limit the belongings that buyers can see to the bare essentials. This may seem like an overwhelming project, but simply go room by room and it be done before you know it.