7 ways to dress up your home for a faster sale

Put out a new welcome mat

Potential buyers linger the longest at the front entrance, focusing all of their attention here as their real estate agent retrieves the key from the lockbox.

"It needs to be spic and span," says Danny Frank, regional vice president for the Texas Association of Realtors and vice president of Coldwell Banker United.

But too often, Frank says he finds doors with dingy, cracked paint; porch lights encrusted with dead bugs; and mats that have long worn out their welcome.

Not a great invitation to a could-be buyer.

"They’re going to immediately think that the rest of the house is dirty," he says. Or worse, use it as ammunition to tear the house apart and make a lower offer.

Besides cleaning and general maintenance, perhaps the most effective way to spruce up the front entrance is by repairing or replacing the front door itself.

And you’ll get most of your money back post-sale. Replacing your front door is the most valuable home improvement.