When your house is on the market, every second counts. For some people, selling quickly is a priority because they need to move for a job or before school starts. For others, they’re already in a new place and can’t afford to pay two mortgages. And for a few, buying the house of their dreams is contingent on selling their current place. No matter what the reason may be, one thing is certain: the less time your home is listed for sale, the better.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help speed along the process. Often, making a number of small updates around your house can help your home sell faster and for a better price. And while it might seem counterintuitive to spend money on updates you won’t get to enjoy, the chances are good that you’ll be able to earn back whatever you spend on upgrades. (Huge makeovers, on the other hand, should be splurges saved for your new place.)

Below are some of the most effective upgrades that can help sell a house. Most of them can be completed in an afternoon, while others take less than five minutes. All of them, however, are worth considering, especially if they can get you out of your old house and into your dream one.

1. Paint the walls. Perhaps your walls are bright and unique – a lime green that reflects your fun-loving personality, or a bold purple that makes your bedroom feel like a royal retreat. While these adventurous hues might look great to you, they’re not going to help sell your home. Spend a weekend repainting the walls, and opt for sophisticated neutral colors, like a light mocha or the popular “greige.” This will allow potential buyers to project their own personalities on to the walls, rather than feel confronted with yours.

2. Stage every room, even the ones you don’t use. Many of us have bonus rooms or spare bedrooms that we’re not actively using. When you’re in the middle of a move, these spaces often become dumping grounds for orphaned pieces of furniture and half-packed boxes. When you’re selling a house, you want every room to have a purpose, even if it means faking it. Buy some cheap furniture or borrow from friends and stage the room so it looks like a useful space rather than a junkyard. A small desk, a few potted plants, and a bright set of curtains will encourage a buyer to take a second look.

3. Update your kitchen hardware. It’s all in the details, and nowhere is this truer than in your kitchen. If your cabinet knobs, handles and pulls are dated or builder-grade, replacing them with sleeker, more modern options can go a long way toward transforming your space – and for very little money or time.

4. Buy one high-end kitchen appliance – but only one. If it’s in your budget, you might want to consider buying one fancy stainless steel appliance, like a new refrigerator or oven. While this may seem like an odd suggestion, it’s backed by a sound strategy. The idea is that buyers will see one high-end appliance and automatically assume the rest of the kitchen is up-to-date, too. That appliance can elevate the kitchen and seal the deal.

5. Hire a photographer. Nine times out of 10, buyers begin their search for the perfect home on the Internet; that’s one of the reasons Network Real Estate has such a robust collection of online listings! People prefer to browse online first and then decide which houses they’d like to see in person. A series of high-quality, professional photos will help your home stand out and attract buyers to your doorstep. The rest is history.

As you can see, most of these tips are fast, affordable and effective. Try them for yourself and see what a difference they make. If you’d like more strategies for selling your home quickly, contact Network Real Estate today. With 30 years of experience in the Wilmington area, we know exactly what to do to help your dreams come true.