Because spring is such a popular time to sell a home, homeowners who want to put their homes on the market should use winter as an opportunity to prepare their homes for the prying eyes of prospective buyers. The following tips can help homeowners during the pre-selling preparation process.

• Address the exterior of the home. Make an effort to address anything that might negatively affect a curb appeal. If it’s in the budget, hire professional landscapers to fix any problematic landscaping or address any issues that arose during the winter. Homeowners with green thumbs can tackle projects on their own, but hiring professionals is akin to staging inside the home.

• Conquer interior clutter. Start clearing any clutter out in winter, even resolving to make an effort to prevent its accumulation. Just like buyers are impressed by curb appeal, they are turned off by clutter. The Appraisal Institute suggests homeowners clear out clutter before appraisers visit. The same approach can be applied to open houses. Buyers, like appraisers, see cluttered homes as less valuable. In addition, a home full of clutter might give buyers the impression, true or not, that the home was not well maintained.

• Eliminate odors. A home’s inhabitants grow accustomed to odors that might be circulating throughout the house. Pet odor, for instance, might not be as strong to residents as it is to guests and prospective buyers. A thorough cleaning of the house, including vacuuming and removal of any pet hair, can help to remove odor. In the weeks leading up to the open house, bathe pets more frequently, using a shampoo that promotes healthy skin so pet dander is not as prevalent. Open windows when the weather allows so more fresh air comes into the home.