As a Realtor, one of the first conversations with a prospective Seller generally involves what to do to get the house ready for sale. Most of the time, the "to-do" list includes simply making sure the paint colors are neutral, the rooms are de-cluttered and the homeowner has removed as many "personal" items as is possible. These three items are easily addressed with a fresh coat of paint, limiting the number of decor items in the room and removing family photographs and personal collections/displays. From there the "to-do" list really depends on the Seller and how they have taken care of the home.
When I do see a long list of items in need of attention, I always wonder why. With the exception of investment property, why would you wait to improve/update/maintain the home when you are going to spend the money anyway to sell it to the next person? I highly recommend that my clients take a look at their home with a critical eye and figure out the areas they can address now that will make a big difference come selling time. Why not make the investment now and enjoy the improvement while increasing the value of your home.
Now for the big question. What are those items that can make a difference in the home? It really depends on the age and condition of the property but most often, dated tile, tired looking decks, siding or trim that has been neglected, outdated fixtures and laminate counter tops top the list. Many items are more subtle and for help with those I have borrowed various lists over the years and compiled a cheat sheet. Take a look at 100 Plus Suggestions To Make Your Home Ready To Sell on our Atlanta Real Estate Brokers website for ideas.