I largely agree with Mark; paint, hardware, floors and possibly countertops, removing wall paper from the 80's, opening up drapes or blinds to let in light. Trimming back bushes, weeding, light landscaping and general cleaning inside and out. Great place to start.
I've attached a blog I did about prepping for staging. It might help more.
In my experience it has been the simple items that most homeowners can tackle themselves that fetch the best returns. A fresh coat of paint on walls and trim on interior/exterior can go a LONG way. Other cosmetic items such as new cabinet hardware, new electrical fixtures, new plumbing trim kits are all relatively inexpensive in the scheme of things, but can make a home stand above and beyond others. Great topic though Marc. I'm curious to hear what other Agents have to say as well.
In my area, the homes that have updated kitchens and bathrooms w/open floor plans are selling a lot faster than those that don't.
Painting, decluttering, taking the carpet up if there are wood floors, lighting, staging, and cleaning are the best returns on investment in today's market.
To often the consideration must be made regarding what must be done to make the home 'sellable.' Obsolete kitchens and floorplans will clearly place the home in the 'price war' category. If the removal of a wall will transform a home from an obsolete 1960's floorplan to a more contemporary format, and the community values support the increase in value, then greater investment can be done. Those creative and able flippers have recognized this for some time now. Of course, for flippers, the margin was established in the acquisition cost and is a option for few homeowners.
What I am seeing, as others have so aptly stated, the typical seller should focus on fixing, cleaning and painting..starting at the curb. These are the only investments will will yield a 100%, or greater, return. One unconfirmed source reported a 160% return on front door replacement. I most certainly am not seeing that! And be sure to give it the sniff test, if you can smell it...it will be hard to sell it.
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Represesentative
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
Without a doubt.....deep cleaning, painting, de-cluttering, planting, staging etc. are often overl ooked but can add thousands to the mix......there's no substitute for making a property "shine!"