Hi Jb. Congratulations on making the decision to start preparing for the sale of your home now. Many home sellers make the mistake of waiting too long or not wanting to make necessary repairs in hopes that the buyers will look the other way. These days, buyers have choices and they are picky.
I agree with Keith that there are some that do not favor pre-sale inspections because the inspection reports have to be disclosed to potential buyers. To me that raises a red flag as it suggests that somehow ignorance could be a bliss. It does not make sense to take risk of escrow falling out because the buyer discovered something during inspections that could have been discovered and taken care of before the property ever went on the market. I think you can tell by now that I favor pre-sale inspections.
Put the cards on the table and fix what you can and if you decide not to fix everything, give the buyer a credit or adjust the asking price.
It sounds like you would be very open to have inspections done and you just want to know in what order you should do them. Have you already chosen a listing agent? I would start out with chosing your agent and obtain a comparative market analysis. You may even ask several independent agents to prepare a comparative market analysis for you so that you get a rough idea of how much money you can expect in the end as this may factor into your decision on what repairs and/or improvements you want to undertake. The agent can also provide you with names for reputable inspectors.
As far as inspections are concerned, I would start out with a whole house inspection as that's the most comprehensive inspection and the inspector can point out things that should be further inspected. Home inspectors are at this time not state regulated. I would recommend that you choose an inspector that belongs to one of the Home Inspector Associations that have developed quality standards for Home Inspectors. You can go to http://www.wini.com
and get a lot of information on home inspections. They also have a sample home inspection report that you can review. Depending on the size of your home, the fee for the home inspection will probably run somewhere between $350 - $400. Once you have done the repairs, you can ask for a reinspection and the fee should be lower than that. One more thing, home inspectors cannot give you repair estimates as that would be a potential conflict of interest. However, a lot of home inspectors have a construction background and some either were or still are licensed contractors.
I would also recommend that you have a pest inspection done. Again, ask your agent for a recommendation and don't be afraid to ask why he/she recommends the inspector.
Once you have the home inspection report and the termite report, you should make a list of all the items that you are willing to get fixed. Then obtain bids for these items from a licensed contractor. Ask your agent for a recommendation if you don't already know a contractor you trust. Once you have all the bids, you can establish a budget for all the repairs that you want to do. Once you know how much it costs to take care of the needed repairs, you'll know if there is still money to make improvements (tile floor, vanity ...).
Since you already know that you'll replace the roof, the only question is when it will be done. I would get a bid from a roofing company just so you know how that cost fits in your overall budget. If your roof needs to be replaced because of leaking problems in the past, I would take care of the roof first as a leaking roof can cause water damage that will then unnecessarily drive up the cost of necessary repairs. If your roof is not leaking, you can wait until the spring and get it done just before you put the property on the market.
Without having seen your home and other homes in your neighborhood, it's difficult to say which improvements may make a difference. I would again defer to your agent who can also bring in a staging consultant who can make recommendations on how to improve the visual appearance of the home without spending a lot of money. You can go to http://www.stagedhomes.com
to get information on what staging is.
Lastly, the popcorn ceiling. As Keith has already pointed out, this can be costly, especially if it contains asbestos. I personally would probably opt for leaving it, but that's just my personal opinion.
Good luck with preparing your home for sale.