Doing any kind of updating or remodeling before your sale depends on your time line as well as how the other homes that you will be directly competing with look. If they are primarily newer updated homes, than you might consider doing some minor updates that will not break the bank. In the bathrooms, If you have wallpaper and lots of decorations, I would remove all clutter, wallpaper and paint the walls a nice neutral color. If you have a vanity with cabinets, give them a fresh coat of paint. For the kitchen, which is one of the main rooms that can sell a house, this is where if you have time or money you might consider doing a minor update with counter tops, new stainless steel appliances (popular here in Portland, OR)and flooring. Decluttering goes a very long way in making a home look neat and is often underestimated. I would look at the homes on the market and see if you need minor updates or major ones. I would recommend pricing the house accordinly as opposed to offering a dollar amount for updates. I see that frequently with Sellers offering a "carpet allowance", but many buyers can't get past that green stained carpet and will put a higher dollar amount on replacment then if they were replaced before the sale. Here is an an excerpt from the Realtor magazines 2009-10 Cost vs Value report.
"Additional data prove the value of restraint. Upgrading kitchens and baths is still a smart bet. However, home owners will recoup the greatest share of their costs by foregoing super-deluxe projects in favor of mid-range kitchen and bath remodels. A mid-range kitchen remodel brings an average 72.1 percent return on investment, while an upscale kitchen re-do returns only an average of 63.2 percent of the money invested. A mid-range bathroom project has an average 71 percent cost recovery, but the average recovery on an upscale bathroom project is nearly 10 points lower, at 61.6 percent"
Hope this helps and good all the best in the sale of your home,
Prudential NW Properties
5 Centerpointe Dr. ste 150
Lake Oswego, OR 97035