A home that is 9 years old may or may not need updating or upgrading. A home that is 30 years old (such as mine) can definitely use some updating. Kitchen, bathrooms, windows and flooring need to be redone at this point. If you are going to be redoing the kitchen anyway, you may as well choose better quality and more desirable countertops and appliances, such as granite and stainless steel. Of course, that also depends on the price range of the property you are looking at. A house under $100,000, for example, does not need granite and stainless steel. Nobody is expecting those features in a house in that price range.
A home that is only 9 years old may not need a lot of updating or upgrading. Depending on care, the carpet and other flooring may not need to be replaced just yet. Windows are probably still OK. Doors are probably 6 panel doors and kitchen appliances may still be OK. Kitchen cabinets, unless damaged, should not be outdated yet. So...that leaves countertops. In a neighborhood like Stratford, where even some bank owned properties have been repainted, flooring changed and granite added in the kitchen, if the countertops needed replacing, I would definitely upgrade to granite. If the countertops are in good condition, an attractive new faucet and a contemporary color on the walls would definitely make the kitchen inviting. Wallpaper, found in some of the Stratford homes I have seen, needs to go.
Think of ways you can make your house attractive and inviting without spending a lot of money, unless you have to. If you need to replace damaged flooring or stinky carpet, for example, do so. Otherwise, put a fresh coat of paint in a neutral, contemporary color, clean floors and carpets, grout tubs anew (unless grout still looks clean), keep yard tidy and mowed (maybe even plant a few flowers). No matter how many changes and improvements you make to a house, you will always find people who don't like it. You may have a buyer come into your home who wants granite countertops but he (she) does not like the color of granite you chose.
I cannot stress enough the importance of pricing. A home that shows well and is priced right will sell. A realtor who knows your area will be able to give you invaluable feedback after looking at your home. Please call me and I will be happy to give you my opinion as to the things you need to do in order to put your property in the best selling condition. My number is 706-284-1520.