You need to make your home as "buy-worthy" as possible. You don't want buyers to remember your home as "the dark one", "the messy one", "the smelly one", etc. Don't just have an agent plop down a For Sale Sign without doing some background work first.
Everyone has the tendency after a few years of living in a home to have that old familiar feeling. And you know that commercial about a room smelling like a locker room and you stop noticing the problem? It can happen. Ask your agent to be honest about how they view your home. Take a walk across the street and view it from that angle both during the day and at night. What's your first impression? What's faded or worn both inside and out?
With all things being equal, meaning same number of bedrooms, baths, square footage etc, sometimes selling a house is like the Olympics, it can be only a fraction better or worse than another home that is being looked at, and it can make all the difference between a sale or not.
The most proactive thing you can do is to get a home inspection before putting your home up for sale. This way all the problems will be fixed ahead of time. If you don’t discover a problem with the hope that buyers won’t find out, when they do, and they always do, a lawsuit can result. If problems arise when the buyer has an inspection, they can lose confidence in the sale. Buyers run on strong emotion. You can then use the inspection report as a marketing tool and show potential buyers upfront that the home is in good condition. If problems were found have the report updated to show that everything has been fixed.
So do some painting, use some elbow grease to clean - enlist family members or hire a service. You will be amazed on how much extra buyers value a house that is in great condition. Selling a home is stressful enough, make it easier by doing some work ahead of time.
Excerpts from: Home Makeovers that Sell by Sid Davis