When a house goes on the market, it should look great. Often there are improvements that must be made before a house is ready to show well. When you are preparing to list your home, it is strongly recommended that you go through each room with a critical eye. What are you looking for? Start with the ceiling, and look for any cracks or water stains, then inspect the condition of the paint and wallpaper. Make sure that the windows are clean and window treatments are attractive. All of the closets and storage spaces should be neat and organized (a cluttered closet looks smaller!). If the rooms seem crowded with too much furniture, you can create a more spacious look by storing your "overflow". A well-maintained home tends to sell much more quickly than one where buyers must use a lot of imagination to see it in a positive light. The condition of your home will help to determine the selling price. The better the house looks, the better your chances of selling it at the best price. A real estate agent can help you by recommending the repairs and cleaning that will increase your homes marketability.
Many buyers make home buying decisions based primarily upon emotional reactions to the house we show them. A freshly-painted house with clean windows and waxed floors will sell for top dollar, while a nearby house which needs a lot of cosmetic attention may languish on the market, even with a much lower asking price. If you find yourself in the position of comparing two such houses, put your imagination to work. If the only difference is paint, cleaning, and carpeting (or getting unsightly furniture moved out), remember that these are fairly low ticket items that you would probably choose to do even if the house is in good shape. If you focus your attention on the location and the condition of the structure and the major systems, you may be able to get a "not-very-rough" diamond at a great price. If cosmetic problems make you nervous about the house, the structural inspection can answer most of your questions.