Once I moved most of the stuff out of the house, and did a thorough cleaning and touch up tour, I invited our real estate agent over to take a look. She took several pictures and we filled out the preliminary paperwork. Then it was on to the discussion of price.
The best way to come up with a listing price is to see what similar homes have sold for recently. Then you take a look at comparable houses that are currently for sale. It doesn't matter what you owe, or how much you would like to profit - the buyer is looking for the best deal on the market. In the current market, there are lots of sellers competing for a small pool of buyers.
Our agent and I looked at online photos of our competition. Several had made some upgrades. We would need to price ours lower to attract a buyer willing to do some remodeling. Our floors are the worst problem. The carpet is in pretty bad shape, heavily worn with some stains, and each bedroom has a different color. The hardwood floors in the living room are almost as bad. The previous buyer had carpet over them and tore them out just before the sale. There are multiple stains from the staples as well as some water marks from spills. The wood is in bad enough shape that they aren't worth saving.
We have decided to replace the carpet in the house before we put it on the market. We considered setting aside some money for the prospective buyer to do it themselves (and pick the color), but the floors are bad enough that they make a poor first impression. We hesitate to put too much money into the place since we don't know what the market will bring, but we have agreed that this will make a huge difference in the look of the house. I originally looked at replacing the hardwoods as well, but it is much cheaper to just put carpet over them.
To save some money, I am doing the tearout myself. I also needed to remove and replace the base trim. In the rooms with carpet, the trim is sitting directly on the wood floors, and they need to be a half inch higher so the carpet can run underneath. While I had them all torn out, I gave them all a new coat of paint.
The carpet in the hallway was in the worst shape. It of course gets more traffic, and it was pretty beaten down and stained. As I pulled it up and saw the underside of it, it was clear we made the right decision.
I think our pooch had at most two accidents in the house, so the underside of the carpet was a gross record of all owners past. I didn't unearth any terrible smells, but there was definitely a funk that has now been exorcised.
The new carpet gets installed this Saturday. It should make a world of difference in how the house looks. When the buyer walks in the door, they will be greeted with a brand new room and won't have their first impression be a house in need of repair. The beauty and potential of the house should now outshine the few remaining blemishes.