If you miss this step, most other things may not matter.
I have viewed a lot of homes and watched buyer reactions to varous layouts, lots and locations, property types, finishes, features and design options. Many sellers now invest in staging and improving their homes prior to sale in order to receive the best possible return.
The one absolutely essential step some folks are missing is actually very simple.
Clean your home.
Buyers react very strongly to a dirty property. Unless it is a teardown or rented investment property for a buyer looking for a deal, a filthy home just won't do as well as a comparable sparkling clean home. It's not about the price or the color of the carpet anymore. It is the emotional response. To quote my clients from last week: "There is just no way I would live here." End of story.
Strong reaction? Yes. Is it common? Yes.
It is worth the effort or the fee for a cleaning service. Cleaning your home includes fan blades, base boards, front doors, all fixtures and cupboards, kitchens and bathrooms. Anything a potential buyer may touch such as door knobs or stair railings should be cared for. A clean home gives the impression that the home is cared for and maintained and that can only add to your bottom line.