1) All of these tips are geared at getting a return
2) Get carpets professionally cleaned: If you notice any stain or discoloration to the carpet, you should have it professionally cleaned. The bad market helps us because everyone is looking for work. A good cleaner can have the carpet looking brand new for a very reasonable amount; plus, if only some of the carpet needs work, only hire them to do a couple of rooms. If money is an issue, try renting a carpet cleaner from Home Depot and doing it yourself.
3) Walls must be spotless or repainted: If you walk along the walls as mentioned before, you'll be surprised how many scuffs and marks you'll notice, use a little bit of soft scrub with a barely damp cloth, and most of them will come off. However, if the paint is faded or has large areas of discoloration, then it needs to be painted. Use a professional painter if at all possible because a bad paint job could be a killer, and you only need them to paint certain rooms/areas. Otherwise, be sure to use painters tape and put down newspaper.
4) Make rooms seem brighter: There's research to show that bright rooms seem larger. Bright rooms also give a better emotional impression. Remove dark throws or heavy drapes. Sometimes dark colors are considered more chic, but they don't help sell homes. Natural light is best. Be sure to tie any drapes as tight as you can and open blinds. A glare can be annoying while we're relaxing, but the natural light helps a room seem as bright as possible. If a room still seems dark, use lamps as necessary.
5) Decorate with a simple elegance: The goal isn't to impress but to make people feel more comfortable when they enter a room. Decluttering is the biggest goal. Beyond that, find a focal point for the room other than the TV. If it's the living room, have the couches face a table or fireplace as the center point. For an office, simply a chair, lamp, and end table make a great setup. And, of course, a made bed is a perfect focal point for a bedroom. Try including a potted plant in as many rooms as possible. You'll be surprised how positive it makes the room feel.
6) Spruce up the bathrooms: If the bathrooms are Q-tip clean and decluttered, then you're 80% there; however, a couple of nice towels will do wonders. Try black. I didn't believe black towels would work originally, but they do. Tying the towels a little less than half way down with a piece of ribbon gives a very polished look that people will remember.