Question: "Should I offer a "paint and carpet" allowance instead of actually doing the work?"
JA: Homesellers- I feel for ya. When you're getting your home ready for market, the to-do list seems endless, doesn't it? The last thing you want to do is to relocate your furniture to refinish the floors or take down all your artwork to paint the walls.
It would be much easier to just offer an allowance, right? Besides, the buyer probably would prefer to pick out his own carpet or paint color, wouldn't he?
Unfortunately, no. The problem with offering a paint or carpet allowance in lieu of actually painting or carpeting is that these two items are strong emotional triggers for buyers. When a buyer walks into a home, he forms an impression right away that's hard to overcome after the fact. If the buyer's impression is that the home has bad carpet or grungy walls, no allowance will change that initial reaction.
But don't fret! It's the first impression that is most important, so if you're on a limited budget (and who isn't?), just ensure that the flooring in every room the buyer can see from the front door is in the best condition it can be. Same with the paint. A buyer will be more likely to "forgive" bad carpet or not-so-fresh paint in secondary rooms that don't contribute to the critical first impression.
Good luck with your home sale!