The other morning while getting ready for work, my wife commented that the house seemed exceptionally dry. Ours is a warm air heat system and at the end of the last heating season the humidifier went. I immediately went out and bought a new humidifier, but didn't put it in right away. Over the summer I forgot to finish the job.
As my wife was commenting on the still not repaired humidifier, she ended the conversation with the comment, "I suppose it will have to wait until we sell the house. Isn't that when sellers fix things so they will be right for the new owners?" Aside from the obvious dig, the truths to her words were prophetic. I know that I often recommend pre-listing inspections for homeowners that have had the house for a long time so that they can get a non biased report on the condition of their home. Not only does this give them a better reality of their property but they will get an indication of how a potential buyer will see the house when given the inspection report.
A pre-listing inspection need not be as expensive as a full-blown inspection because the sellers don't necessarily need the multiple page report, but should be well serviced with a professional summary. This will give them enough material to make necessary repairs to items that would be immediate turn away's to a prospective buyer with limited extra money.
Major remodeling would be entirely the prerogative of the seller. Simple heavy duty cleaning and a fresh coat of paint can make baths and kitchens more attractive without the cost of a complete overhaul. Of course the value of the overhaul must be factored in the asking price of the home. Buyers will be more apt to come into a home that needs some work but is at least priced to reflect the work needed.
In addition, the simple inspection will give the sellers a true indication of the energy efficiency of their home; the roof life left; the possibility that their home has become occupied by wood boring inspects or worse; the condition of decks and porches; and of course all electrical or plumbing issues that exist based on shortcuts taken over the years.
The other advantage to getting the little repairs done and in a timely manner is the elimination of the subtle, or not, reminder of the little things that got forgotten.