One question I ask potential home sellers in Lenoir, Morganton, and Hickory, NC is if I can be honest with them during the listing presentation. This is a nicer way of saying "do you want me to tell you the truth, or just what I think you want to hear?".
There are some people who have homes on the market with major problems, and I have to wonder if anybody has even let them know what is wrong or why it may be a problem. There is a thin line, and nobody wants to insult any homeowner, but it is important for any seller to know about potential problems and to know what they may be able to do to address those problems.
Sometimes, the homeowner may be so used to the way things are, they don't see an issue. Or they may be really enamored with their lime green shag carpeting, wicker ceiling, purple and gold foil wallpaper, or Precious Moments™ wall mural and not understand how much of a turn-off things like these can be to potential buyers. (Yes, these are rather extreme examples, but all are ones I've either seen in homes for sale or in MLS photos from other areas).
None of us like to hear negative comments about our homes but, as your agent, part of my responsibility is to alert you to any potential problems with the sale, and to suggest ways to fix them or lessen the impact. The good thing is that most of these are easy to solve. The most common problems with a home itself are datedness or extreme decor, clutter and dirt, and smells. All of these are easy to address, but you must know there is a problem first.
Most buyers do not care for wallpaper, unusual colors, borders, or fixtures that are linked to homes from previous decades, but this can be fixed by repainting and sometimes changing a few fixtures. Removing clutter helps open up a space and gives the impression that is is well-maintained. You're moving anyway, so look at sorting and storing belongings as a head-start on that. Cleaning should be self-explanatory, but it is easy to overlook exterior cleaning, faucets and trim, baseboards, etc if you are used to letting them go.
Smells can vary - sometimes they can be solved by having the carpets cleaned, painting, and keeping the pets outside more often, or by cleaning a disposal unit or other problem area, while others may require help from a professional cleaner. Musty or moldy smells can be solved by cleaning the affected area well with bleach or an agent made for such a job, installing a dehumidifier to stop further growth, and painting over the affected areas with a mold and mildew resistant paint.
There are so many small things that can be really off-putting to buyers, yet fixed with a few days', or a few hours' worth of work. This can make your home sell faster and for more money or, in a buyer's market like today, make the difference between your home selling or just sitting there. However, you must have an agent who is willing to tell you the hard truths and not just the good stuff, and you should be prepared to listen and implement their advice, rather than get offended by their suggestions.