Millions of existing homes are sold each year and, while each transaction is different, every owner wants the same thing: the best possible deal with the least amount of hassle and aggravation.
The general rule in real estate is that buyers seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford. This means you want to put on the market a home that fits with the neighborhood but is not over-improved. For example, if most homes in your neighborhood have three bedrooms, two baths and 2,500 square feet of finished space, a property with five bedrooms, more baths and far more space would likely be priced much higher and would be more difficult to sell.
Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, reflects community preferences and does not involve capital investments, the cost of which cannot be recovered from the sale.
Cosmetic improvements, paint, wallpaper, landscaping, etc., help a home show better and often are good investments. Mechanical repairs that ensure all systems and appliances are in good working condition are required to get a top price.