Basically, the most attractive house is clean and decluttered. Clean and decluttered on the outside too.
If your budget permits, painting the interior in a neutral color can sell a house quicker than almost anything, but it can be especially important if the wall colors are individualized to the Seller’s taste. If carpet or flooring needs replacing and the budget allows for it, this too can secure the top dollar at the fastest pace. If you’re working with a limited budget, work with your agent to get estimates so that you have a good sense of costs when negotiating. But the cost of some elbow grease can go a long way.
Use your elbow grease to clean, sweep, mop, declutter, straighten, put away, and rake and clean up the yard. Make sure the entry is clean and attractive—maybe add some potted flowers. Many of us never use our front door and it has become netted over with cobwebs. Also, make sure the front door lock opens easily. Replace any burnt out light bulbs and make sure the covers are clean so that the light shows through.
Clear off countertops in the kitchen and baths, secure electronics, prescriptions, firearms, and other valuables. Replace any fixtures you want to take with you with operational fixtures. (Drapes and refrigerators can be excluded without removing them, but if you want to take that chandelier, put in a replacement lighting fixture.)
Rooms can become more attractive to buyers when some of the furniture pieces are removed or rearranged. Removing rugs can make rooms seem bigger in the photos (your Listing Agent does use a professional photographer, right?). It’s amazing how much more attractive our closets and bookcases become when the contents are thinned down to the necessities. The garage is a great place for the extra furniture and go ahead and start your packing with out-of-season clothing, extra linens, and infrequently used pans and appliances. And store those boxes in the garage too. (Just make sure the Inspector can get to the electrical panel, the attic access, garage door, etc.)
After you’ve got your house ready to sell, you’ll be in a great position to negotiate all those offers that come in.