We've got a few tips to help you get what you want, courtesy of Barbara Corcoran, The Today Show's real estate consultant.
- Timing is everything. Most houses don't sell until after Super Bowl Sunday. So in general, you don't want to put a For Sale sign in your yard until then. If your home's already on the market or has been listed for more than four months, take it off the market. Then re-list it in a couple of months as new because most buyers think that properties that have been sitting must be defective.
- Price it at exactly what it's worth. In other words, don't build "wiggle room" into the asking price. Instead, find out what similar homes are selling for in your area, and price yours 15% lower. That way, it'll be the first house shown.
- Stage it. That means going beyond the typical cleaning and de-cluttering. You want buyers to imagine themselves living in your house. It typically costs $1,500 to stage a house. If you can only afford to stage one room, the living room is your best bet.
- Lighting comes in second only to location as a reason buyers choose a particular house. So, paint the inside walls a light, neutral color, clean your windows, and trim back shrubs and trees. Also, replace the heavy drapes with sheer curtains or shades, and put sheer white shades on your lamps and use higher-wattage bulbs. Light equals happy - dark equals depressing.
- Wage war online. Nearly 90% of buyers now start their home search online, and the way your house looks online is the modern equivalent of "curb appeal." So, rent a wide-angle lens, use good lighting, and post at least eight great pictures of your property. Also, don't rely on your broker to post your listing in all the high-trafficked websites. Make sure you're on the most visited home sites like Yahoo! Real Estate, Realtor.com, and Zip Realty.