A thorough assessment of your home's condition is crucial before you start making plans to sell it. There are of course the obvious defects and there are at times hidden ones. To avoid costly pitfalls it is a good idea to get someone qualified, such as a home inspector or engineer, to look your home over and to create a report as to it's condition. Your Seller's agent will be able to provide you with a list of reliable and trustworthy service providers in your area.

While repairing all defects is an absolute must if you want to maximize the return on your home there are other crucial steps that should be taken prior to offering your home for sale, such as painting, cleaning, de-cluttering and staging your home. Staging is actually not about decorating, but turning your home into a model, and to appeal to the broadest range of prospective buyers possible. The goal is to make people feel like they could live there, and the best way to do this is to "neutralize" the surroundings.

Again your Seller's agent can play a vital role in this and guide and help you to prepare your home inside and out for a timely and profitable sale.Once your home is ready and goes on the market, it becomes a product. Pricing this product on your own can be very difficult at times. Your Seller's agent will be an invaluable asset because he or she is not emotionally attached to your property and can see it in a more realistic light.Your Realtor will create a Comparative Market Analysis based on recent sales and currently listed for sale properties in your neighborhood. This CMA will also factor in upgrades, the age and quality of improvements and renovations, and the current market conditions and trends. With this information at hand you'll be able to set an advantageous asking price.

Well kept homes that show well and are priced sensibly will almost always attract multiple Buyers and offers and in the end sell faster and at a higher price.Overprized homes on the other hand will not draw much interest and therefore sit on the market for a long time especially if they are in poor condition or disrepair. Eventually they will require downward price adjustments, and at times several ones. In the end it leads in many instances to a lower selling price as well. 

Most sellers have an emotional connection to their home and feel it deserves top dollar when sold. Everyone naturally wants to get the most money for his or her product.

Therefore I like to offer you some practical advice for establishing a fair, competitive and marketable sale price for a home:

Square footage. Total square footage is an important consideration when establishing a home's sale price, but this is usually just a starting point for buyers who will use it to narrow down the field, but make an actual purchase decision based on many other factors.

Location within community. Quiet cul-de sacs, golf or water frontage, lots that offer privacy are value add-ons that can justify a higher sale price over other homes in a community - or be leveraged as an advantage against competing listings.

Views... or lack thereof. Whether it is the ocean, a downtown skyline, the mountains, water or some other desirable landscape, buyers are willing to pay a premium for views and a home should be priced accordingly. Just be realistic - views that can only be seen from the second story bathroom window don't count.

Upgrades and features. For a home to sell quickly and for the price desired, it must be "finished" with as many exterior and interior design upgrades as possible. Any functional or beautification enhancement to a home are key considerations in establishing a home's true value, desirability and strategic sale price.

Community amenities. Secure communities or those with amenities such as a clubhouse, playground, swimming pool or fitness center are elements that raise a home's price. When pricing a home without these benefits, know whether you are competing against other homes that do offer such value add-ons so that you can price your home as aggressively and competitively as possible.

Comparable sales. You no longer can price your home based on price per square footage of other home sales in your community which happened 3 or more months ago, as these do not offer a realistic portrayal of current market conditions and trends. Focus more on prices of just sold homes and active property listings to arrive at a competitive pricing strategy.

Professional appraisal. Want to sell the home quickly? Price it at or below the appraised value. Buyers are educated, they are shopping deals, and they will recognize your fair price and be more apt to pay it with less haggling.

Current mortgage conditions. Lenders now require higher credit scores and higher down payments, which can cash strap buyers holding out for the best deal possible. Savvy sellers will understand the mortgage industry's impact on the buyer and will price accordingly or offer even seller financing in some cases.

 Please also explore my home staging tips section for further information on how to maximize the return on your real estate sale.