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By turnercowles
May 31, 2014

The most important thing you can do to speed a sale is to price your home right. After all, buyers have access to the same market data you do. If your asking price is out of whack for the neighborhood, they’ll move on to the house next door.

After that, it’s important to make your home shine. That doesn’t mean you have to drop a ton of money on professional staging. Outside, tidy up the front yard, pressure-wash the deck, and repaint the front door. Swap out dated fixtures. Agent and Zillow blogger Brendon DeSimone suggests checking our your address on Google Map’s street view to see what the buyer sees.

Inside, a thorough cleaning and decluttering pay the biggest dividends. Eliminate pet and smoking odors. If your tastes tend toward the outré, consult with your agent about whether repainting bright walls or replacing loud carpets is worth the money. Experts generally recommend neutral colors, because they don’t distract from buyers’ ability to see themselves in your home.

Need more input? A two-hour consultation with a professional stager can yield helpful paint and lighting recommendations, as well as suggestions for how to arrange furniture. Typical cost: $150 to $400, according to contractor referral site Fixr.com.

Another potential way to encourage a sale is to have the home inspected before you even put it on the market. Not only will you head off trouble at the pass, you can share a good report (or highlight fixes) with prospective buyers.

Once you’ve done all that, get the maximum exposure for your home by asking your agent to post it on Craigslist in addition to major real estate websites. Many savvy sellers also create videos to accompany the listing or share on YouTube.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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