Do you need to sell your home fast? Well before you get started you should take the time to understand the dos and don’ts involved with this process. First, let’s discuss the don’ts. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes overanxious homeowners make:

  1. Making small price reductions again and again.  Nothing smacks of desperation more than incremental price drops. The more times the price is cut, the staler the offering appears. Buyers assume that a lot of people must have seen it and that a lot of people must have rejected it. And if that’s the case, why even bother considering it? Don’t do this. Instead, slash the price. Find out what your house is worth by looking at similar properties in the neighborhood and price it 10% below them. If you start high and start lowering it, you will never get to the number that you will get to by starting low and going up. The most enticing houses on the market are the newest and the cheapest. If you can be both, you’ll offload yours in no time.

  2. Hiring the wrong broker. Personal recommendations from friends are often the best way to find a good broker.  The best brokers do 90 percent of all the business. So don’t get stuck with a lemon.

  3. Waiting it out. If you decide to wait, you are joining the thousands of other homeowners who have also decided to wait. When a few decide it’s time to take the plunge, you are already too late. If you need to sell now, then sell now.

  4. Showing your house before you de-clutter. Make sure to first clear out your house before trying to sell it, so that the buyer can look around and see their house of the future, not your house.

  5. Not taking the first quick bid. This happens all the time. The buyer makes an offer and suddenly the homeowner is filled with confidence. The first offer doesn’t seem great and you naturally assume there are better offers to be had. So you don’t accept…big mistake.

Now that you know what not to do, let’s look at the do’s. Here are some tips to generate interest and get the best price possible for your home:

  1. Take a lot of quality pictures. Buyers today shop by photos. Lots of good photos on a sunny day make your home look larger and brighter.

  2. Promote your own house. On average, it takes 8 lookers to get one bid. The more people in, the more bids you get.

  3. Sell your house on e-Bay. By paying a small fee, you can get your house a great deal of attention at practically no risk. E-Bay draws a lot of traffic to your house and, what makes it even better, is that you can walk away at the end—the auction is noncommittal.

  4. YouTube your house. A YouTube tour gives the buyer your personal perspective on what’s special about your home. If you choose this method, you should have a proactive approach in getting the video seen. Send links of the video to interested parties and make sure your broker is doing the same. Insist that your broker get it on their company’s website.

  5. Go beyond traditional realtor networks. Two out of three homebuyers start their search online. The 3 highest-traffic websites are: (1), (2), and (3)

  6. Listen to your agent. The key is to separate the emotional qualities of your home from the basic functional qualities of the house.

  7. Make a good first impression. The first thing a buyer will see is the lawn or patio as they walk into the front door. Keep those areas very neat and in pristine condition. If you really want to attract the buyer, put high quality furniture on your patio.

  8. Stage it right. Typically, sellers should expend to spend two to four weeks preparing their home for sale, and be ready to spend as much as 2% to 3% of its list price on improvements. It may be worth it to hire a professional home-stager. You can check for local members. As a first step, you should hire a home inspector for a “pre-inspection” to identify all of the issues that would otherwise turn up in a buyer’s inspection. These inspections give you the opportunity to make repairs so buyers won’t reject your home out of hand or use problems to negotiate against you. Investing in improvements is the next step. This often means installing granite countertops and hardwood floors, even in starter homes. All other things being equal, those two features will put you head and shoulders above your competition.

  9. Negotiate the price. To head off a price reduction, try offering perks that add value for the buyer without costing you too much. Don’t include the incentives until you make a counteroffer, or else your tactic could backfire. For instance, buyers may want you to cover part of their closing costs. But if they know too early that you're willing to ante up the money, they'll expect you to reduce your price by that much -- and still ask for closing costs later.

  10. Include a financial goody bag for the buyer. For example, you could offer to prepay taxes or closing costs. You can also pay for a year of landscaping, pool cleaning, or maid service. Be creative, use tactics that you think would entice a buyer.

  11. Qualify the buyer. The best offer isn't always the one with the highest price. It's the one that will close, and that means buyers must assure you they will qualify for the financing they need. A preapproval letter (the buyers have qualified for a loan based on an application documentation) from a known, creditable lender beats a prequalification letter (a ballpark estimate of what the buyer can afford). If you receive an offer with only a prequalification, your agent can call the buyer's lender to scope it out. Or better yet, ask the buyer for permission to get financial details from the lender.

    You could ask buyers to sign a financing addendum to the purchase contract. The buyer must agree to be fully approved for financing and ready to close in a set amount of time -- typically two weeks to a month -- before the scheduled closing. If the buyers and their lender don't meet the deadline, the seller can cancel the contract.