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Compass Your Real Estate Guide, llc
First, I'm not a realtor. But have moved numerous times across the country and sold houses in down markets with multiple offers. How? We make the house as neutral, make it look large by storying excess furnitgure and anything extra in the garage or atttic or basement in a storage unit. Why? It makes even a small house look bigger to have as little furniture in the house when you put it on the market. Our first house was 1776 sq, ft., 4 bdrms, 1 bath in upstate NY. In 48 hours we had five offers in a down market back in the 90's. We hired someone to professional clean the windows, replaced the hardware on the front door, bought new door mats, carpets, hired maids to clean the house, found someone to prune and add finishing touches to the yard. This was all done the week before the house had a realtor's tour on a Tuesday. We had a signed contract by Friday when I gave birth to my son.
In short, make the house move-in-ready. No red dining rooms, no weeds, no junk in the backyard, all projects finished and take care that every item in your linen closet is folded beautifully. Remember--every drawer, every closet door will be opened, inspected and judged. A good house, well taken care of, priced right will sell much faster than it's competition in a down market. Oh, and bake cookies in the oven. Smells from the kitchen make buyers want to stick around and eat a cookie or two. Good luck.
Matt Peters answer below nailed a key point when considering value when he said you need to consider what homes would a potential buyer of your home might also consider. As I said earlier, pricing is key and there should be a clear plan for how to handle pricing, including adjustments. I always take my clients to actually see some direct competing listings firsthand as we get to the final refinement of our pricing strategy. See more interesting thoughts you need to consider when selling next year in my blog article I referred to earlier. You can read it here: http://www.trulia.com/blog/david_stafford
Best of luck to you, contact me with any questions any time, I would love to be of assistance.
I would love the opportunity to make an appointment to meet with you at your home and discuss not only the general market, but also the local market specific to your home and neighborhood. Getting the chance to see your home is actually the only way provide the best value estimate as compared to comparable properties. Feel free to call me any time to set an appointment. I look forward to hearing from you!!
I would recommend you get a home inspection done, as well as talk with a local Realtor. Both will give you good advice as to how to get your home ready for the market. The little things (like neutral paint colors) can make a big difference.
Since all real estate is unique, values are always based on possible substitution. Sometimes the differences are greater than ideal. The direction of change value from today to a year from now is probably down. This may not be bad, depending on what you would be replacing your home with, and where it was.
It is difficult to predict required marketing time. It is very dependent on asking price and uncontrollable market conditions. I think that in your situation, there should not be a need for more than 90-120 days from market to close.