By ARIAN SMEDLEY
The Associated Press
In today's tough housing market, selling your own home isn't easy. Here are five tips that could help lead to that sold sign:
1. Find the right price: Overpricing the home is the No. 1 mistake people make, says Mike Malkasian of fsbo.com, a listing and resource site. It's especially true of you've invested in your home over the years. He suggests talking to a local real estate agent. They'll pull the prices of similar homes that recently sold in your area.
2. Try a multiple listing service: Local papers and free online sites are a great start, but experts say investing in a multiple listing service a requirement these days. A listing service gets your ad onto a database accessible to real estate agents and buyers in your area and nationwide. "To successfully sell a home, you need those eyeballs," says Mark Camphaug, president of www.freefsbo.com.
3. Stage your home: Seeing your house as a product can be difficult, says Sabrina Soto, host of HGTV's ''Get it Sold.'' She suggests asking an honest friend to tell you the negative features of the house. Make sure to do all the repairs, clean everything and consider baking some cookies before your open house so it smells inviting. Keep in mind too many little accessories looks like clutter, and define each room the way it was designed. ''Buyers don't have the imagination to see what the room is supposed to be for,'' she said. If you need to spend money, don't go over 2 percent of the sale price.
4. Don't over-renovate: If you're looking to do some renovations, be smart, says Monica Pedersen, designer of HGTV's ''Designed To Sell.'' Before anything else, invest in the kitchen, the bathrooms and the outside of the house. But don't go overboard. For example, if the average home in your neighborhood doesn't have stainless steel appliances, go with simple black or white. If you're beyond those areas, think about investing in your attic or basement.
5. Do your homework: Selling a home is time-consuming, so know what you're in for. Some states have laws pertaining to selling property. But Steve Udelson, CEO of owners.com, says the Internet has substantially changed the market. ''Now people can know what they're getting into,'' he said. ''There's a lot more transparency. The Internet has brought more choice -- more options for consumers. That wasn't true 10 years ago.''