Check out the ads in the real estate section of your local newspaper. If you read between the lines, you'll probably sense messages like, "Selling home-desperate!" or "Need to sell home, but can't find buyer. PLEASE!" If you're a seller, there are steps you can take to sell your home in a tough market.

Does it feel like the Dark Ages have descended upon the real estate market? With so much turmoil in the financial world, "selling home" has become the equivalent of "pulling teeth." Countless homeowners are butting heads with a tightening lending industry and declining home values. If your goal is to sell your home, you'll need to adopt some aggressive selling home tactics:

Sell home tactic #1: All the world's a stage

Home staging is a smart move in either an up or down market. It involves neutralizing the internal décor, and removing the clutter. The idea is to make your home's appearance as clean as possible, ultimately helping a future buyer easily envision living there.

Sell home tactic #2: The price is right

It may seem like a given, but finding the right price today is crucial. Chances are good that you'll have to lower your price, possibly below your comfort zone. Check out comparables of homes in the neighborhood that have sold, and make sure that yours is at the same level.

Sell home tactic #3: Do you really need a realtor?

You may be able to retain more equity if you bypass the realtor altogether. You can choose the "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO) route. Numerous FSBO websites allow you to post pictures and descriptions of your home for a minimal cost. Some will even rent you a "For Sale By Owner" sign that you can put in your front yard.

Fee-for-service arrangements only charge for services such as yard rental signs, newspaper listings, and assistance with paperwork. It's a great way to select only the areas in which you need assistance.

Sell home tactic #4: Curb appeal

Home staging services generally include an assessment of your home's exterior appearance, and for good reason. Curb appeal is critical, and there are some fairly simple tactics you can employ to spruce up your home's appearance.

First, assess the color of your dwelling. If your home has an old, faded hue, a new coat of paint can accomplish wonders. Choose a neutral color, and if possible, handle the labor yourself. You can also enhance your home's landscaping. An attractive front yard with flowers can create an instant emotional bond with a homebuyer.

The market has been throwing homeowners for a loop since the housing downturn began. Like all businesses in the midst of a recession, you need to compete harder and utilize innovation to improve your chances. No matter what state the economy is in, people will always need to move. Make your home the jewel of the market, and people who are scouring for a great value will snatch up your property.

Published on October 16, 2008