Be pro-active.  Know what the problems are; be ahead of the sales game and the sale generally will be fast and without problems. 

What steps should you undertake prior to listing your property.

Get a home inspection and correct the minor items. Minor problems include concrete cracks; clogged gutters; dripping faucets; blocked chimneys and the like.  You can hand the inspection report  to the buyer who will get a sense of transparency and it is an excellent negotiation tool when used correctly.

Stage the home.  There is a big difference between staging and decorating.  Staging makes the home look brighter; larger and more welcoming.

At times an independent appraisal is warranted.  Always good to have in your back pocket especially when the banks appraiser is low in their assessment. 

Boost curb appeal.  The first thing a buyer sees is the outside of the house.  If that looks poorly than the interior of the home has already been tainted without the buyer even looking at it.  First impressions are lasting impressions.

Clean, clean, clean.  Clean out the garage; clean out your closets; store personal items (pictures, furniture).  Open things up.  The buyer are picturing their belongings in the home.

Make it a point of buying home buyer insurance.  Today it is expected. 

Remove items you plan to keep.  The hanging chandelier.  Don't show something that you plan to take.

Ignore the myths that abound when selling.  Some of these are:  Spring is the best time to sell; for sale by owner will save you money; first offer is always the best offer; paint will hide problems (mold cannot be ignored); list high to allow for negotiations; open houses sell properties (this is a source of contacts for the listing agent.  Very few homes are sold at open house).

Make things shine.  Wash the windows; polish the exterior door knobs; exterior lighting.  Power wash the driveway, sidewalks, roof tiles.  Trim the greenery. 

Gather together all the warranties, manuals, garage opener, keys, and have a list of utility agencies ready for the buyer.

Sometimes when all of your efforts are visualize you may decide to remain in your home.