Selling a home in many areas of the USA at the moment is a gamble. It is difficult to decide whether or not to sell, whether to list at what you feel is the market price, or whether you should undercut the market price.
If you are planning to sell your home, one of things to ponder first is: do I really have to move? Is this a good time to move out of my house? If you are planning the move because you have to move out of the area, then the choice is out of your hands.
But if you are planning a move because you need more space - can you extend your house? Can you build a garage with a room over it and run up a staircase outside? Would a sun trap conservatory satisfy the need for extra space - these are easier to pass through the planning process. Does your yard allow for a two story house extension to be built, it need only take up a small space in your yard. One large room and staircase going up to one other large room is ample for most people. You can always 'knock it through' to the main house and make the final adjustments after it is completed.
This type of extension is very popular with owners of the older one story homes, and the construction does not interfere in any way with your life (until the last phase). There is no plumbing or sewage work required, so it is not too expensive.
If none of these options work for you, and you need to move, then you must do some investigating into real estate in your area. Your real estate agent will help you with this. When you do choose an agent ask him if he is acting as a buyer's agent for any clients. You will need to know this, as it could create a conflict of interest for the agent if he is working for the buyer and the seller (you).
Having chosen your agent, check through the listings with him for comparable homes in the immediate area. You must take into account the yard, the condition and decor of the interior and exterior, the number of bathrooms and bedrooms and the newness of the appliances and accessories in both the kitchen and bathroom. Your agent will have local experience and also have a 'gut' feeling about price.
Some other factors will make a price difference such as vinyl clad windows, condition of the roof, also double glazing and whether there is a garage etc.
Once you have checked over several homes that have sold in your area, you and the agent will have an idea of the price that would be fair for your home. Another check that realtors will do for you is to see how far below the original listing price each property sold for. This gives you an indication of whether or not you can expect the same kind of discounted offer.
As your realtor will tell you, it is better to list it at a realistic price to start with, than to have to reduce the price two weeks after it is on the market.
When you get an offer, do not feel insulted if it is too low. Often a prospective buyer will come in low, just because the first offer is one way to get the negotiating started. If you want to more or less stick to your asking price, youcan 'counter-offer' with a price that is only $500 or $1,000 less than your asking price; your real estate agent will probably be able to advise on the prospective buyer's situation. However, the agent does not know everything, and often a buyer can suddenly come up with more cash!
Another point to remember is that sometimes a buyer will leave the bargaining table, but after a check around the market, he or she may well come back and re-enter the fray!
If a sale looks imminent, but is failing to complete for the lack of a few funds, ask your realtor to explain to you about 'seller's contribution.' Sometimes it makes sense to bend a little and secure a definite sale in this unstable housing market!