The selling process begins with you deciding to sell your home. The first step is getting your house show ready! Your largest number of potential buyers and buyer's agents will see your property when it first hits the market and shows up as a "new listing". For this reason, it is certainly in your best interest to have your home completed, clean and ready to sell. First impressions are everything and you could very well lose your best prospect if your home doesn't put it's best foot forward.
Clutter: Buyers have a hard time seeing past clutter. Buyers want to picture themselves in the home and that is very difficult for most people to do if they are confronted with other people's stuff.
Clean: Cleanliness is paramount when selling your home. Homes that smell clean and look clean will always sell faster. Homes that are not, read as distressed or fixer upper even if they are not. Not to mention that if a buyer finds one thing that is dirty they will start looking for more, and we all know that if you look hard enough you'll find it!
Unfinished projects: We all have things we would like to do to our homes but unfinished projects can prove to be the nail in the coffin for achieving the price point you hope to sell your home for. Homes are either fixer uppers or they are not in a buyer's eyes. Some people enjoy the idea of completing projects, but they are going to expect a deep discount if they are purchasing a fixer upper.
Its so easy to overlook small unfinished things when you've been looking at them day in and day out. A good Realtor will walk through your home with you before you list and give you a non-negotiable list of items that need attention before it hits the market. If you aren't in a position where you can complete those projects, you'll need to evaluate their impact on price, salability, finance ability and effects on appraisals and inspections. Homes that are considered fixer uppers can sell for 25-50% less than comparable properties depending on the extent of the repairs needed.
Try not to take offense when a Realtor quotes you a price below what you were expecting. Keep in mind that although a CMA is someone's opinion, it is based on what the market dictates as a selling price. Overpricing a home does a huge disservice to the seller, potential buyers and the Realtor. It often results in a lower ultimate sales price because of lost potential buyers and stigmas that result with a property being on the market for too long. If you absolutely have to get a certain price out of your home, talk to your agent and find out if there is any improvements that you can add or repairs that you can make that might get you closer to that figure. Just because an agent tells you they can sell your house for a higher price, does not necessarily mean they are the best agent for the job. Look at the comparable, remove yourself from the personal connection you have to your home and take only the facts into consideration and you will have a home that is properly priced for the market.