How to sell your house for the most money:

#1: STAGE IT. There’s a lot to be said for employing the talented eye and experience of a professional stager. In fact, a HomeGain study shows that staged homes can sell for an average of 1.7% more than un-staged homes. At a time when our market is continually shifting, giving your listing a competitive advantage (with a tremendous return) is a savvy business decision. HomeGain statistics show that sellers who spend $500 on staging recover more than 343% of the cost when they sell their home!

#2: WARRANTY IT. Peace of mind is a valuable thing. In fact, a home warranty can help your property sell faster and for more money. According to a Service Contract Industry Council survey, homes covered by a protection plan average 11 fewer days on the market and sell for about $2,300 more.

#3: PRE-INSPECT IT. Most sellers wait until they have buyers in place before going through the home inspection process. Studies, however, show that getting a pre-inspection and resolving problems PRIOR to listing can save you 2% to 4% in repair costs vs. home list price.

#4: USE THE MAGIC NUMBER. Agents who use psychological pricing strategies help their sellers make more money simply by changing the price. In Zillow Talk, authors Rascoff and Humphries share that homes priced using the “magic number 9” strategy, which is to round down so that the price ends in “9” rather than “0,” sell for an average of $2,175 more and 3% faster. For example, a home priced at $149,000 rather than $150,000 sparks more interest and sells quicker… often at or above list price.

#5: CHOOSE YOUR WORDS WISELY. Zillow analysts researched the top 15 words used in the listing descriptions of homes that sell above expected values. They are: luxurious (8.2% more), captivating (6.5% more), impeccable (5.9% more), stainless (5% more), basketball (4.5% more), landscaped (4.2% more), granite (1% to 4% more), pergola (4% more), remodel (1.7% to 2.9% more, depending on price range), beautiful (2.3% more), spotless (2% more), gentle (2.3% more), tile (2% more), upgraded (1.8% more) and updated (0.8% more). If any of these words apply to YOUR home, let’s make sure to get them into YOUR listing description.

#6: USE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY. According to the Redfin Research Center, 44% of listings with “sharp” photos result in a sale at or above list price, compared with just 9% of listings with poor photos. Redfin defines “sharp” pictures as those where detail is added by using a good camera, lens, and lighting. Whether it’s a crisp reflection in a mirror or bright flowers in the yard, sharper pictures show a house in its best light. Redfin also shared that homes listed between $200,000 and $1 million sell for $3,400 to $11,200 more, relative to their list prices when professional photos are used.

#7: CLEAR THE CLUTTER. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, de-cluttered and depersonalized homes can see a 3% to 5% higher sales price. Anything that allows potential buyers to better “see themselves” in your home makes perfect sense.

#8: PRICE IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME. Listings get the most buyer traffic, agent attention, and offer in the first 2 to 4 weeks on the market. The longer a house is on the market, the more buyers begin to wonder if it has problems more serious than price. Long time on market = problem in the eyes of a buyer. That’s not a position that gives you any kind of leverage. Conversely, by pricing your home at or just below market value (real estate guru and Shark Tank entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran suggests 15% below the value), you instead create urgency for buyers to make an offer — and that could lead to multiple offers or a bidding war that quickly gets you more than the listing price.

#9: LIST WITH A TRUSTED AGENT. While this may seem self-serving, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, the typical FSBO home sells for $184,000, compared with $230,000 for agent-assisted homes. Add to that the peace of mind in knowing that there’s an experienced advocate on your side who’s prepared to negotiate on your behalf and act in your best interest — in addition to the time and stress you save not having to handle every factor in the listing and sales process — and it’s clear that using an agent makes for an excellent return.