Nail the sale: Britt Skrivanek and Athena Gu

Employing smart listing and design strategies helped this couple sell their home - and get back together full time.

Get past old expectations
Listing your house below what other homes in the area are selling for is a tough emotional hurdle for many homeowners, especially if neighbors sold their homes for much loftier amounts just six months or a year ago. But with a new development going up just across the road - one that's offering powerful incentives to both buyers and realtors - it's especially important for Skrivanek and Gu to undercut the competition on price.

Yet they can't bring themselves to go that far: Although Riordan and Schweppe's formula suggests a deeper cut, the couple decide to lop $2,000 off their price, bringing it to $161,000. Riordan is pleased that they've lowered the price but worries that the drop won't be quite big enough.

"Sellers still want what their neighbors got two years ago, but that's ancient history in this real estate market," she says. "You have to put aside your emotional attachment to your home and treat the sale like any other business transaction."
The problem Better first impression Fix what's missing Make it look like a bargain Get past old expectations Generate more enthusiasm
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.