Nail that sale: Joe and Jeannie Leocha

This couple in Fairfax, Va., faces a sagging market and needs to get more aggressive with their marketing.

Shower them with extras
Everyone likes to think they're getting a bargain. Even a small incentive can make buyers believe they're getting the better end of a deal and may tip the scales in favor of a sale.

While the Leochas can't match the freebies that builders are increasingly offering on new homes - gourmet kitchens and spending sprees at Pottery Barn, for example - they might offer to pay some of the buyer's closing costs, provide a home warranty covering repairs for the first year (say, if the AC breaks down or the fridge dies) or throw in a washer and dryer for free.

To entice more brokers to show the property, their marketing materials should trumpet the fact that they're paying the traditional 3 percent commission that buyer's agents get. Hey, realtors need a little motivation too.

Update: The Leochas have made most of the suggested cosmetic changes but haven't done more marketing and are holding firm on the four-bedroom listing and price. They still haven't gotten an offer, in part because so few buyers have come to look at the house. If their home doesn't sell soon, the couple say, they'll hire a realtor to take over the marketing for them.
The problem Marketing Move-in condition Smart cosmetic fixes Make it vanilla Price it right Give extras
Forecast: 100 biggest markets It is gut-check time in Miami and Las Vegas. Plus: See the few bright spots, the most expensive areas – and the most vulnerable. (more)
Homes from the housing bust What's on the market where prices are heading south. (more)
Buyers in charge: 4 strategies The good news: Rocky real estate markets mean home shoppers finally have the upper hand. (more)
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.
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.