Be realistic. Ask for help. Have patience.

If you're selling a house, don't skimp on a pro's services — which can earn you more than it costs — and be prepared to live in a showroom during what could be a bit of a wait for a buyer. Price your home realistically and be patient and know that things will stabilize.

Us the following tips as a guide throughout the sales process, with links to additional resources.

Before you list

Selling a house is likely to be one of the largest financial transactions of your life. Find a real-estate agent whose experience and commitment you trust. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals then interview several. Some things to ask include:

• What's your marketing strategy? This is where your agent really makes the difference. Make suer you discuss how your real estate agent is going to market your property.
• Will you represent me exclusively in the transaction, or the buyer, as well?
• What are your commissions and fees?
• What's your impression of my home?
• Can you provide the names and contact information for previous clients?
Gather your paperwork: Once you select an agent, he is going to ask you for a lot of information. Gather these documents:
• Prior year's tax bill, utility bills, water and sewer bills;
• Declarations, covenants or deed restrictions on the property;
• Assessments, surveys and plats;
• Sales and repairs of major appliances and building components;
• Inspections for pests or environmental hazards;
• Lists of items to be included in or excluded from the sale.

An agent will also run through the disclosures you need to make on the property, basically any problems that could potentially make the home less valuable.

The above documents will be needed, so start now in gathering the above items and you might even make a few copies to have on hand.

You can also find out which disclosure forms are required from your state's real-estate division. It's important, because even the most upstanding seller can forget a repair or minor blemish from long ago.

In some state if you don't disclose something, and it's found that you did have knowledge, you can be subject to triple damages.  Be aware of everything.

Get an appraisal: You can hire an independent certified appraiser or get a few real-estate agents to prepare comparative market analyses. CMAs will detail similar houses that have sold in your area over the past three months and will drive the agent's suggested price per square foot for your home.

You real estate agent can provide automated home valuations, so make sure to ask the agent to prepare a CMA on your property.   For now, deep local experience still trumps the computer models, so expect to revise your list price based on your agent's feedback.

There's not a lot of subjectivity. As the seller you need to be realistic and realize that the agent has all the tools needed to get an accurate picture of what the price needs to be to sell.

Price it right:

Buyers today are savvy. Eighty-four percent look online before contacting an agent, and two-thirds hire an agent to represent them.

The biggest mistake sellers make is overpricing their homes. Overpricing leads to price reductions and increased time on the market, both of which look bad.

When your home sits on the market and sits on the market, then your home becomes stale and it looks to buyers like they can negotiate further and the price drops more.  Set the right price at the beginning, chances are you'll get pretty close to it

Consider a home inspection: As a seller, it is not your responsibility to conduct a home inspection. But for about $300, you can uncover potential problems and fix them before listing your home.