By Tara-Nicholle Nelson,

#10: Know your power. Understand what you can do to get your home sold, fast and at top dollar.

So much of the drama of selling a home is the sense of helplessness. It can feel like you’re at the whim of the market, prospective buyers and even your local force of Realtors!

Not so — in fact, you have a huge amount of power to control the outcome of your home selling experience. You actually make the decisions that have the most impact on whether your home sells, how fast it sells and what price you get for it.

It’s all about the Benjamins. You and only you get to set the price, and the price is the single most important determinant of how fast and for how much your home sells. Now, look — you know good and darn well from your own shopping experience — both real estate and retail — that a bargain-priced product catches your eye much more quickly than a regular priced product. Everyone wants a deal, so if you want your home to sell quickly, either price it lower than the similar houses on the market or make sure it is tricked out in features that buyers care about to warrant a premium price. The more buyers you lure into your house, statistically-speaking, the higher the price you’ll get for it. If you price your home low, you’ll get more buyers in it and maybe even get multiple offers. Yep, it happens — even in this market, but it usually happens to great homes listed at low prices.

Conditional love. You get to choose what you are putting on the market: a contractor’s special, a cosmetic fixer or a Pottery Barn-chic casa in move-in condition. If your home is in really bad shape, it’s probably not cost- or time-effective to fix it for sale. But if it has one major issue that you can afford to fix, like replacing the roof or trading out the rotten windows with dual-paned, it might just be worth the effort. Talk to your Realtor first about how the repair might get you more money or help you get the place sold at all!

If your home has lots of little handyman projects that need to be fixed — a hinky bathroom exhaust fan that sounds like a lawnmower; scuff-marked walls; or grungy, old-school cabinet hardware — get them done! Homes that are almost “there” are the easiest ones to get some big upside out of a good sprucing up. But do interface with your Realtor on this, and coordinate your spruce up with her staging strategy.

To market, to market. You control how your home is marketed, because you pick your listing agent! Be smart and pick one with a strong marketing plan that has demonstrated success attracting buyers in your area. And don’t ever mentally check out of the marketing process. Until your home is sold, go online periodically and have a look-see at how your home is being presented to web-surfing house hunters. If you don’t like what you see, take it up with your Realtor. They aim to please and will usually work with you to tweak your home’s marketing pieces till they reflect your home in as good a light as possible without using pics of someone else’s house!

See, you have a lot more power over the sale of your home than you thought. Wield it wisely!