The real estate market all but belonged to sellers in recent years.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, buyers scrambled to land homes in markets with scarce housing stock, and sellers enjoyed bidding wars and all-cash offers on their properties.

Then, as the pandemic waned, inflation shot up, pushing mortgage rates to the mid-6% to 7%-plus range.

Now, buyers are facing the double whammy of high home prices and mortgage rates. As a result, some are sitting the market out, leaving some sellers—and their homes—on the sidelines, too.

While sellers might feel like they’ve lost their hold on the real estate steering wheel, the reality is that many elements of the selling process are still firmly within a homeowner’s control.

“Sellers can’t control how much competition they’ll face from other sellers,” Hale says. “But they can make sure that they prepare thoughtfully before listing their home for sale, including making necessary repairs, cleaning or decluttering, and taking great photos to showcase their property and entice buyers to visit and imagine calling it home.”

What else can sellers do to get their property to fly off the listing pages? Quite a bit. Read on to find out.

1. You can control the pricing of your home

While it’s safe to say that all sellers want to list for top dollar, to actually land a high sale price, sellers need to take a critical look at their homes first.

“Sellers can control the price they are offering their property for sale,” says Cara Ameer, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in California and Florida. However, “just because the neighbor’s home up the street sold at the beginning of this year for top dollar right away does not mean yours will do the same.”

Understanding these current market conditions will save sellers from pricing their home too high. When that happens, a property often lingers on the market and becomes stale. Usually at that point, the only recourse is to drop the price—to what the home should have been listed at in the first place.

2. You can control negotiations

Depending on the local market, sellers might get offers above or below the list price. But this doesn’t mean you have to accept anything without negotiating with the buyers first.

“Sellers can choose their flexibility when it comes to negotiations with regard to offers that they receive,” explains Ameer. “Offers may be lower than what they would have expected to get a year or two ago.”

Though a buyer might offer a lower price for your home, as a seller, you can negotiate many aspects of a home sale beyond a simple dollar amount.

For instance, an important negotiation lever is the closing timeline. If you need more time to move, you can negotiate a longer closing timeline.

3. You can control the timing of the sale

Another decision home sellers get to control is when to list. Generally, by choosing to list your property during peak seasons such as spring or summer, when buyer activity is typically higher, you will attract more interest and potentially land better offers on your home.

“In most markets, sellers will enjoy the highest prices in history when they sell,” says real estate professional and attorney Bruce Ailion, of Re/Max Town & Country in Atlanta. “Sellers who are downsizing can lock in their gains.”

Additionally, if a seller feels pressure to sell their home but prefers to wait for a better market to buy, they can.

4. You can control what repairs you do

As a seller, you can also decide what repairs you will or won’t do on your home.

“If a buyer comes to the table with a generous offer but huge demands for covering repair costs the seller thinks are bogus, sellers should be prepared to tell the buyer’s agent to pound sand,” advises Tyler Drew, a real estate developer in California.

Drew points out that any home inspector worth his or her salt will have already alerted you to any serious issues that need to be addressed.

“Sellers would do well to know their house inside and out and be prepared to reject demands for repairs that aren’t necessary,” he says.

If the home inspection discovers needed repairs, you can save yourself the headache of doing them by knocking down the asking price.

Beyond big repairs, sellers can control the small upgrades to their home that will help them land a higher selling price.

“Sellers, at a minimum, need to do some prep for sale, whether that is paint, upgrading appliances, or freshening up the landscaping,” says Ameer.

By repairing glaring issues like water stains on the ceiling or mold in the basement, you’ll add some curb appeal.

5. You can control which real estate agent represents you

Sellers can control the skill, experience, and marketing plan of the real estate professional they select to manage their home sale.

By carefully vetting potential agents, sellers can ensure they choose someone who understands their needs and has a proven track record in their specific market.

“As an agent, I often find sellers focused on what they can’t control rather than what they can,” says Ailion. “Inevitably, this leads them to the wrong conclusion about when to sell. This might not be the absolute best time to sell, but it is a pretty good time to do so.”