It is nice to have the luxury of time when selling a house. Owners can be more selective with the offers they consider. However, most people are under some pressure to convey the property within a relatively limited time frame. Although the market is a major variable outside of individual control, there are other elements of the sale that are entirely subject to the owner's actions. A proactive approach to dealing with these items can make all the difference between waiting weeks or months for a sale.

1. Most homeowners remain in their residences until the home is actually sold. This means that shoppers will view the house as it is presently occupied. Few prospective buyers can imagine empty rooms. Therefore, sellers are wise to make the dwelling as neat and orderly as possible. Removing clutter is the first order of business. Pack rats need to repent of their stockpiling in order to create more space. Accumulated junk makes the interior look too small so clearing counters, tabletops and shelves will increase the impression of spaciousness. Closets, too: if clothes and paraphernalia are bursting from the jambs, lookers will think these chambers are too small.

2. Owners -- particularly those who have lived in the house for decades -- have grown used to the arrangement of furniture and other articles that make a house a home. Yet they might be less attuned to how the layout is received by visitors. Pieces that are very bulky can impede navigability, as can too many pieces. Again, it is hard for shoppers to separate the appointments from the house. They will tend to see the residence as difficult to get around. Re-configuring the furniture or putting some in storage can make the place more walkable and more inviting.

3. Sellers make their homes more appealing by bringing the rooms to life. This means green plants and colorful flowers. Adorning each room with a little flora makes a surprising difference with the interior ambience. Several years back NBC News ran a story citing several studies that demonstrate how plants and flowers improve concentration, reduce stress and lift the mood. What better reaction would a seller want from a prospective buyer? Sometimes, intangible factors like mood and focus are powerful motivators to move quickly when opportunity knocks.

4. The above tactics work well only when the prospect is in the house. Yet many promising purchasers may never visit because the published photographs do not do the property justice. Whether the owner or a realtor markets the home, a professional real estate photographer is a must for a rapid sale. Such an individual can highlight the aesthetic strengths of the structure and yard while minimizing the blemishes. Surveys by realtors of satisfied buyers indicate that 87% of them were first attracted to their houses through online photos. Interest of this sort impacts home values.

5. Selling quickly, and at a decent price, requires some flexibility on the part of the seller. Price flexibility is sometimes necessary but equally important is being willing to clear out when somebody wants to walk through. On the price side, owners should remember that buyers do not purchase houses in order to enrich the sellers. Of course, home values play a large part in determining if an offer is worthy. Yet a large inventory of homes for sale works against sellers. Unless they do not mind a long wait, owners should always maintain an empathy for potential home buyers.