The market might not feel like your friend, but you have more control than you might think.

The housing market is rebounding, or at least that's what most of the experts say. So why isn't your house (or others in your area) moving like you think it should? Sometimes it's a real mystery, but you can tweak your sale to offer something a little more.

Before you think about extras, cover the basics that help a house sell these days. Some of those include:

  • Make the house absolutely spotless. Hire a cleaning service if necessary.

  • Hire a home stager and trust her, even if you disagree. She builds a reputation and gets referrals for genuinely helping buyers.

  • Get a home inspection. They aren't just for buyers, and will reveal hidden problems that you can fix before you list.

  • Be aware of home odors that you've grown accustomed to. Ask a close friend to be brutally honest so you can address it and correct it. (Example: Pet or smoking odors)

  • Investigate your area to see how your house compares to others in price and amenities. At eppraisal, we offer a home valuation service that does this for free.

  • Once the basics are covered, here are a few more ways to help your home really stand out:

    #1: Encourage Buyers with Meaningful Incentives

    Cookies taste great, and soft jazz music appeals to a lot of people. But turning an open house into a viewing party doesn't really convince buyers to put in an offer.

    Pay attention to the comments buyers make, or ask your agent to take notes if you're not there. You could find a goldmine of information about what buyers are looking for and where your house might be falling short.

    Maybe you've got a beautiful set of kitchen appliances, and offering to leave them could seal the deal. Or maybe the living room has shabby carpet and replacing it could win them over. Make an offer of your own in response to buyer comments, and Jim Fulgenzi & Co. ReMax agents say that might be the dealmaker.

    Caveat: Not every person wants the same thing, so consider tailoring your offer to the individual buyer. One might not care about carpet, and another might have his own set of beautiful appliances.

    Tangible security against the perils of a leaky roof or electrical problems can get people talking.

    #2: Offer a Buyer's Home Warranty

    Older houses can be harder to sell because buyers don't want a house that's riddled with costly problems. But a home warranty paid for by you can help seal the deal. A warranty and insurance work hand in hand, but they differ in a key way: Insurance repairs damage caused by something that's broken. A warranty repairs or replaces the thing that broke. For example, insurance would repair water damage, and a warranty would fix the defective plumbing the caused it.

    A warranty is important for first-time home buyers with overwhelming (and sometimes unfounded) concerns about whether a house is a good investment. But many seasoned buyers already appreciate the protection that it affords.

    All warranties aren't created equal. For a few hundred dollars, according to Bankrate, you could get protection for appliances, plumbing and the HVAC system. But another policy of nearly the same price might also protect the roof.

    Caveat: In most cases, a warranty will require a pre-inspection, as the issuer won't cover a system that is already damaged.

    #3: Make Your Listing Personal with a Blog

    In locations where the market isn't rebounding as fast as you'd like, personalization can help you engage buyers to win them over. One way to do that is with a blog where buyers can review additional information, see more photos, ask questions and leave comments. It takes a little time on your part plus a link to your blog from the real estate listing, but in many cases it doesn't cost you a penny.

    Wordpress and Blogger both offer simple, free blog hosting and free blog templates for the novice. All that you have to do is choose one that allows photos, fill in the blanks, and select the option that allows viewers to leave comments. Both blogging platforms walk you through the process.

    A Blog allows you to add a lot more photos of the house and write up blog posts that help buyers get to know the property. Maybe there's history behind the staircase, or maybe the soil on your property is perfect for avid gardeners. You can tell the story and show it in pictures.

    Caveat: Some real estate agents might frown on engaging buyers outside the agent's listing, so clear that potential issue first.

    Selling a house isn't as easy as it looks on TV, and most homes don't experience the enviable rush of a bidding war. More often, the whole process is a lot of work. The more that you put into it, the better your chances will be of selling your house in a timely manner and for a price that makes you and the buyer happy.

    When you're ready to move ahead, eppraisal can help you find the right professionals to sell your home more quickly.