As home sellers look to move out of their "American Dream," many are facing a new reality in today's market. Sellers are finding a lack of options due to limited equity in their properties, especially if purchased after 2003. Some are numbed by deflated prices and are finding it tough to justify new realities.

While hoping not to lose any additional ground, some homeowners have dug in their heels regarding pricing. Others are letting emotions stand in the way of good analysis and end up taking current market conditions personally. Buyers are centered on getting abundant amenities at a maximum value. Both sides need to be realistic and take into account fair market value over what they want to pay or receive for the property.

There are many compelling reasons to make your move now. Interest rates continue to be at record lows. No one can accurately predict when they will go back up. In addition, if you are selling for less, you will be able to capitalize on your next purchase by buying for less while taking advantage of lower borrowing rates.

Your Realtor -- your local expert -- can provide fair market value information, comparables and personal knowledge to enable you to make an educated decision. Pricing your home for sale just below market value will attract buyers' and agents' attention, while overpricing it will most certainly turn them away. Even if an overpriced home is later adjusted down, it is often too late, and tough to recapture interest.

Keep in mind the following conditions:

"¢ Appearance and overall condition: Do not rely on a buyer to have a great imagination. Make your for sale home appear light and bright. De-clutter by removing furniture. A good Realtor can advise you how to best rearrange your space to be the most appealing to a buyer. Remove clutter and excess knick-knacks and create an overall feeling of openness. Have a discerning eye review your exterior. Are bushes trimmed back or are they blocking the walkway? A freshly painted front door does wonders without much capital expense.

"¢ Terms: Although you may have properly price your home, insure that your terms are reasonable, too. Be open minded on what it will take to get the deal done, without giving up on what you need.

"¢ Incentive: Offering an allowance to paint or re-carpet may be very appealing to an overwhelmed buyer. Or, consider purchasing a home warranty for the buyer, to help with unforeseen expenses. What incentive will a buyer have to buy your house over another? There are a lot of options on the market, make sure yours shines brightest.

You have heard this from me before, but the market still has great opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Be educated and put your best foot forward from the beginning. Align yourself with a well-informed Realtor who will keep you up to date and informed while still realistic on pricing and current market conditions.

Market wrap

Craig Ellinwood, a mortgage banker with Atlantic Home Loans in Westport, reports that mortgage rates as of Sept. 6 are as follows:

30-year fixed -- 4.250% (4.415% APR)

15-year fixed -- 3.750% (3.869% APR)

5/1 ARM -- 3.250% (3.253% APR)

Conforming/Jumbo to $708,750 (Fairfield County)

30-year fixed -- 4.500% (4.615% APR)

Jumbo: $750,000 to $1,500,000

30-year fixed -- 5.000% (5.038% APR)

15-year fixed -- 4.250% (4.370% APR)

5/1 ARM -- 3.875% (3.407% APR)

Linda Skolnick, a Realtor with Prudential Connecticut Real Estate in Westport, can be reached by calling 203-246-0088 or through her website, www.GoAskLinda.com. You can also read her column online at www.westport-news.com