In "the good ol' days" back in 2005-2006, it wasn't uncommon to see a home in your neighborhood go on the market and sell within the first few days. The kicker was that many of those folks were just testing the market and it worked! Those days are behind us now but what's happening isn't so bad, really.
True, home sales have spiked somewhat due to the tax credit offered which ran through April 30th but still, we're just not at a point that home sales are near what we have been used to. Putting your home on the market is as different now as it is for the buyers who are qualified to buy a home. Some things are the same for a seller in what has to be top of mind: pricing, curb appeal, cleanliness and being diligent in making sure all systems in the house are in proper working order. Any more, this isn't enough in most real estate markets. Now, a home has to be "top shelf" ready by hiring a professional home stager, having professional photos and/or video tours of the home and making sure there is as much internet exposure as possible from real estate specific web sites to social media platforms. Another big change is that it used to be commonplace to see "x amount of dollars in lieu of repairs" written on purchase offers. Lending institutions don't look favorably on this practice. The best advice for sellers is to replace that carpet or repaint those walls so the issue does not arise. A home on the market today has fierce competition so why not have your home as the best looking, best priced home in the neighborhood? It's got to be darn near perfect!
Home buyers are facing scrutiny in the loan process in ways they never have before. (This can be a good thing to a degree because there are no surprises for the buyer at the 11th hour but it's also the reason a home takes so long to close.) When a buyer is searching for a property, price typically is what appeals to them first and next, plenty of photos of the house. Next, upon seeing a house in person, they have to feel at home as soon as they walk in the door. They have many choices of really great houses to see and the saavy buyer has probably done a ton of research online on the homes they are interested in. They have a pretty good idea of the value of a home, the seller has to make sure that the value of the home includes price as well as a welcoming connection to the buyer.
On a side note, buyers and sellers, your Realtor has built relationships with companies and people who can make and keep your house at its best. The custom home builder I represent told me something years ago that rings true: A homeowner can call someone they found online to do a repair on their home, but if they call their builder who has a relationship with subcontractors, i.e. an HVAC person who installs 15 HVAC units a year for that builder, they will get a better deal. Realtors have those same relationships so use those connections, it will make the frustration of a home repair a bit easier to deal with.