Selling your home is a big decision, and it's one you want to make money from. Still, the process can be time-consuming and costly, especially if you've never done it before.

However, you can avoid losing out on major cash if you learn the ropes. Discover how to become a real estate pro and save money when selling your house with these suggestions.

Know the Market

Research your local area and get a good feel for the real estate market before you list your home. The longer your property sits in limbo, the less value it will have in buyers' eyes. Start by looking at other houses in your neighborhood that have sold in the past three months. Are prices going up or down? Which homes would you buy, and why?

Look at the residences currently for sale and attend open houses. What makes one more attractive than others? Does your property have any similar qualities you can market? Consider the current prices of your competition and price your home accordingly.

Ask for a Rate Cut

When you sell, you're responsible for the fees of both your and the buyer's agent. To save a significant chunk of money, shop around, and discover various rates. Don't be too shy to ask about discounts, either. While 6% is the standard commission fee, many agents can and will negotiate.

For instance, one national realty firm, Redfin, charges 1.5% to list a home. MLS Access, a California-based service, lists properties on the local multiple listing service (MLS) for six months for a $75 fee - but other available services are limited. When you meet with an agent, ask lots of questions - Who does what? Who gets what? - and ask if their rates are flexible.

Make Valuable Updates

Certain expenses, such as cosmetic repairs and repainting, can bring in more cash. Set a budget so you know what you can afford. Then, do your research to understand what parts of property buyers care about the most. For instance, you might upgrade the garage doors to increase value. You could also remodel the kitchen, adding modern cabinets and increasing counter space.

Don't forget about simple staging techniques, either. Remove photos and other personal items, allowing buyers to envision a future space they can live in. Increase the wattage in your lamps to make rooms look bigger and warmer. You can also plant fresh greenery in the yard, such as flowers and shrubs.

Try the Private Route

With a plethora of digital tools available, many of today's sellers opt to list their homes themselves. To start, you'll need to go back to your local research to determine an accurate price for your property. Overpricing by even $10,000 can lead to your house sitting on the market and ultimately selling for less than its worth.

Next, hire a photographer to capture beautiful shots. According to one study, homes professionally photographed sell quicker and for thousands of more dollars than those shot by amateurs. Once the prints come back, advertise your sale and hold open houses. When potential buyers arrive, make sure you hand them a copy of your sales brochure.

Selling Your Home? Save Money and Walk Away Smiling

Selling your property can be stressful, but it doesn't have to result in you losing money. Instead, follow the tips above to become a home-selling expert.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington