The first thing you need to know when contemplating selling your home is your own mind.

Motivations for selling include job transfer, financial need or simply the desire to move into larger or smaller quarters, according to an article in the current issue of Country Living, and what you need to do is separate needs from desires.Consider the ramifications of the factors motivating you to sell, ramifications that will determine your action.

Pressures of time and economics have a direct bearing on asking and selling price, unless you live in a hot market area with a desirable property.

Often a combination of factors is at play. Whatever your reasons for selling, be honest with yourself and be prepared to explain your position to potential buyers. Buyers will want to know your reasons and they should be told - within general terms suitable to you.

If asked why you are selling, simply say you are moving to a smaller home or larger home, or being transferred, or you want to be closer to children or parents.

If the truth is unpleasant - death, divorce or illness - avoid that answer. Prospective buyers may turn away from what they perceive as unhappy houses.

Be prepared to have a destination in case you are asked. It is of the utmost importance for you to understand your motivation and accept your own decision in selling your house.

Some causes for selling leave no room for doubt - job relocation, for instance. In other cases, your decision controls what you do.

If you are operating under a desire to sell rather than a need-to-sell situation, beware of irresolution on your part that could contribute to disrupted dealings and possible loss of money. It could, for instance, lead you to turn down the first offer you get - for the wrong reasons.

There is an old real estate maxim that the first offer is usually the best offer. A house new on the market is more attractive than one old on the market. There is no logical reason for this since it is still the same property, but that is the way buyers react.

If a house is new on the market and buyers like it, they are subject to the fear that someone else will get it before they do. If a house has been on the market for a while, buyers wonder what is wrong with the property.

Awareness of this response may lead real estate agents to offer the cliche, "Someone else is interested." Avoid the phrase - it is unethical, unimaginative, smacks of sales pressure and leads to distrust. If someone else really is interested, and another prospect asks, of course he should be informed.

If you are not fully committed to the idea of selling your house, it is best to delay the actual entry into the market.

Realty people frequently encounter uncertain sellers who put their home on the market to see what happens and this can lead to problems.

The sincere real estate agent will counsel uncertain homeowners to wait until they have reached a decision. The astute salesperson knows honesty is usually rewarded with a determined listing and that a wavering home seller represents a troublesome listing.

Undecided owners create a core of difficulty and emotional stress for sellers, buyers and realty people. As a future seller, a homeowner might hang this credo next to the Home Sweet Home sign: Make up your mind to sell, but don't try to sell until you've made up your mind.