February 2008 Vol.3 No.2

 For Sale By Owner - Is It Ever a Good Idea?  February's Home Value Improver  About Us


For Sale By Owner - Is It Ever a Good Idea?

Selling your own home may sound enticing because you do not have to pay the realtor a commission, and who knows your home better than you? Before you embark on listing your home as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO, often pronounced fizzbo), it helps to understand what you're getting into.

  • It's a marketing project. It is no longer 2003 when houses were flying off the market in bidding wars. You have to be more creative than ever. Today's home requires selling, in the most literal sense of the word. You are embarking on a marketing project, so you need to know something about marketing.
  • Know your audience. What do they read? You'll need this information to know where to advertise. What are they looking for in a home? You'll want to know what to highlight. It's important to write a fantastic ad and use great photography of your home.
  • Get a market analysis. Most realtors will give people free market analyses. Take their advice because realtors know the market better than anyone. They also know what people are looking for and can give you tips. Most importantly, they are not emotional about the property as you may be. (I had a FSBO client who listed her house for $200,000 more than it eventually sold for because she was sure that her gardens would fetch a high price.)

If you do decide to list your home yourself, be aware of potentially serious drawbacks.

You are responsible for all legal disclosures about the property. This means you are legally obligated to reveal certain things such as termite damage, and make that information available at open houses. Be sure you know what exactly you need to disclose. Being sued down the road will be much more expensive than a realtor's commission.

When buyers make an offer on a FSBO, they often account for the lack of a realtor commission, and automatically deduct it. Even if you and the potential buyer split the difference, you still need to decide if it is worth it.

Negotiating will be in your court as well. You will have to do the negotiating yourself, also, instead of letting the realtor have those potentially awkward conversations with a buyer. You may find it easier to communicate with your buyers through a realtor, especially if communication gets heated.

The work is not over once you agree on a price and conditions. You will still have to make several calls to complete the sale, and the process is not always straightforward. One friend who sold her own house at her one open house thought she was on Easy Street. Instead, when she embarked on the process, she found that busy people were not always willing to explain important things to her.

Sometimes when you take into account all the time and effort you'll be shelling out to sell your home yourself, it may be worth it to get the realtor. Plus, you may always wonder if you could have gotten more money if you had it listed by a realtor.

February's Home Value Improver

Make Your Bedroom A Calming Haven

Ah, your bedroom. You should be greeted with a feeling of calm when you walk into it. If this sentence makes you chuckle, read on. It will take some work, but you can make your bedroom a calming haven, and it will be worth it in the end. Consider these tried and true methods to making your bedroom the relaxing place you want it to be.

Use calming colors. It may be tempting to try out flashy new colors on your bedroom walls, since the space is private. However, if a color is too bright it can distract you from getting the peaceful rest you want in your bedroom. Use soothing cool colors such as blue, green, and violet.

Match your furniture scale to the scale of a room. A four-posted bed that almost hits the ceiling will look crowded, the same way a teeny, tiny platform bed could be dwarfed in a large bedroom.

Have lots of storage. A cluttered room causes the opposite of relaxation - tension. Invest in furniture with storage. Get nightstands that are big enough to store your to be read pile of books, or whatever else collects on the floor by the bed. Consider a trunk/bench at the end of the bed to store extra bedding.

Think carefully about lighting. While an overhead light is perfect to illuminate the whole room, that is not always your No. 1 goal. A reading lamp next to your bed, especially an adjustable one that you can move around, is perfect. A small lamp elsewhere can set the mood for romance much better than an overhead light.

Take care of drafts and rattles. If you have an old house, you may have windows or doors that rattle when the wind blows. Even if you think you're accustomed to the sound, taking care of its cause will give you some much-appreciated silence.

Remove the television or computer. Anything that can distract you from your main goal in the bedroom - relaxing - is best removed. Who wants to lay in bed with a view of tomorrow's slide presentation notes?

Look to window treatments. Every hotel room has curtains, shouldn't your bedroom? Window treatments will frame your view and block out unwanted light. Even if you like some light in the room, a couple of nightlights may be easier to sleep with than a streetlight or a neighbor's light coming in the window.


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We heard yesterday from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the central bank will lower interest rates again to help to boost our economy. The turbulent financial times continue, and it's more important than ever to consider carefully all of your financial decisions.

You'll be seeing and hearing more and more mortgage ads encouraging you to take advantage of low rates. As I've said before, it's not just about the rate so proceed with caution!

Please feel free to call or email anytime for more information on any mortgage topic!

Best regards,
Debbie Siegel
Westchester Mortgage

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Click here to read my Mortgage Minute in ForeclosuresMass.com's monthly newsletter. This month's topic: Should you pay off your mortgage early?

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