Thursday, January 3, 2008

Haircuts & For Sale By Owners

I finally got a haircut last week. It had been almost a year and a half since I'd had one. I have long curly hair so I can get away with that. In fact, I'd been cutting it myself with pretty good results. Nobody noticed. Curls are like that--they hide a multitude of sins.

The thing is that with real estate, I'm an independent contractor. I don't get paid unless I close a deal. Closing deals takes a lot of time. I usually work 9 to 12 hours a day, weekends included. I'm not alone. Most Realtors work pretty crazy hours. So when I have money to get a professional haircut, I don't have the time. And when I've got the time, there's not enough spare money.

What's all this got to do with selling your home by owner? It's a stretch, but go with me here. It's been a busy week. There's money in my future but not a lot of time in my present for writing snappy blog posts today.

My dear Mom pulled me aside at Christmas Dinner and said, "Your hair needs to be shaped."  Dear old Mom. The only one with the chutzpah to tell me when I've been Doing It Myself for too long. Call in the professionals!

Doing it yourself is great for a while, but there comes a time when only a professional's help will do. When things get tough, the wise call in a pro.

A prospect called me a few days ago to tell me they're going to try For Sale By Owner for a while. They've got a little 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in a decent neighborhood. But it's 22 years old with original tile floors and original appliances. It's even got some original dark paneling in the 'craft room'.  I told them we could stage it nicely, remove the paneling and repaint, replace the kitchen appliances & counters, and THEN list it for about $320,000. They wanted $350,000. And they think that they have a better shot of getting it than I do, while in the midst of the worst seller market since about the Carter administration.

Suit yourself. Pretty soon if you're lucky, somebody close to you will pull you aside and tell you, "your house needs a little shaping up." THEN they'll call a professional Realtor.