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Best bet to sell your home: Go pro

Allen Norwood
Allen Norwood writes on Home design, do-it-yourself and real estate for The Charlotte Observer. His column appears each Saturday.

Can you sell your own home yourself? You can try, and you might succeed.

But that's not how to bet. The late Robert Bruss, whose syndicated real estate column appeared in the Observer until his death last fall, used to share the same advice several times a year.

When selling, interview three successful agents who are knowledgeable about your neighborhood. They won't mind – because they know that most FIZZBOs (For Sale By Owner) list with an agent in 30 to 60 days, usually one of the agents interviewed.

Bob often pointed out over the years that 80 percent of home sales were handled by agents. In his columns and more in-depth bulletins, he said that tough economic times and complicated disclosure forms increase the odds that you'll need a pro to handle a sale with no problems.

And, heaven knows, these are tough, complicated times.

My wife and I sold a Charlotte home without an agent years ago. I stuck a sign in the yard on a Sunday morning and we had an offer by dark.That was then – this is now.

I'd never try the same thing in this market. Our current home is for sale – listed with an experienced agent.

Not-so-funny FIZZBO

I made a joke in last week's column that provoked more confusion than laughs. So let me set the record straight: Dot Munson, president of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association, is not selling her own home as the typical for-sale-by-owner.

Nor is she trying to bypass the regional multiple listing service or avoid fees to a buyer's agent.

In last Saturday's column, Dot talked about putting her own home on the market amid all the economic uncertainty. I jokingly asked her which agent she'd listed with. She jokingly replied that it was a “FIZZBO.”

For that, I'm told by friends of hers, she's being pilloried by a few members of the association. For some of them, “FIZZBO” is a four-letter word.

She's a seasoned pro, but she shouldn't endure attacks because someone missed the point of something I wrote.

Her home in Barclay Downs is listed through her own firm, RE/MAX Executive Realty. She's the listing agent, of course, hence last week's quip.

homeinfo@charlotteobserver.com

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