- MAY 14, 2003
home without Realtor inspires launch of FSBOLansing
Karen and Ian Wylie were impressed when they learned that one in four
Madison, Wis., homes are sold on a real estate Web site called For
Sale by Owner. The sales are made directly by homeowners, with
no real estate agents involved. The couple liked the idea so much that
they sold their own home on the Web site before moving to Michigan.
successful sale, they liked the idea even more and decided to establish
their own, independently owned Lansing area Web site, For Sale
by Owner, at www.fsbolansing.com.
Now less then two months old, the site has 70 listings, including houses,
mobile homes, farms, and commercial lots ranging from $9,500 to $569,000.
The newly established Michigan entrepreneurs say that For Sale By Owner
saves seller and buyer the costs of a real estate agent and allows potential
sellers the opportunity to ask buyers questions directly.
and Ian Wylie (left) established their own, independently owned
Lansing area Web site, For Sale by Owner, at www.fsbolansing.com.
The sales are made directly by homeowners, with no real estate agents
involved. MSU physician Erik Walchak, a Haslett resident, became
one of the Wylies first customers.
charge a one-time fee to sellers of $190, which includes six months
of continuous Web site listing and the use of a yard sign, which displays
the home owners phone number, and For Sale by Owner
in large, bold letters. The Wylies put the sign up themselves and remove
it when homes are sold. They post up to five photos of each property
on their Web site, which offers tips on buying and selling and how to
make sellers disclosure, as well as downloadable purchase forms.
Finally the properties are also advertised in local newspapers.
(City Pulse offers FSBO.com sellers a classified listing for six months
for $50 through the Web site.)
owners of FSBOLansing and City Pulse will sponsor
a free seminar Thursday, May 22, on selling your own real
estate without an agent. It will be noon to 1 p.m. at the Creole
Gallery, 1218 Turner St., in Lansings Old Town. A carryout
lunch is available next door at Portable Feast & Friends.
For more information, call (517) 333.1730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on FSBOLansing, see www.fsbolansing.com.
couple moved to Vanderbilt, Mich., three hours north of Lansing, they
hadnt planned to start a business in the Lansing area But Karen
Wylie, a teacher and a professional pianist, said that a most synchronistic
series of events eventually led them to begin this new career path.
She said they had always liked the idea of moving to Northern Michigan,
where their 21-year old son, Zachary, worked as an audio engineer at
a yoga retreat and where she and her husband had first met. When the
natural food cooperative where Ian Wylie worked went bankrupt, they
sold their house online for $155,000, which was $5,000 more than a real
estate agent had estimated.
We felt so positive about this experience that we arranged a meeting
with the For Sale by Owner staff in Madison and kind of picked their
brain, Karen Wylie said. They looked for a place to offer the
same service, and after several weeks of research they came up with
the Greater Lansing area. Lansing seemed like an ideal place, because
the FSBO domain name was still available and, more important, it seemed
to be demographically very similar to Madison. They are both capital
cities, and both have major universities. We know that up to 25 percent
of people want to sell their own homes, said Ian Wylie.
The former warehouse manager was particularly struck by the fact that
36 percent of East Lansing residents had college degrees. The Wylies
assumed that there would be enough room for business, because Lansing
seemed to be like a place with a high mobility rate. They registered
FSBO with all major search engines and started a leafleting and advertising
campaign, hoping to quickly push forward their project.
After accepting a new position in Indianapolis, MSU physician Erik Walchak
became one of the Wylies first customers. FSBO Lansing offers
a great service, said Walchak, who lives with his family in Haslett.
He is optimistic about being able to sell his home before July, because
in the short time its been listed on the FSBO Web site, already
13 families had stopped by.
FSBO owners pointed out that the way a home appears from the street
can have a big effect on the sale price. In preparation for potential
buyers, Karen Wylie suggests making each room look like that of a well-run
motel: clean, neat, with clear surfaces, and in good repair.
We dont know of anyone who doesnt like to check into
a well-run motel. It provides at least the temporary illusion of a serene,
organized, uncluttered existence that leaves behind worries and cares
and gives a pampered feeling to boot, said Wylie. She also recalls
having always made sure to have the smell of fresh coffee brewing when
potential buyers came to view their Madison home.
She also suggests writing a detailed description of the things you love
about your home, and putting it on the FSBO Web site. She believes it
was the style of their own description that drew people to their home
in Madison. Their message read: This home sits on a beautiful
lot of over ? acre, with majestic mature trees, a vegetable/flower garden
on one side in the back and a picnic table on the other side, shaded
by a cascading evergreen tree. The street is a quiet, tree-lined street
across from the Monona golf course.
Finally, the Web site business owners suggest using a lawyer to look
over the final offer, and using a title company to help with the closing
paperwork. The Wylies are in the process of putting together a service
directory that will include the names of the major title companies,
real estate attorneys, appraisers, inspectors and mortgage companies.
They say the average selling time for a home is 12 weeks, and they encourage
Lansing residents to give their new virtual real estate market space
a try. We often think of the words of Yoda in Star Wars:
Try? There is no try. There is only do, or do not.
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