This about selling our house in San Pedro.

Boy, have things changed.

1. The market has taken off.

2. You can't sell by owner anymore. For whatever reason, people just won't make an offer. They will have their agent check you out, but that's sure death on any possible sale. The agent always reports that it is a bad deal. If you think about it, Realtors can't afford to encourage FISBOs. (For Sale By Owner) By definition they would lose half their income even if owners cooperated by paying a selling agent.

We had it up for sale @ $254,500 for 6 months without a reasonable offer in 1996. This time we decided to sell by owner and Cheryl researched the market. After reviewing Cheryl's list of "comps" we advertised it at $285,000. After two weeks and several scores of people looking without an agent, Cheryl said the market was heating up. Houses were selling at elevated prices. However we only had one low ball offer. The handwriting was on the wall; we were probably going to have to list it with an agent.

However, we raised the price to $295,000 and remained FISBOs. (I have been known to be stubborn.)

Lots of lookers but no offers.

After another two weeks had gone by, Cheryl said we were under-priced by what she could see.

We raised the price to $304,000.

Lots of calls, but the best offer was $285,000 with us taking back $15,000 in paper.

After two weeks, we decided that we had to list, but decided to take the house off the market for a while.

Now people started to knock on the door. "Wasn't this house for sale?" "Yes it was, but it isn't now."

Two offers at $299,000 but with an agent involved which would cost us $9,000.

Then one day a lady came to the door that I distinctly remembered seeing the first week we had the house for sale.

She wondered if she and her husband could look at the house. For some reason, Cheryl let them in. That night they called and offered $285,000. I explained that we had already declined a better offer.

"Would we talk with their agent?"

"No Problem."

The agent called the next day, and explained that she had called that first week on behalf of the folks now wanting to buy the house. She had told them that the house was overpriced, so they kept looking.

"What would we take for the house now?"

Cheryl and I talked it over and decided that we would probably list at $330,000 and sell at about $320,000 with an $18,000 commission. We decided on $312,000 and agreed that we would pay a 3% commission. I gave the Realtor our position, and told her we had plans to go to our cabin for the weekend. Monday, the Realtor called us at the cabin and accepted the offer.

(The Realtor has since confided to us that she is really on the @#$^%* list of the buyers. She had not even come out to look at the house when they asked her opinion that first week.)

The morale of the story:

1. If you want to sell your house quickly you have to deal with Realtors.

2. Sometimes it isn't best to sell quickly.

3. If you are going to sell your house, have Cheryl appraise it for you.

4. Always listen to your wife.

5. Most importantly, God looks out for dummies like me who think "I can do it myself." (I couldn't sell by owner, but if I had listed originally, the house probably would have sold for $280,000 in March.)

E-mail: barry