We had lived in our home in Ladera Heights for 27 years. It is a well kept, three-bedroom, two-bath home with view and beautiful landscaping.
When we decided to sell, we contacted a well-known realty firm in the area. They took the listing and promptly did nothing. We then got hold of a second major broker who had sold a home nearby, who also took the listing and did nothing.
This took up to 90 days of miserable anxiety, waiting for a call from the broker for a showing that never came.
We bought two "For Sale By Owner" signs at a hardware store: cost $8, then placed ads in L. A.'s major newspaper. Total cost: $420.
We showed the house, mostly as a result of the ad, about twice a day and three times a week from the signs.
We had a flood of calls and about 70 real estate agents visited us, trying to list the house. Next came people who wanted a lease with option to buy. Finally, we told the callers outright: Don't come unless you have at least 10% to 20% down and be prepared to pay two points for the 10.5% loan from a local mortgage banker.
That seemed to help. Finally, after 60 days, when we were at our lowest ebb, tired and disgusted with the people who'd make an appointment and not show--a qualified buyer appeared, and our home is now in escrow.
Our advice: Be prepared for the most tiring ordeal you can imagine--most brokers want your listing so they can put it on multiple listing, sit back and have someone sell it and get half the commission. Only two real estate firms we later encountered appeared sincere and seemed like they'd really "work" for their money.
If you can stomach it, sell your house by yourself--if not, don't give any broker more than a 60-day listing, with the understanding you'll cancel if he seems lazy the first 30 days.
A. EDWARD HORAN