Going it Alone

: 16xx 26th St. West, just east of Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis
What: 3 BR/4BA 1921 Colonial with 3,400 FSF
Who: listed by owner
How much: asking price is $1.195M
When: originally listed July, ’08 (market time now = 16 months)

It’s rare to see upper bracket FSBO’s (“For Sale By Owner”) — this one’s asking $1.195M — for a couple reasons.

The biggest one is simply the fact that, as properties become more expensive and (presumably) unique, the “value-added” of good marketing goes up.

Put it this way: which can you say more about, hamburger or filet mignon?

Filet Mignon . . or Hamburger?

At $1 million plus these days, your home had better be filet mignon, not hamburger.

That means great location, great condition, and thoroughly updated. It also means tons of charm and character.

Not only must the home have all those things — they must all be shown off to maximum effect to prospective Buyers.
In turn, that means professional staging, professional photography, professionally written literature and ad copy, not to mention a generous — and well-deployed — ad budget. (Note the frequency of the word, “professional”.)
Oh, yeah: and professionally priced — by a Realtor who knows the comp’s, not an appraiser who’s never set foot in your zip code (or a homeowner who “knows” that his home is worth more than a neighbor’s . . . that sold two years ago).

Time is Money
The other reason owners of million dollar homes tend not to try to sell it themselves is that they’re too busy working to pay for them.
Even with jumbo interest rates at 5.75% or lower, the “nut” for a $1 million-plus home — including property taxes — can easily exceed $6k-$8k per month. That’s on top of the $100k-$200k downpayment you’ll need.
Who earns that kind of money now?
Partners at bigger law firms, doctors with lucrative practices, senior business executives, etc. Not exactly the kind of folks likely to spend their weekend holding open houses.
Which might explain why the owner of this house is a FSBO; according to tax records, they purchased the home in 1986 for $204k.
So, it’s just possible they’re not a high-powered lawyer, doctor, etc.
About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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