Tell It and Sell It

Right Price, Smart Negotiating: Sold in One Day! E-mail
Tell It and Sell It
Written by Joanne Cleaver   

Jane Eanes didn’t want to sell the Pittsburgh-area house that she and her husband Russ had custom-built just two years before, in 2009. 

It was designed for easy and efficient living, right down to the geothermal system that kept heating bills to $30 a month.

But a sudden job relocation forced the couple to put their house on the market. The very first day, they received two offers – one for full price. Only selling ‘by owner’ netted the couple $22,000 more – enabling them to buy a home when they moved to Virginia.

The appeal of the house seemed obvious to Jane Eanes.  Geothermal heating translated to monthly heating bills of about $30 – a selling point both to the frugal and to the green-minded. The gardens were well planned, and the house was only two years old. But local real estate agents struggled to understand what the house offered and their attempts at articulating marketing points were clumsy and misguided. “I thought, if I’m coaching them through how to market the house, why are they getting the commission?” said Jane Eanes.

As well, the couple had put so much into the home that they knew they weren’t likely to get much equity out. “The price the agents suggested, plus their commission, would have put us at a huge loss,” said Eanes.
Suddenly, selling by owner looked like the only way out. Eanes explored, and quickly realized that the site’s easy-to-use web tools and step-by-step articles were all she needed to get the house showcased in front of millions of buyers.

She meticulously wrote and edited the listing description and took dozens of photos, with different lighting options, to have the very best options for the listing slideshow. She got the house on to the MLS and, and posted it to Craigslist, too.

As soon as the Eanes’ house went online,  buyers saw it and started calling. On the first day it was on the market, a  couple and their agent came by. Right on their heels was a buyer working without an agent. Though Eanes had advertised a buyer’s agent fee of 2.5%, the agent tried to force a 3% commission. The buyers had seen the house online and very much wanted it. But on the counsel of their agent, they made an offer 9% below the asking price of $232,000.  And their agent wrote numerous conditions into the contract.

Meanwhile, the buyers representing themselves had seen the house on Craigslist. They came, they saw, they put in a full price offer.  The Eanes  actually liked the agent-represented buyers more, on a personal level. But “the agent blew the deal for them,” said Jane Eanes. She and her husband  took the full-price offer, and had $22,000 more to work with when they relocated.

“Especially in a hurting job market, people need to get as much out of their home sales as possible, and ForSaleByOwner allows that,” said Jane Eanes. “You have to be willing to show the house yourself. But the tools that are there, at, help you navigate the process. I had never sold a house on my own, and the buyer had never bought on their own, but with the helpof thel ender and the real estate attorney, we didn’t miss having an agent.”

Use our Pricing Guide to learn how you can do what the Eanes did and price your house right for a fast, satisfying sale.


A Sears House: Just what the Buyers Ordered E-mail
Tell It and Sell It
Written by Joanne Cleaver   


“I don’t want someone to buy this house, as much as I want someone to adopt it.”

Tender words from a tough man. Tom Milnanow makes a living rehabbing and reselling houses. He usually doesn’t get attached.

But this little yellow bungalow, built in 1929, a Sears, Roebuck catalog starter home, has a loyal following.

Five times, lifelong next-door neighbor Marian Ranweiler, has brought an upside-down cake to welcome the latest family to move into the yellow bungalow. It was her father who built it as a gift to his newlywed daughter – Marian’s big sister.

Off the Grid, On the Market, Sold! E-mail
Tell It and Sell It
Written by Joanne Cleaver   

Off Grid

Off the grid?

What grid?

The little casita in the middle of the desert is about as isolated as you can get in this century.

Solar panels power the pump that draws water from 1,000 feet below the sand. Solar panels heat that water. The toilet composts. The stove uses propane. Heat stays out and cool in – or vice versa – thanks to the double-insulated roof and strategic cross-ventilation.

Michigan Vacation Condo Packs Surprises E-mail
Tell It and Sell It
Written by Joanne Cleaver   


Think Michigan’s sunset coast and the images that spring to mind are dunes, fishing and boats. The small towns that necklace the state’s western shore are havens for Victorian cottages and beachy bungalows… with woodsy cabins on their outskirts.

It would seem that condominiums wouldn’t find a home in this mileau, but a development in sleepy Manistee proves that assumption wrong.

From the street, the Roger and Sharon Huckendubler’s condo might be mistaken for a ranch house. Its white clapboards accented with marine-blue trim, the condo has an unassuming side entry, just past the three-car garage and by a narrow garden.

Church Conversion Heavenly for Live-Work E-mail
Tell It and Sell It
Written by Joanne Cleaver   


You could say that God’s work continued in the classic brick church on Church St., Edwardsburg, MI, even after the congregation moved out.

Kerry Jones designs and hand-crafts specialized wheelchairs in the basement – in what was once the fellowship hall. Cathy Bazata takes on the toughest occupational therapy clients, often working with them in what was once the sanctuary, under soaring beams edged with gingerbread woodwork.


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