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Going it Alone Handling Your Own Sale Offers Chance for Increased Profit, and Headaches

Many condominium owners selling their homes in today's market are caught between a rock and a hard place. They may have purchased their home a few years ago, when prices were at their peak. Now if they have to sell, they are facing downward pressure on their asking price, which may not match their equity, leaving them "upside down."

To make the squeeze more manageable, some homeowners are choosing to sell their homes themselves, typically through real estate Internet sites like ISoldMyHouse.com or Craigslist. If they are successful, they are then pocketing the typical four to seven percent real estate commission or lowering the asking price by that amount to make a condominium more saleable.

But many who have tried the "for sale by owner" route report that it's far more difficult and time-consuming than selling an item on eBay.

Rick LaBaire is a small Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, developer who is selling one of his homes on his own for the first time in his professional life. The reason, says LaBaire, is quite simple. "Profit margins have been squeezed so tight that I choose to try—to try without any luck yet—an alternative route by marketing the house myself."

LaBaire, president of DRL Builders, has listed a 4,800-square-foot colonial home loaded with amenities on ISoldMyHouse.com for $399,000. A "for sale by owner" sign is planted in front of the house, located on a cul- de-sac near the Worcester/Auburn town line, and workers are putting the finishing touches on the stone walls and steps which gently lead up to the farmer's porch nestled on the front of the home.

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