Q: I didn’t like this insinuation about FSBOs in my local paper this week.

It seems clear that Ilyce thinks of us as greedy, lying jerks trying to sweep the rug out from under poor, unsuspecting buyers. Why on earth should we automatically reduce our price by 6 percent because we aren’t paying a real estate agent?

If that’s the case, then it appears that every home listed through an agency has been marked up by 6 percent to cover the cost of commissions. I find it ironic that it’s a problem that FSBOs want to save money, but not a problem that a house may have been marked up to cover commissions.

We did a market analysis and met with a few agents before deciding to list by ourselves and we took the average of their suggested listing prices. We are in no rush and didn’t see the need for an agent at this point – but it was certainly not because we thought their suggested prices were too low.

We know what houses in this area sell for. And we certainly would not keep pertinent information from potential buyers. And we certainly have educated ourselves on the forms and steps required. I would imagine that holds true for most FSBOs.

A: I think you may have misread the advice offered in that column. As a FSBO (for sale by owner) myself (twice!) I like the idea of selling by owner, although I have to say it’s not for everyone.

What I was saying to the buyer in that letter was that he shouldn’t think that because he is coming to the table without an agent that the seller is automatically going to drop the price 6 percent. That doesn’t usually happen. The buyer should instead do his or her own homework to find out what homes are selling for in the neighborhood and come up with an offer based on that research.

Frankly, I don’t understand why buyers go out without an agent, who can help them figure out what a particular property is worth at a given point in time. But I completely understand why FSBOs try sell by owner before they decide whether to hire an agent – to put more profit in their pocket.

Good luck with your sale.

Aug. 2, 2004.