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The Fizzbows: Open Houses and Closed Drawers

Didn't think we'd let the week slip away without another report from The Fizzbows, didja? For those who've missed the initial reports, they're a family selling their 2BR on the Columbia Street Waterfront (view, above) in Brooklyn for $599,000 via the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route. Tactics include a flashy website showing off the apartment and hosting open houses.

In that spirit, today's report covers The Fizzbow's open house fun last Sunday. Full report in their own words after the jump, including a confrontation of this universal fear: "Are people going to go through my underwear drawer?"

29 Tiffany 6L Open House Report
By Mrs. Fizzbow

The week before the open house was pretty crazy. People I barely know were stopping me in the building and on the streets to compliment the website (that little site has had a lot of pass-along value). I tried to nonchalantly take credit for the site, but all I did was help straighten-up the apartment for the photos and write some copy.

We worked all week to get the apartment in showing shape. Because we’re minimalists, streamlining the closets wasn’t as grueling as we feared. It’s been cathartic to throw out things I know we won’t take with us when we move. With our place looking so streamlined, suddenly I’m wondering why we need to move after all.

It snowed Sunday morning, which I think helped weed out some of the “lookers.” A buyer had to be pretty serious to venture out on such a disgustingly wet, cold, slippery day. Prior to Sunday, I had really weird anxieties: are people going to go through my underwear drawer? Are they going to mock my choice of bedding? And worst of all, will they steal some of our playmobile toys?

Thankfully, everyone who came was so nice; they all asked if we wanted them to remove their shoes (we didn’t) and complimented our website and our apartment décor. We’d be happy to sell to any of them.

We had a feeling buyers might feel uncomfortable opening cabinets and closets while we (the owners) were there. So we were overly conscious to open every drawer, cabinet, and closet possible. We also tried to give buyers some ‘alone time’ so they could browse the apartment solo while we talked with other buyers.

We didn’t keep track of the exact number of people who came, but we’re guessing about 35-40. Out of everyone who came, there were only two brokers (with one client each). Everyone else came without a broker.

Over the last few days, we received several calls from brokers wanting to list our place. While we aren’t interested in that service, we are happy if brokers bring potential buyers to our place. Our only requirement is—if their client makes an offer—it would ideally need to be higher than the next-best offer (to accommodate the broker-referral fee.) It was really nice that one of the two brokers called beforehand to make sure it was okay she brought her client.

During the open house, Mr. Fizzbow and I tag-teamed the different groups of people so we could show them the apartment and the building amenities before they left. By 3.30 PM, we couldn’t believe how exhausted we were. We’re not used to talking constantly for two and a half hours at a time.

Even though we aren’t using a broker, people seemed reassured to know we are working with a real-estate lawyer who specializes in FSBO. Our lawyer (Mitch Tallis, 718-625-6486) has been a great help in defining and managing the offer-procurement process. He’s also been great at helping us estimate all possible costs related to the sale of our apartment.

The highlight of the afternoon was when a writer from the New York Times came to view our apartment. She had heard about our website and had come to feature our place in the “On the Market” segment of this Sunday’s paper (and real estate section of NYT.com). She was very complimentary (and nice), and was genuinely interested in our FSBO experience. If that doesn’t get the word out, nothing will.
· The Fizzbows: Inaugural Report from the FSBO Front [Curbed]
· Meet the Fizzbows! [Curbed]