Now that it's harder to sell an apartment on the strength of a few Craigslist ads and offers of fresh-baked cookies at open houses, it would seem that the for-sale-by-owner trend (FSBOs, or Fizzbows) might take a hit. But some folks are still trying to go it alone and save that 6% commission, and the Times spoke with a few of them. Mostly, the story is a showpiece for 54-year-old bike mechanic Hal Ruzal, longtime Meatpacking District resident and new Curbed folk hero. Ruzal bought his MePa co-op for $87,000 who knows how many years ago, then turned the 550-square-foot one-bedroom apartment into an open loft space by ripping out the walls himself and building a new kitchen, office and sleeping areas. Now wants out of the neighborhood, and as he puts it, "The first five letters of broker is broke." So he's heading the DIY route once again, only with a twist.
Every weekend since September, Ruzal has walked the streets of the Meatpacking District with a cardboard sign advertising his apartment, shouting "Apartment for sale!" at al fresco diners and foreign tourists. We're not sure why we haven't been flooded with sightings and pictures of the guy (no Pastis fans here?), but we do know that the audio slide show accompanying the story is an instant classic. Follow Ruzal on one of his town crier forays, as he explains why he wants to move ("Seriously, it's not a normal person's neighborhood") and admits to the limitations of his unusual marketing campaign ("They think I'm crazy.") He says four people have visited his apartment as a result of the sign.
· The Faces of for Sale by Owner [NYT]