Selling Your Home on Your Own? It’s No Walk In the Park

It looks like a no-brainer. Spiff up your house, do a little self-staging (well, box up your figurine collections), throw a sign up in your front yard and save yourself thousands of dollars when selling your home. What the typical FSBO (for sale by owner) seller may not take into account, however, is that it means making dozens (if not hundreds) of decisions — some of which can have legal, costly consequences.

First, it should be known that although you don’t see real estate agents standing sentry at each of their listings, selling a home can become a full-time job when doing it on your own. There are a few pros and cons to consider before going down the FSBO path — one that looks nothing like the yellow brick road.

The most common reason people sell on their own is, of course, to avoid commissions, which are paid at close of escrow (settlement) time. Commissions average between 3-6 percent of the home’s purchase price and are typically paid by the seller from the proceeds of the sale. In an agent-employed sale, the buyer and seller have their own agents, with the commission split in some fashion between the two.

A pro to selling a home on your own may also mean you don’t have to listen to an agent tell you how to prepare your home to sell, which sometimes takes an investment in staging, updating, etc. if your home is 10 years old or older. In more competitive markets, that investment may be much higher in order to compete with other listings that are similarly prepared. Savvy agents tell their sellers to consider this investment in order to sell quickly and at the highest price possible, but you are responsible for both the price at which you offer your home as well as the final price you settle on.



Credit: David Beck, First Rate Mortgage Group

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Philadelphia: Where Did Home Values Rise the Most Over the Last Year?


Home values are on the rise in Philadelphia. Real estate services firm Zillow’s Home Value Index shows a 9.1 percent increase in home values citywide over last year.

Using Zillow data, we decided to take an in-depth look at the city’s ZIP codes to see what neighborhoods are increasing in value and which ones aren’t. The ZIPs are ranked by the increase in home value, according to Zillow.

In the accompanying gallery, we present the one-year percentage increase in value, the projected increase in value over the next year and the median home value in the ZIP code.

Pictured is a random home currently for sale in the ZIP code. We tried to pick properties that are priced near the median value.




Credit: Philadelphia Business Journal

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Where to Get Fastnachts and Paczkis in Philly on Fat Tuesday


For some folks, tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, a.k.a. Fat Tuesday — so named because you’ve got to use up the eggs and butter in the house before Lent starts on Wednesday. Whether or not you give up any goodies for Lent, Fat Tuesday in Philadelphia means fastnacht, the donut-like Pennsylvania Dutch solution to this problem.

In the city’s historically Polish neighborhoods, it means paczki (pronounced “push-key”), which are filled, sugar-dusted rounds similar to a jelly donut. And this year, one Philadelphia restaurant is even serving calas, a New Orleans take on the fried dough delicacy that’s made with leftover rice. Read on to find out where to get your Fat Tuesday treats tomorrow.


Photo Credit: Haegeles Bakery

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This Will Be Where Amazon Puts Its Second Headquarters, According to Experts


By the end of this year, Amazon will announce a location for its second headquarters, bringing the tech giant’s massive search for “HQ2” to a triumphant close.

As of Thursday, 20 cities were left in the running, whittled down from 238 that applied to bring the company’s new campus to their zip code. There’s no telling who will come out on top, but experts say we can look to its first address for clues.

Launched in Seattle in 1994Amazon transformed the city into the still-growing tech hub it is today. About 40,000 employees currently work in Seattle, and the company says it has pumped $38 billion into the city’s economy from 2010 to 2016 alone.

If Jeff Bezos and company want to replicate that kind of impact, “they’ll need to find a place with those same characteristics,” says Santiago Gallino, PhD, Professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.




Photo Credit: Thrive Global
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A Rare Queen Village Mansion Eludes Redevelopment, will Remain a Home

Nestled among a string of rowhouses in Philadelphia’s Queen Village neighborhood, the property at 113-21 Bainbridge St. is nothing like its neighbors.

 Although the brick houses that sandwich it measure just a few thousand square feet, the property at 113-21 Bainbridge St. far outdoes that in magnitude. And although many of the homes nearby exude simplicity and charm — with a few million-dollar houses, to boot — the 113-21 Bainbridge St. property is the only one on the block to boast white columns, wrought iron, and a tall brick wall that keeps the public out.

That’s because, somehow, in one of Philadelphia’s most historic neighborhoods, a sprawling, 7,000-square-foot mansion rose in the heart of the city. Although its origins remain unclear, the intrigue surrounding the unusual home continues today. Read more…

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Bella Vista Church Emerges as Latest Example of Preservation vs. Development Tensions in Philly

    by Caitlin McCabe, STAFF WRITER @        Camera icon JESSICA GRIFFIN 

When the property located at 1020-24 Christian St. was listed for sale this summer, its description came with an urgent warning.

“Excellent development opportunity,” the post began. “The demand for single-family and multifamily residential in this area is particularly high.”

“This opportunity,” it continued, “will not last long.”

By the end of the day, the sprawling 6,500-square-foot property was under agreement.

In a real estate market as strong as Philadelphia’s, to have a property sell quickly is far from atypical. But this is no conventional property — nor is its buyer.

When developer Ori Feibush saw the listing for 1020-24 Christian St., better known as the Christian Street Baptist Church, he jumped at a chance to build in a “strong neighborhood,” he said. After all, Bella Vista — the neighborhood well-known for its Italian Market and bounded by South Street, Washington Avenue, Sixth and 11th Streets — has seen an influx of cash, new populations, and development in recent decades as the neighborhood has become gentrified. If Feibush were to demolish the church and build five townhouses in its place — the crux of his original plan — it’s unlikely that he would have much difficulty finding interest.

So the day that Christian Street Baptist was listed for sale, Feibush’s development company, OCF Realty, made a bid: “Just a little shy” of $1.5 million, the church’s asking price. Immediately, the church accepted, nixing two other offers. Read more…

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How to Spot a Good Real Estate Agent

From the writers at

If you are looking to purchase a home or sell a real estate property, having a skilled and experienced agent is essential. It can sometimes be hard to find; relying solely on online reviews and testimonials will only tell you half the story. Consider the following tips to unveil an accurate representation of potential real estate agents.

Ask friends/family for referrals

Referrals are an excellent way to reveal the quality of services offered by a real estate agent. Ask your friends and family for referrals and ask why they recommend that particular agent. This will provide you with detailed information, which can be used to determine whether a specific real estate agent is suited to help reach your real estate goals.

Read online reviews/testimonials

The internet is a great place to evaluate the quality of potential real estate agents. Many real estate agents share client testimonials on their website, whereas others share them on social media platforms. These testimonials, however, are unlikely to disclose any negative feedback.  To ensure you have an accurate representation of a real estate agent, conduct an online search for user-submitted reviews and testimonials. You must collect the pros and cons of the services offered based on unedited experiences. Read more…

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Homes Proposed for South Philadelphia Furniture Warehouse Site

by Jacob Adelman, Staff Writer @

Developer Kumas Homes LLC is aiming to build rowhouses and duplexes at the current site of a warehouse property spanning a full city block at Sixth and Moore Streets in South Philadelphia under a proposed partnership with the parcel’s current Brooklyn, N.Y.-based owner.

 The Philadelphia-based developer’s plan calls for 25 single-family homes between Sixth and Seventh Street on the McClellan Street side of the block, with 23 duplexes totaling 46 units on the Moore Street side, Kumas spokesman Clifford Lasky said in an interview Tuesday.

Also planned are commercial units on both Moore Street corners of the 45,878-square-foot site and 84 parking spaces sandwiched between the rows of homes, Lasky said.

 Kumas is scheduled to address the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association on Wednesday evening to seek support for zoning adjustments needed to permit the project, Lasky said. The site’s current industrial-mixed-use zoning would limit development there to apartment units atop street facing-commercial spaces, without any parking, he said. Read More…

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A half million dollar makeover for a Philly block

by Julia Terruso, Staff Writer @

Every other week someone knocks on Elander Liles’ door, asking if she wants to sell.

 The 1900 block of East Somerset Street in Kensington isn’t gentrifying like the blocks farther south, but developers are already looking with a hungry eye at the old housing stock. And Liles’ house is not aging well.
Until recently, the upstairs bathroom leaked through her dining-room ceiling, creating a gaping hole. Her kitchen was falling apart; ancient cabinets hung off hinges, and the 30-year-old oven finally burned out. Her mother, who has breathing problems, was coughing more and Liles guessed it was due to the moldy carpets that blanketed the home.
 “It was like everything was falling apart at once,” Liles, 42, said. “Every time I walked past the hole, I was looking up at it like, ‘I’ve gotta fix this. It’s just gonna get bigger. It’s gonna be more money, it’s going to cost so much money that I don’t have.’ ”

Liles is one of 33 homeowners on East Somerset Street who will each receive about $15,000 worth of home repairs through Rebuilding Together Philadelphia, a nonprofit focused on preserving aging homes and keeping their owners safe and healthy. Read more…

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Trinity Tuesday: Quiet in Queen Village for $280K

BY   – writer @

Want a cute, compact home that’s close to the Delaware riverfront, close to shopping and dining, and lets you get away from it all whenever you want to?

This well-maintained, attractive trinity on a private alley just off Moyamensing Avenue fills the bill.

It’s close enough to the waterfront, South Street and the Italian Market that you can stroll over to these hotspots to get your fill of city vitality. Then, when you’ve had your fill, you can come back home, pass through the gateway, and shut all that stuff out.

This home has plenty of creature comforts to keep you content when you do want to get away from it all. Read more…


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