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Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Posted by mrscarrots111 (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 24, 13 at 17:08

So I'm 5 months along in my FSBO (mis)adventure and I'm contemplating giving up. I'm looking to be picked apart...I feel like I am really missing something and could use help figuring why I have received no offers on my property. I started by getting a market value appraisal from an appraiser recommended by our local bank and used that to set my asking price. From there, I obtained a flat-fee listing, offered 3% to buyers Realtors and took what I thought to be decent photos reflecting my property (a small, rural, older farm upon which we raised horses for 15 years.) I posted signs in the front yard and on a smaller highway near the farm. I have smeared myself all over the internet, religiously posting Craigslist ads, using Facebook, Recycler, Oodle, etc...along with flyers around town and in a box at the sign. I've had two ads running in my local paper. We have hosted two well attended open houses and have had showings with Realtors and private parties both...yet no offers. Since I follow this forum regularly...the first problem to suspect is price, so I dropped the price by $10,000 two months into the selling process...still nothing. Four months in, I dropped it another $5,000...crickets. Advice is what I need, my MLS number is 10029913 on Realtor.com..any help would be greatly appreciated!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

What did your lookers end up buying? I think your pictures are fine.

What I am concerned with are (not changeable): spiral stairs as only means of getting to upstairs? Master up? And step down into master bath? And, is the freestanding tub the only shower in that bath?


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Pretty house. How is the market in your area? What has sold at around 5 acres in the last year, and how do you compare price-wise to that?

Try and follow up with your traffic. Find out why your house wasn't for them. Some items may be defects you cannot cure, but you may find out you are still priced too high, or something can be changed to make your property more appealing.

It sounds like you have been up for six months now, and your listing may be stale. Will you continue to list over the winter, or pull it off the market until next spring?


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When I click on "larger photos" on Realtor.com the pictures are still pretty small. It could be a function of the MLS system that you are listed on. They may require a small file size. Follow up on this with the flat fee company you are listed with.

I agree that the spiral stairs are a BIG turn off if they are the only way to access the 2nd floor. I think that your biggest problem is that you have a unique property. The majority of buyers are looking for plain vanilla homes. It will take longer to sell a home that only appeals to a small percentage of buyers.

Edited to add clickable link

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to OP's listing

This post was edited by terriks on Tue, Sep 24, 13 at 19:18


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Kirkhall, there is another staircase to the master, but I fear the spiral might be a dated feature in my home. And yes, the old clawfoot is the only shower in the master...actually, I think just having the master upstairs is a drawback to some. Xamxs...my area is rural and we are the largest home with the most outbuildings for sale in the 4 to 8 acre range. Our home is older though, we are priced in the middle...it seems the amount of acreage in our area is the biggest factor as land prices (but not home prices) have skyrocketed. Maybe being the cheapest of the pack is what is required? We are building a new home and should be in before the holidays. We made sure we could carry both homes financially before we started down this road...but do we WANT to carry both...I think you know the answer to that. I will probably take the house off the market for a short time and think about a Realtor...not what I wanted to be saying at this point...


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Firstly, I'd say you've done everything I'd do (and did) to sell FSBO: get an appraiser to help you on price, get it listed in the MLS, and market the crap out of it.

What has been your ratio of realtor showings to private showings?

Have you received feedback from any of the potential buyers and/or their agents or from your open houses?

Since it's a horse farm, there may be more specifically-targeted ways to advertise it. search for "horse" on this forum and you should find some helpful threads.

Have you been following the local market of what has sold this year that's comparable to your house? Any details on those? They'd be the best clue to evaluate your pricing.


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

If you do a search for farms/ranches, it doesn't come up. It should!

(Can't think of anything wrong with that property except for the snow. :P It's gorgeous in the photos, although the photos could be bigger.)


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Kitchens and baths sell houses. Or in your case, keep them from selling. I positively couldn't live with a range right next to a fridge or a master that only had a clawfoot tub as a shower. And I can live with a lot of issues.

It wouldn't make sense to put money into renovating, so your only recourse is to drop the price. Significantly. Sub 200 mental barrier. Like 199. Especially since I see that most of your competition is much newer and presumably more updated with better ergonomics.


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Weedyacres, I have had about 20 showings, maybe 7 of those have been with agents. I do believe part of the problem is that I am the only flat fee listing in my area. I actually had an agent bring a couple to see the house and ask me "what the heck is that?" when I told her my house was a flat fee listing and that is why her clients found me as a FSBO on the local MLS. She claimed to have never heard of this process and was insisting she had to speak with my "listing agent" about anything her clients might want...very frustrating. In my neck of the woods, you still go to the agent that is your kids baseball coach or the daughter of your neighbor...doing it yourself is rogue. Actually, the homes in my area with similar land and livestock oriented set-up have remained on the market or dropped their price as well. Homes with large tracts of land (20+ acres) have been the ones to go fast this summer. Agents who have given me a phone call back after showings have mentioned the lack of open concept in my 90 year old home and the issue of the master suite being on the second floor. I have had gentle inquiries into accepting contingent offers...I'm just not ready to do that yet...


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

When I was buying I used listings to find properties I wanted to go and see. I generally assumed that if there wasn't a photo of something that I considered important then it didn't exist. So, if I saw a photo of a spiral staircase, I would assume there was no second staircase.

In general, I found the photos nice (too small) but not enough of them. If you are marketing as a horse farm then I want to see more of the 6 stalls and the things that relate to the horses. The one photo isn't enough.

Also for the house itself, I want more photos. Particularly with rural listings it can be a trek to drive out to them and I don't want to waste my time.

The kitchen with the range next to the refrigerator isn't desirable but not a deal breaker for me. The shower in the master is a deal breaker. Of course, it may not be to the average person who would consider a house of that age.

Of course, price cures most problems....


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

To me the kitchen photo looks distorted as if the ceiling is very low. Perhaps retake it.

You have a beautiful home.

Have you interviewed any agents? I would even if it is just to pick their brains.


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Thanks everybody, the advice is truly valuable. I'm going to have to make a decision soon. I do think my listing has been left out on the counter too long and needs to be pulled in any case...what a trip this has been!


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Hmm--the home is lovely. As you stated, the homes similar to yours are not the ones selling right now.

I'm curious as to why you will not consider an offer with a contingency. I'm guessing you mean contingent upon the sale of another home? I think you're shooting yourself in the foot by taking that stance. I'm a bit familiar with your area. Your house is likely a move-up property and not a first home. Chances are a buyer will have a house to sell. Consider this scenario: if you had accepted a contingency 4 months ago, you probably would be moved out by now. Instead you are still on the market.


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

rrah, you have a good point. My hesitation came from the fact that I have gotten a reasonable response from some of the realtors in my area and they have brought clients. A change in my MLS status to contingent, I feared, would greatly diminish that...who would show a FSBO with a contingency...not many. One couple who indicated they may be interested in offering us that situation was recently cited for not maintaining their property to neighborhood standards...and I would need to wait for that to sell...uhggg...


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Okay, here are a few additional pictures I will add to my MLS listing, hopefully it will at least set the staircase issue in a different light...we shall see...


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

The main staircase...


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And a shop to fix those saddles...


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

I'm not someone who thinks one should always have a RE agent; however, keep in mind that the additional ~2% that you would pay a Realtor would at some point likely be eaten up by carrying the house. Certainly you'd want to interview potential listing agents and choose the best professional for the job (not just "give" a commission to a friend of a friend).

I've never looked for a property or in a location like yours, so obviously my point of view may not directly apply (particularly for your type of property) -- but, generally speaking, when I see a FSBO that's been sitting on the market, I make assumptions (fair or not) about a seller being entrenched, not being realistic about their home's value, etc. New pics with a professional listing may be helpful even just for overcoming any prejudgments your potential buyers may have, especially since FSBOs seem uncommon in your area.

Love the last few pics! Your main stair is so pretty. I definitely wouldn't highlight the spiral stair (like some PPs, I'm really not a fan).

Good Luck!!


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Your main staircase is stunning! I'd certainly post a picture of that - can it be better lit?


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I just wanted to say that I love your house and that your bathroom is awesome! For me, that spiral staircase would be a selling point. And, the main staircase took my breath away! Don't change a thing.....It just takes one buyer with the proper appreciation for a home such as yours. Your staircases and bathroom would have me banging down your door. Good luck!!

This post was edited by bossybear on Wed, Sep 25, 13 at 12:38


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Thanks bossybear...uhmm...gee...you wouldn't be in the market for a small midwestern farm, would you? Just asking...


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

The house is ok for me except the shower in the bathroom. I couldn't deal with that. Have you contacted United Farm Properties? They have agents specializing in farm acres all over the US.
Marie
It is called United Country Real Estate. We had rural property and it took us 2 years to sell. But we had dirt roads and mountain roads and were several miles off the main highways.

This post was edited by marie-ndcal on Wed, Sep 25, 13 at 16:20


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

It's a very pretty house, and I wanted to say that the pictures on Zillow are better and bigger.
I would add more pictures of both the outside and inside. A few random observations:
The dining room looks quite small. Is there a way to add a rectangular table to seat more people? What's next to it? It looks like it's right next to the entry door.
The master bathroom is really nice. Is there way to remove the shower or at least the curtain? Also, is there a glass door to the hallway?
Is there an outdoor space to sit? Show it.
What do the other bedrooms and bathroom look like?
Are these plaster ceilings and walls? If yes, I'd say that.
Could you add a floor plan?

Looking at realtor.com statistics, it sounds like the average listing is 215 days. Have you compared your house to others that are for sale?
The kitchen photo looks like the ceiling is really low.


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

One thing Im not quite getting - as someone w 100 yr old house myself - among old antique house lovers, the claw tub is a highly desireable feature and Ive seen them included in listings as such. However that said, that bathroom is so humongous there would easily be room to either replace the claw with a more modern and spacious bathtub/shower if that's what someone wanted to do, or add in a shower elsewhere in the room. That latter is best of both worlds, because I think if you're going to take a bath it HAS to be in a nice deep clawfoot!

Guess Im not getting why this seems like such an impossible task to the "absolutely not" crowd. Maybe it's my price range, but everything Im looking at - theres at least a few bone-headed thing one of the previous owners did or things I just don't like that I would want to correct or replace, and the question is what is a tolerable amount of corrective work. If it was a cramped damp bathroom with claw tub and no room for any alterations, that's one thing. But yours is not like that.


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Well, a phone call this morning from my general contractor stating the new place will be move in ready next month has caused me to A.) open a fresh bottle of Tums B.) decide on another price drop...as carrying these two properties for even a couple of months will easily eat up the drop anyway...sigh... Nosoccermom, I had not really looked closely at days on market as I should have and you gave me pause, considering if I am over-reacting to my large drop in traffic. Kashka kat...I love that tub, it just fits correctly in that house and is wonderful to bathe in...hot water up to your neck that stays hot for a LONG time!!! But yes, is not every persons "cup of tea" and the bathroom can fit a marching band...it could be easily changed. I added the photos yesterday and dropped the price today and have definately listened to everything here...thanks again everybody!


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

There seems to be a lot of issues with the pictures. First of all, they are tiny. Second of all, they seem to be in the wrong order, with the lead picture not really showcasing the attractiveness of the home.

This is from Zillow, and should be your lead pic. And in a LARGE enough size so that someone can play with it.

The second shot should be that gorgeous front door shot.

The third, the entry way with beautiful wooden paneled stairwell.

What you want to do is to capture somone's imagination and lead them around the house just like you'd do a guest in person.

And anyone wanting to look at this home will assume that the second bathroom is pretty awful if you don't show it. You don't show any of the other bedrooms either. You don't need multiple shots of rooms, but if you claim to have 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, each of those rooms needs a picture in your listing. If you have any special features, like a fireplace or view across the property from the windows, try to take the room shot so that it showcases that special appeal. Not extra pics, just pics that show both the room and the feature.

If you have an overhead Google shot of the property showing it's boundaries and that it's across the road from the conservation area (another bonus you should call out in the listing!) that would be a great pic to include as well. People buying property want to see the property, and how it fits into the community. On the other hand, if I'm misinterpreting the property boundaries, and it's merely that little knifeblade with little road frontage, perhaps that is one of the issues that you're having with the home's appeal.


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Live wire oak...my heart dropped when I read your post because I had just moved that blue door photo to the front of the pack. I did it to mix things up on Zillow. At least 3 parties that came through the house said they never would have guessed the inside looked as it did compared to outside. I asked the third couple what they meant. The woman said that every other person in our rural area has a farm set up...barns, milk houses etc. She said the standout was the yellow siding and my husbands insane obsession with perfect grass, but everybody here has a front porch and some red barns. She said she couldn't believe we were still for sale, considering the interior (sigh...she certainly didn't make an offer and I am becoming immune to compliments from showings anymore.)I decided to try the blue door as a way to peak some curiosity for local buyers...even I get sick of seeing the endless faces of peoples homes...they begin to blur. As for picture size on Realtor.com, the local MLS where they start hasn't been super helpful. They've told me the photo size was based on my file size sent. I made the mistake of saying Zillow had done a nice job of making my photos a viewable size...the call disintegrated from that point... I do see what you are saying about leading shoppers thru my home as a tour through pictures, and will order them with more sense. Does my blue door argument make sense, or do you still see that as a drawback?


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

I do think that you need to have more pictures of the interior. The clawfoot bathtub? Well, I have one in my house, so I'd consider that a plus. But other people wouldn't. So if there is a more modern bathtub in the house, it would help to show a picture of that bathroom.


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

I'm just a lurker, in the market in my own area far from yours, but I can't stress enough what others are saying - photos photos photos! Really, it's how you are marketing to the public - why would you ever consider not showing all you can, and as others have indicated, I also wonder when I don't see pictures of rooms, features, etc. what is wrong that they are not being shown..... last night I wasted quite a bit of time trying to piece together the floor plan from generous photos on one listing I liked -I drew out how I felt the house flowed from clues from exterior, interior, and views outside the windows, etc., trying to imaging myself living there. I decided I was very interested (only to find out this morning the house is under a contingency from yesterday!) Do not underestimate the value of many photos. In my area, nice homes typically show 30 or so pictures without the outbuildings and property you have. I agree: take better kitchen and also bathroom photos, without the shower curtain being highlighted. When I go to sell my dishwasherless home, I'm not leaving my drainboard on the counter to provide a red flag to prospective buyers. Good luck! on selling your beautiful place!!


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You have a beautiful home and property. The additional pictures on zillow are much better. I personally like to see it led with the picture of the house rather than the door. It was great to see the other bedrooms, eating area, better kitchen picture and the other bathroom (I'd close the toilet seat though...). Good luck with your listing. Only takes one right buyer.

Here is a link that might be useful: zillow listing


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

You have a beautiful home and property. The additional pictures on zillow are much better. I personally like to see it led with the picture of the house rather than the door. It was great to see the other bedrooms, eating area, better kitchen picture and the other bathroom (I'd close the toilet seat though...). Good luck with your listing. Only takes one right buyer.

Here is a link that might be useful: zillow listing


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

It's great that the Zillow pics were updated, but you need to get the MLS pics updated, and LARGER! :) And perhaps you are being too conservative in your price drops. 5K isn't very much to drop, even on a 230K home. Fix your pics, see the response, and in a couple of weeks if you haven't had an offer, do a serious price drop. Meaning more than 10K.


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

mrscarrots, I hate to criticize, especially when I sense your frustration and know it is exactly how I am feeling right now - and more criticism might send me over the edge. So if that is the case, hit the back button right now.

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If you want another opinion though, here it is. Is there a reason you don't want to list through a realtor at this point? You've given FSBO a shot, maybe it's time to let a realtor take a crack at it instead of dropping the price again. If a realtor can turn it quickly, you might even come out ahead after their fees than if you had to make two mortgage payments and more price drops.

Your house is absolutely perfect and if I were younger and lived in the Midwest, I'd snap it up. My only complaints about your photos besides the size on the MLS is that there is no living room photo, the angle of the photo of the kitchen, and it looks like you have to push through plants to get to the blue door. It's a pretty picture though and I can understand why you want to show both the door and landscaping.


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Does the kitchen ceiling look low because you stood up high to get the "big picture" of the layout? You might experiment with some different angles. Also, I'm betting it is not as dark as it looks. It is tricky to get an interior to show up when it is daylight outside the window without using extra lights or High Dynamic Range photography. But I love your house. Good luck.


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

It is not selling because you have 20 pictures and not 21 pictures, or that the order of the pictures is scaring away buyers. Sure, buyers are impatient with knowing every little detail about the home through the pics, but a serious buyer is not going to dismiss looking at your home because a picture of a secondary bedroom is not there.
You are in the MLS, and all the third party sites, so the property is being exposed properly.
You never told us what the average days on the market are, what the absorption rate is, and what the properties are that your lookers eventually purchased. You need to know these things or you are shooting in the dark as far as marketing goes.
If you are getting no showings and no offers, then you are way overpriced.
If you are getting showings but no offers, then you are a bit overpriced,
If you are priced correctly, you will have plenty of showings and at least one offer.


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

Looking at realtor.com statistics, it sounds like the average listing is 215 days in the area.


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

I would consider a realtor. The money you save by not getting one is being eaten up by carrying costs. When we were looking at houses I automatically disqualified all fsbo homes...it seemed like too much hassle to me and potential for problems. Illogical maybe, but the truth.

The pictures are of utmost importance. Keep in mind many people look at these pictures with iPads and expect larger versions in high definition. Also, not enough pictures is a problem...I expect 21 in 2013. I am 29 so my whole life is digital and we are getting to the point where even people moving up, not just first timers, are the same. The original pictures make the house look old, a bit dingy, and outdated. The pictures on zillow are beautiful. Get those pictures on mls.


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Zillow pulls the pics from the MLS... they should be the same, no?


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Well, my story comes to a happy and interesting end. We are under contract this weekend with pre-qualified buyers. They didn't see my blue door or open toilet seat on Zillow, they didn't spot our flat-fee listing with mini-pix on the MLS, they came to no highly advertized open houses to nor did they see my carefully composed craigslist or newspaper ads. They came to our home because of the hand painted for sale sign on the rural highway I made from left over paint, a scrap piece of plywood in my barn and two t-posts...


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LOL, that's great!

Reminds me of the time I placed an ad in a auto trader magazine and then wrote 4 sale and phone number on the back window of my car, and that's what finally got it sold.


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They came to our home because of the hand painted for sale sign on the rural highway I made from left over paint, a scrap piece of plywood in my barn and two t-posts...

That is awesome!

Congratulations! May you have a smooth closing.


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Congratulations and good luck on an easy closing!


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Congratulations. I hope everything goes well!


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Thanks for the update. I'm very happy for you!


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Makes perfect sense that someone driving through the countryside might like to know (via a sign like yours) that they could live there, too. Great idea! Bet it's beautiful in the country right now, no wonder it worked! Congratulations.


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How great! Can you show us the sign?


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I, of course, put balloons on it daily... : )


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I love happy endings! :-)

You never know what route of advertising will be the one to lure in your buyer.


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Love it!!!


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Heehee...forgot to add one thing...we wrote the purchase agreement on notebook paper at my kitchen table. The president of the bank approved it today and scheduled an appraisal and title work for closing...it just can't get anymore strange...


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RE: Exhausted, frustrated...doing something wrong...

congrats on the sale!

BTW, I have a twin of your antique domed chest/trunk that is near the main staircase. Do you have any history about it? Mine still has the old yellowed label of the original manufaturer: William Peirce Carriage Manufacturer & Painter, Abington, Mass


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