Real estate sales agents have nothing to fear from the new edition of “How to Sell Your Home Without a Broker” by Bill Carey, Chantal Howell Carey, and Suzanne Kiffmann. Although the latest revision explains the pros and cons of selling your home alone, and has excellent blank forms for the reader’s use, the book doesn’t supply enough details to enable homeowners to make a successful sale without a professional agent.

However, every house and condo owner who is planning to sell their residence, and secretly wonders if they could save the typical 6 percent sales commission, should study this book. The reason is then the home seller will have a better understanding of all the details involved in a home sale and, more important, how to stay out of lawsuits.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

Since the prior edition of this book published in 2000, marketing of homes has changed radically. Today, according to the National Association of Realtors, more than 70 percent of home buyers start their quest on the Internet (usually at Without access to these Internet home purchase prospects, the lonely do-it-yourself home seller is at a severe disadvantage.

Unfortunately, the book’s new edition offers an inadequate explanation how “for sale by owner” home sellers can overcome this major disadvantage. There are several pages of instructions how to create a Web page, but even a reader who follows those minimal directions is unlikely to have any buyer traffic coming to his/her Web site.

In other words, there is no viable substitute today for a home seller not having access to the millions of prospective home buyers who begin their search by looking through the local MLS (multiple listing service) listings on the Internet. Perhaps that’s why, although the authors never mention this fact, most “for sale by owner” home sellers give up and list with a professional realty agent, usually within 30 to 60 days.

Although Bill Carey was a former director of the California Association of Realtors, and co-author Chantal Howell Carey is a Texas real estate broker, their presumed home-selling expertise doesn’t include any specific examples of do-it-yourself sellers who succeeded. Real-life stories would have added realism to the book.

This is a very basic simple book, mostly written in outline form. Only the section about Internet listings is very detailed and complicated. A useful feature is many of the topic explanations include sections listing advantages and disadvantages.

Chapter titles include “Decide on Your Goals”; “Assemble Property Records”; “Select Your Consultants”; “Disclose”; “Prepare Your Property”; “Advertise”; “Show Your Home Successfully”; “Prepare for Negotiation”; “Understand Purchase Contracts”; “Handle Counteroffers”; “Seller Financing”; “Understanding Closing Basics”; “Handle Closing Complications”; “Close”; “Handle Taxes”; and “Move.”

If you think you want to sell your home alone, first read this simple book. You will probably conclude you need help. Even if you already know you need a professional realty agent to get your home sold for top dollar, first read this simple book to learn all the sales details involved. This book certainly isn’t without shortcomings, but on my scale of one to 10, it still rates a 10.

“How to Sell Your Home Without a Broker, Fourth Edition,” by Bill Carey, Chantal Howell Carey and Suzanne Kiffmann (John Wiley and Sons Inc., Hoboken, N.J.), 2004, $19.95, 172 pages; Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center


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