Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, June 8, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 8, 2013 


When you hear that someone managed to sell a home without representation, it's likely that the sale 
was to a family member, close friend, or a tenant who was already renting and living there. These 
exceptional cases are not the norm, and there are powerful reasons why it is so difficult to make a sale 
"by owner."

The biggest roadblock is that For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) aren't included in the Multiple Listing Service 
(MLS) that licensed agents and organizations use. A sign in the yard and an ad in the newspaper 
are no match for the widespread exposure gained from a listing visible on the MLS.

Since the FSBO has no listing agreement providing for a sales commission, many agents won't show 
these homes with no promise of compensation. Again, this greatly reduces the number of potential 
buyers exposed to the offering, not to mention the fact that buyers who do express interest will not 
have been screened by a professional to determine their qualifications.

Perhaps the most hazardous aspect of selling “by owner” is the potential for legal oversights and complications. 
Real estate transactions are loaded with potential liability for unrepresented and unwitting 
sellers. One overlooked form or improper disclosure could generate an expensive lawsuit.

Just as you wouldn't enter the courtroom without an attorney, you shouldn't sell your home without 
professional representation. 

YOUR LANDSCAPE by Melinda Myers

Container gardens have long been used to add a spot of color by a front entrance or expand planting 
space in city lots, balconies and decks. Don’t let past experience and tradition limit your vision. Try 
one or more of these attractive, fun and functional ways to include containers in your landscape, large 
or small.

Add vertical interest to any garden or garden space. Select a large attractive container filled with tall 
plants like papyrus and canna. Or elevate a small pot on steppers or an overturned pot for added 
height. Create height with smaller pots and plants by strategically stacking and planting them into a 
creative planting. Try setting any of these planters right in the garden to create a dramatic focal point.

Create a privacy screen or mask a bad view. Use an arbor or other support for hanging baskets and 
then place a few containers below for an attractive screen. Or create a garden of containers to provide 
seasonal interest using a variety of plants. Use trees, shrubs, and ornamental grasses for height. Save 
money by purchasing smaller plants. Elevate these on overturned pots for added height and impact. 
Mask the mechanics by wrapping the pots in burlap. Then add a few colorful self-watering pots in the 
foreground for added color and beauty. Fill these with annuals or perennials for additional seasonal 

Bring the garden right to your back door for ease of harvest and added entertainment. A self-watering 
patio planter, windowbox, or rail planter reduces maintenance and makes harvesting herbs as easy as 
reaching out the window or backdoor. Plus, guests will have fun harvesting their own fresh mint for 
mojitos or greens for their salads.

Define outdoor living spaces within your landscape. Use containers as walls and dividers to separate 
entertaining and play areas from quiet reflective spaces. And consider using pots with built in casters 
or set them on moveable saucers to make moving these pots easier. This way you can expand and 
shrink individual spaces as needed simply by moving the pots.

Create your own vacation paradise. Use planters filled with cannas, bananas, palms and New Zealand 
flax for a more tropical flare. Add some wicker furniture to complete the scene. Or fill vertical gardens, 
an old child’s wagon, metal colander or wooden and concrete planters with cacti and succulents. 
Add some old branches and large stones. You’ll feel as though you’ve hiked into the desert.

All you need is a bit of space and creativity to find fun new ways to put containers to work for you in 
the garden this season.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of 
horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space 
Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses How to Grow Anything DVD series and the nationally syndicated 
Melinda’s Garden Moment segments which air on over 130 TV and radio stations throughout 
the U.S. She is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and writes the twice 
monthly “Gardeners’ Questions” newspaper column. Melinda also has a column in Gardening How-
to magazine. She has a master’s degree in horticulture, is a certified arborist and was a horticulture 
instructor with tenure. Her web site,, offers gardening videos, podcasts, garden 
tips and more. 


By Andy Bencosme, 2013 President, Arcadia Association of REALTORS®

As the California real estate market changes, so does the vocabulary of 
real estate. Once common phrases from the real estate recession such 
as distressed property, short sale, and shadow inventory are fast being 
replaced as the real estate market improves by new phrases, such as 
equity sale, multiple offers, and “off-MLS” or “pocket” listings.

While not a new concept, pocket listings are growing in number; as 
many as 10-15 percent of homes offered for sale today are “off-MLS” 
listings, according to one Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Simply stated, a pocket listing is a property that is marketed without 
the benefit of being listed for sale on the MLS (i.e., “hidden” in 
an agent’s pocket). A property that is listed on the MLS has the 
advantage of being actively marketed to every real estate agent who 
belongs to that MLS and, through those agents, to their vast network 
of potential buyers looking to make an offer to purchase the property. 
Active marketing on the MLS usually includes open houses, broker 
tours and inclusion of seller’s property in the MLS’s download to various real estate Internet sites 
commonly used to search for properties. 

On the other hand, as the term implies, a pocket listing generally is marketed by a single agent to 
one or a select few potential buyers. The marketing pool can be so small that in some cases, other 
agents within the same brokerage or brokerage office may not even be aware that a fellow agent has 
a pocket listing.

Pocket listings are not illegal if the listing agent fully discloses the pros and cons to the home seller and 
follows rules that are designed to protect consumers. Nevertheless, many real estate professionals 
believe that off-MLS listings may not be in the best interest of the seller – particularly if a client does 
not know about the benefits of marketing his or her property through the MLS. To keep a listing off 
the MLS, a listing agent who is a participant of an MLS is required, under the rules of most California 
MLSs, to obtain a signed certification from the seller that he or she does not wish to sell the property 
via the MLS. 

If a property is exposed to fewer potential buyers with a pocket listing, why would a home seller agree 
to one? Pocket listings sometimes are requested by celebrities, judges, prosecutors, or others who 
wish to maintain their privacy. 

The downsides to pocket listings may outweigh the advantages of pocket listings though. 
Primarily, the pool of agents and potential home buyers who will know the property is for sale and 
make an offer to purchase may be limited. That could significantly reduce the potential for multiple 
offers above the asking price, which is a frequent occurrence in today’s competitive market. With 
fewer offers, sellers may not be getting the best possible price for their home.

How can consumers protect their interests if their listing agent suggests an off-MLS listing?

• Home sellers should ask their agent about the pros and cons of selling their home off-MLS. 
The pros are that the listing remains private if sellers wish to maintain privacy. The cons are that their 
home is unlikely to be exposed to the full population of potential buyers, which likely may decrease 
the chance a seller will obtain the highest and best price for his or her property. 
• A listing agent may ask his or her seller to sign a standard seller exclusion form (Seller 
Instruction to Exclude Listing from the MLS or C.A.R.’s SEL form). Sellers should be sure they fully 
understand what they are signing and the possible adverse consequences outlined in the form of not 
listing their property on the MLS. 
• Sellers should ask their agent to show their home and present all offers from both inside and 
outside his or her network. That may increase the chances of obtaining a more accurate selling price 
and could help avoid any potential for violations of fair housing laws.

Finally, working with a knowledgeable REALTOR® is always a good idea anytime you are considering 
buying or selling a home. So is being an informed real estate consumer. 

Representing local Realtors® in the San Gabriel Valley for 89 years, the ARCADIA ASSOCIATION OF 
REALTORS® ( is one of the oldest trade organizations in CA. The AAR is dedicated 
to the advancement of professionalism in real estate and is an advocate for private property rights. A.A.R. 
is headquartered in Arcadia.


(StatePoint) Whether you are 
motivated to help the planet or 
simply want to slash home energy 
and water bills, there are 
easy steps to reduce your home’s 
carbon footprint.

 “Today more than ever, we 
see the environmental impact 
we have on our communities 
by the choices we make daily 
-- from the food we eat to the 
way we run our homes. While 
it’s easy to pretend these choices 
don’t matter, it’s even easier to 
take steps to live more sustainably 
and feel good about it,” says 
Brett Beitzel, a brand manager 
at Amana, a household appliances 
manufacturer focused on 
encouraging consumers to reduce 
their carbon footprints.

 There are several places in your 
home where you can take small 
steps toward a smaller carbon 


 Become more aware of what 
you put in your shopping basket. 
Include more locally- and 
organically-grown and raised 
produce and meat in your diet. 
Avoid overly-packaged products 
and eat sustainably caught 
or farmed fish. These choices 
are often healthier, too.

You can also make a substantial 
impact by replacing your old 
refrigerator with a newer energy-
saving model. Compared to 
pre-2000 models, newer refrigerators 
can use up to 41 percent 
less energy. As one of the few 
appliances that run constantly, 
that means a lot of energy and 
cost savings.

 Luckily, environmentally conscious 
home appliance manufacturers, 
such as Amana, are 
going above the Department of 
Energy’s current usage guidelines 
by making energy efficiency 
a priority with newer models.

 You can also find efficient dishwashers 
that save water and 
energy. But even with a newer 
model, you’ll want to be sure 
you’re only running the machine 
when full. For maximum 
savings, look for ENERGY 
STAR qualified models on all 


 Cars that don't have properly 
inflated tires account for a 10 
percent increase on fuel costs. 
Check tire pressure regularly to 
ensure optimum performance. 
And tune up your bike so you 
can use it more often!

 Unfortunately, the garage is 
also where many send their old 
refrigerators to store extra soda. 
Research shows that 10 million 
“second” refrigerators cost consumers 
an average of $1.62 billion 
yearly in energy costs. For a 
cool move, make all your refrigerators 
energy efficient.

Laundry Room

 The way you launder your 
clothes can impact local waterways. 
Look for eco-friendly 
detergents and opt for the concentrated 
form to reduce plastic 
consumption. Wash clothes in 
cold water whenever possible 
and don’t leave them in the dryer 
longer than necessary.

 Consider replacing your washer 
and dryer with newer energy-
saving models. Not only may 
this qualify you for rebates from 
state or local utility companies, 
your water savings and energy 
savings will add up. Front load 
washing machines are great 
choices, as conventional top-
load washing machines built 
before 2004 use 81 percent more 
energy and 77 percent more water 
than some newer models.

 It’s your planet and you have 
the power to treat it well, starting 
at home.

We’d like to hear from you! 

What’s on YOUR Mind?

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