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What are the five most important things you need to do to successfully sell your home FSBO in NYC?

Trying to sell your home FSBO in NYC can be a nightmare. After you list on Zillow you can expect to be inundated with hundreds of broker cold calls asking you to pay 6% and list with their “differentiated” approach. You may also face the prospect of brokers bringing in “bids” from “clients” who are none other than their friends in an effort to frustrate you enough to give up.

Like most NYC homeowners, you don’t want to pay the average $100,000+ (6% x $1.73mm average home value) in broker fees but you are also too busy with work to spend the many hours required to figure out how to sell your home.

Learn Why are New York City real estate commissions so high?

Here are 5 things you’ll need to do to successfully sell FSBO in NYC:

Select a reasonable listing price

One of the most important things you can do is to price your home correctly. Price per square foot is one of the most important metrics buyers will use to compare your home vs. other offerings on the market. When evaluating your home’s offer level, buyers will check the previous sales history of your home and also look at comparable home sales in your area. It is especially important to make sure your home price is reasonable if there are other directly competing listings in your building. Because real estate is so illiquid, buyers will often take the percentage return from the last sale price to the current offer price to see if your return yearly is reasonable.

There are a variety of resources an individual like yourself can use to gauge what your offer level should be. These include the free comparative analysis reports on website such as StreetEasy or Trulia. You can even take a look at what Zillow says your home is worth, though keep in mind it is a computer generated figure. You may want to consider hiring a professional real estate appraiser, one just like your banks would use, to give you the benefit of both your appraised value that a bank would lend against and also an estimate of your current market value. Keep in mind you may need to price your property lower than competing for sale by agent listings if you are selling FSBO in NYC with incomplete buyer exposure. We discuss how to solve this issue later in this article.

Get a real estate photography specialist to take professional photos of your home

Great photographs that present your home in the best possible light may be the most important factor in successfully selling FSBO in NYC. Photos are the first thing buyers see and great photos help a buyer imagine a new life in your apartment. Not only will a photographer bring professional grade equipment such as wide angle lens, he or she will also have experience on what angles / lighting situations work best to show off your home. After the photoshoot, photographers can make flattering enhancements to their photos via PhotoShop and other popular photo editing tools.

Want to see some fantastic examples of photos which sell your apartment? Take a look at our sample photography work which we’ve provided to our for sale by owner clients recently. We offer reasonably priced, flat-fee professional photography so you can be sure to represent your home to buyers in the best possible light. Don’t take a chance with DIY unprofessional smartphone photography with questionable lighting and quality! It will scare away real buyers and attract the vulture type of buyer who preys on unprofessional FSBO listings thinking that they are mis-priced and poorly marketed!

Make sure you’re reaching all potential homebuyers

One of the biggest mistakes sellers make when they try to sell FSBO in NYC is not being comprehensive in their advertising. They advertise on only one or two websites and assume that is enough. No matter how popular Zillow is, listing FSBO on Zillow only will mean only a subset of buyers will see your home. The fact of the matter is, there are literally hundreds of competing consumer search websites out there that all capture a fraction of the buyer market. On top of that, international buyers especially will work with a local agent who will prefer to browse their local inter-broker database instead. As a result, the only sensible solution is a listing syndication service that posts your home on all websites and databases at once.

You could try a free service like Postlets; however, it only posts your home to several free websites and not to any of the broker databases which are, you guessed it, broker only. Fortunately, Hauseit will pair you with an affiliate broker who will post your listing all at once to dozens of popular websites and all relevant inter-broker databases (i.e. RLS and all RLS Vendors like Nestio and OLR). Best of all, you’ll pay only a low, one-time fee of several hundred dollars vs. 6% sales commission.

Make sure buyers’ agents will show clients your home

Most people don’t realize that 80% of all home buyers are in fact represented by real estate agents. How is this possible in the age of the internet? The fact is real estate commissions are extremely lucrative, a home purchase or sale is a big enough decision for most people where in-person sales is effective, and there are so many “boots on the ground” in terms of agents advertising everywhere that buyer representation is free. Because of this, many buyers will not hesitate to use an agent to help them with their home search, especially if they are new to an area or would like help organizing a weekend open house tour.

Learn Is buying a house without an agent in NYC a good idea?

Most buyers do not realize that their agents will typically only show them listings by other agents. The reason they do this is because the tradition of co-broking, or sharing of commissions all paid by the seller which typically range from 5-6%, is so established between agents that buyers’ agents will feel comfortable that they will actually be paid for bringing a buyer.

This is the reason so few who sell FSBO in NYC actually succeed. They either say “no brokers please” in which case they’ll remove 80% of potential buyers from the pool, or they’ll write “will work with buyers’ agents” or even “will pay 3% to buyers’ brokers” in their FSBO listing. In the latter case, even when FSBO sellers explicitly offer 3% to buyers’ agents in writing on their FSBO Zillow or StreetEasy listing, it is an uphill battle because the FSBO seller is an unknown individual with no history of co-broking.

Learn more: 3 Reasons why NYC FSBO sellers Fail

A buyers’ agent will instinctively prefer a traditionally co-broked listing by another agent instead of a FSBO listing where they have to worry about the seller going around them or not honoring the commission. For this reason it’s extremely important to engage a company like Hauseit who will list you not only on over 80 popular websites but also on all the relevant inter-broker databases under a local listing agent.

Have a competent real estate attorney on hand for closing

NYC is unique in that having a real estate attorney to represent you in contract negotiation and closing is essential vs optional in some other states (Closing Costs in NYC – What Buyers and Sellers Pay in NYC).

In NYC the real estate agent’s role is confined to matching buyer and seller at a mutually agreed upon price. After a buyer’s offer has been selected, the agent is out of the equation and the attorney takes the transaction the rest of the way. This is in stark contrast to other states like California where the purchase and sales forms are highly standardized and the real estate agent typically takes their client through the paperwork and an attorney is usually never hired. The first thing the sellers’ attorney would do is send out the purchase and sale contract to the buyer, usually with a criteria that they must sign it within a certain number of days before it’s automatically retracted.

Learn more: How the NYC FSBO closing process works for home sellers

As a buyer, your attorney will play a critical part in negotiating the contract on your behalf. If you are purchasing with a mortgage, it is extremely important that you go over the “mortgage contingency” aspect of the contract with your attorney. As a FSBO seller in NYC, it is even more important to make sure you have a good attorney at your back. They have typically experienced a great number of real estate transactions in their careers and will typically know far more about how a real estate deal is closed than an agent.