For Sale By Owner

If you don’t want to pay tens of thousands in commission (or significantly more) to a real estate agent when selling your home in NYC, For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is an option to consider. But when you are selling your home without a real estate agent’s assistance, you will have to do all the work yourself. And to do it right, you need to follow certain steps.

Figure Out The Listing Price

Before you put your home on sale, you have to determine the price you want to sell it at. The price needs to be realistic and according to the market. If it’s too high, your home may sit on the market for a long time. Then determine the best price range you can sell it, try and find as many “comps” as you can. Comps or “Comparables” are recently sold similar properties, ideally in your building or within a few blocks. You can adjust the price for your home’s condition, amenities, and market (buyer’s or seller’s). The more comps you have, the better.

Prepare The Property

Preparing a co-op or condo apartment for FSBO will be different from preparing a townhouse or another freestanding structure. In an apartment, you can focus on the interior, fix whatever small/inexpensive issues that you can, and refresh its look with a fresh coat of paint (if possible). A shade of white is usually the best because it's a neutral color, meaning it's less likely to be disliked by a potential buyer. In a brownstone or a similar property, you will also have to work on the exterior and, ideally, rectify any major structural, plumbing, electricity, or similar issues. If you can't, be prepared to lower the price and don't be surprised if the buyer asks for a credit at closing. Then declutter, clean, and depersonalize the property.  It's important to remember that you aren't selling the property to yourself, you're selling it to a prospective buyer.

Photograph The Property

Ideally, you should get your home professionally photographed. These photos will be the primary attraction for most potential buyers and buyer’s agents doing an online search for the right property, so make sure they are as good as possible. 3D tours are also becoming popular, but ideally the goal is to get someone in the door. If the buyer can see your entire property and they find something they don't like about it, they are less likely to see it in person. The photos should offer an honest representation of your home, but don't be afraid to get it virtually staged. If the photos make your apartment look larger and roomier than it is, the buyers may feel deceived. But at least they showed up.

Contact your managing agent

You want to make sure that you have all the most accurate and up to date information about your apartment and your building so that the closing can move seamlessly. You'll need certain documents such as the House Rules, Offering Plan, Bylaws, and Board Application among others. Also, you might not be aware of the building policy for having open houses or showing times. This is sometimes overlooked when selling the apartment on your own. You don't want to lose a ready, willing and able buyer simply because you didn't know the updated rules.

Wants Vs Needs List Your Property

Once you have determined a price and have the pictures to show to potential buyers, you have to get the word out, and this can be done by listing your home on platforms such as Zillow, StreetEasy and RedFin. As a FSBO seller, make sure you offer a decent commission to a buyer's broker who has a customer. Since most buyers in NYC are represented by an agent, you don't want to eliminate that pool of people. What's more important to you? Paying a broker as little as possible, or netting the most amount of money from the transaction in your sale?

Research/Hire A Real Estate Attorney

Even if you are not hiring a real estate agent for your apartment sale, you will legally need an attorney. They will help you with acquiring necessary documentation, preparing forms, drafting a purchase agreement, and other legal matters. As a FSBO seller, it’s important to research the right attorney before you hire one for closing. An attorney can easily kill a deal if they don't know what they are doing.

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