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I was just curious if anyone has sold their co-op apartment FSBO via Street Easy? Can this be done? What are things to do/watch out for, etc?
I also wonder why in such a hot market, where units go so fast in certain areas, why more people don't do fsbo?
you definitely can do it, since SE finally let owners post their own listings.
make sure that you take quality pictures and create a floorplan (or get it from the building). if you want to list the square footage, please do the math, most of the brokers can't.
you have to be prepared that within a week you will get a significant amount of phone calls. 75% will be from brokers who will want you to sign an exclusive with them. to avoid this, put in a phrase "No Brokers" or "Buy-Side Brokers Welcome".
for the first open house, do put the add into NYTimes digital, Zillow, Trulia. there are plenty of people who have no idea what SE is and the more clueless they are, the more chance that they will pay more.
you should have an attorney ready. some brokers provide assistance to buyers in putting together the board package. i would find such a broker and provide their services to the buyer who comes in sans broker. the buyer will not want to show you their "life story", but will be willing to do that to a pro who doesn't have a hand in the deal.
"some brokers provide assistance to buyers in putting together the board package. i would find such a broker and provide their services to the buyer who comes in sans broker."
what sort of fee could you expect to negotiate for a broker to handle something like this?
gutter--check with Keith Burkhardt on that. His firm offers fee-based board pkg prep services I believe.
Thanks everyone for your comments. But I wanted to know if anyone had REALLY done a FSBO sale using Streeteasy? Please stand up and raise your right hand. Thanks
The owners did a very nice job, with good pictures on Streeteasy and excellent cookies at the open house.
Bonbay, ask a man named 407PAS Actually I'm not sure he actually listed on SE but he made the ridiculous mistake of asking the board for feedback on his offer and then refusing to listen/consider the comments. The result was both brutal and hilarious.
One open house and went into contract.
Yes, my photography clients have sold coops via FSBO on SE. If priced well, they move quick. One sold after first open house.
I did it a few years back, before I had my broker's license: http://streeteasy.com/nyc/sale/567794-coop-245-henry-street-brooklyn-heights-brooklyn
ab_11218 is spot on with his/her comments. I also placed ads at Brownstoner and Curbed.
It's vitally important to have good photos and floorplan, as well as solid knowledge of your building so you can quickly and correctly field questions from interested parties, a good handle on comps, a clean, nicely-staged apartment at open houses, etc.
You will also need to have the time to field phone calls and e-mails (many from brokers wanting your listing).
Any experiences/comments of openly stating that buyer agents welcome at 3% v. No brokers.
Timely thread! We just posted our Brooklyn FSBO on Streeteasy and Brownstoner. I would love your feedback on our marketing below. We tried to price it slightly below "market rate" for comps in brooklyn. Right now, of the 40 2 BD/2 BA listings in North Brooklyn, just 3 of them are less than $825k. Our thinking is that part of the appeal of FSBO as a buyer is a slightly lower price... and we still net more than a broker assisted transaction at $850k.
We are having a strict "no broker" policy during our first open house this weekend. If we can't produce buyers during this first week, we'll start to entertain buyer's brokers at 3%. So far we are less than 24 hours into it and we've gotten about 10 broker solicitations and several interested/qualified buyers.
Listing is: http://streeteasy.com/nyc/sale/823910-condo-230-ashland-pl-fort-greene-brooklyn
Website is: http://230ashland23d.com/
$850k? Wow, just a few years ago I bet it would have sold for $500k or $550k.
How is the building construction? How is the area?
Good description, but I would format the first paragraph so it's easier to read . At least for me, anything to make the user experience more pleasant is a plus.
Consider re-shooting with a wide angle lens (not fisheye) on a tripod. You can rent if you don't have the gear. You're on a high floor with nice views, so you should definitely get photos of beautiful sunrises or sunsets & at least one night time shot.
If you are not into photography, consider hiring a pro to do it. I'm sure you could find someone in BKLN between $175 - $250 for a 2 BR. If it was in the city, I would probably charge around $225 for your unit.
Yes, this building was in a fire-sale situation in 2009/2010 and they sold 70 apartments for ~$500 per square foot. But, there are three recent comps in the building from $845k to $900k. Construction is great and the area is booming (lot's of new development, TFANA, Barclay's, BAM, etc).
Some very nice photos there vsl
Thank you greensdale
Here is a 3 million FISBO listed: An heir to the fortune of the Dunne family—which owns Dunnes, Ireland's largest retailer and a chain of stores akin to Target—Andrew Heffernan appears to possess plenty of business savvy. A Harvard Business School alum, he did stints investment banking at Goldman and consulting at Bain. Yet Heffernan has decided to navigate New York's cutthroat real estate waters solo, putting his 1,266-square foot 2 bed/2 bath condo at The Caledonia on the market without a broker for $3.15 million. (According to Streeteasy, he bought in 2010 for $2.6M.) We wonder, though—if he's got such pedigreed, money-making acumen, both in his blood and coming out of his ears, could he not afford to hire a photographer to take sexier (or at least non-blurry) pictures of his for-sale-by-owner apartment along the High Line? Not that we are dying to see his backgammon board and shelves of picture frames, but really?
Here is the listing on www.forsalebyowner.com:
Not to get dark, but there's precedent for failure here. What was widely dubbed 15 Central Park West's ugliest apartment went FSBO for a time before finally selling at $2 million below its asking price. Trying the FSBO tack's risky, is all we're saying. Plus, Heffernan's Gmail address and a 917 cellphone number are posted online for the world to use and abuse. Will this place sell?
Seller must have gotten wind of the new Fairway on Sixth betwixt 25th & 26th.
"Asking price is firm", spelling of the condo can vary.
To each their own, but selling a multi million dollar property with photos like that...wow.
Yeah, they do put you in a gas-pipe mood, besides making no sense.
Couldn't he have re-used the photos from when Elliman tried to sell it? http://streeteasy.com/nyc/sale/672257-condo-450-west-17th-street-west-chelsea-new-york
Since Andrew Heffernan paid the previous owners a million dollars more than they had paid about a year before I'm not really sure it that actually attests to his having "plenty of business savvy".
People can't use photos without the consent of the image owner. Had customers who caught brokers using photos without permission and had them taken down. Most pro photographers use (or should use) licensing agreement & property release forms.
That's logical. The seller didn't pay for them so doesn't have rights to them.
It's funny how bad photos convey an unintended sense of who the seller is. These scream "I'm a PITA too stupid to lower the price, and Rule #1 about decluttering and hiding the 200 family photos doesn't apply to me."
FSBO generally means PITA in NYC.
There is a tendency that way, though wershoven did pretty well, and santhonys seems to get it.
Even our favorite http://streeteasy.com/nyc/sale/671810-condo-350-west-50th-street-clinton-new-york managed to sell, though it took a year.
I think if you know what you're doing, then go for it FSBO with a good attorney - definitely doable.
If not, then use a broker who does. There are good brokers out there via referrals.
Keith B's operation is a nice in between solution as well.
With all these options, I find it strange why some do what they do...oh well.
yes, i sold my co-op through streeteasy! let me know if you have any questions. http://streeteasy.com/nyc/sale/589140-coop-137-east-36th-street-murray-hill-new-york
Thanks for the feedback @VSL! And yes, you've got some great photography on your site. I totally should have thought about renting the right lens for the job and using a tripod. I may re-shoot the photos as we tidy-up for the open house again this weekend.
I did a sunset photo to the listing as well.
santhonys, i would add the maintenance, tax and the abatement info in the listing. those shots do look tight, but they are in focus and do show a nice place.
Why would the price have appreciated so much in 3 years?
santhonys - I would be curious if you would be concerned about losing a high, qualified bid from a potential buyer who was less sure than yourself about hiring a qualified buy-side lawyer and closing the deal.
You're welcome, thanks for the compliment, and your ad is easier to read after the edit.
Some notes on your photos:
Kitchen - One of the most important shots in RE photography. Try a new shot in landscape orientation as the current photo makes the kitchen look smaller than it is. Also, you lose the open kitchen feel from that angle/orientation. I would try a shot from the right side and see if you can get the windows in the LR.
LR - I would remove the one with the shelves and TV. You already have shots that show it. On the photo with the kitchen on the right side, try moving a bit closer & left to show more of the kitchen OR move right and show more of the view. As is, it's somewhere in between. For the shot with the construction in the background, try getting more of the right side of the view to minimize the construction site eye sore.
Baby room - I would remove the photo with the crib.
Desk with window - Again, try a landscape orientation as it looks "cramped" and it looks like you have nice windows/views to the left of the desk.
Bathrooms - Keep one (I would keep the first) and re-shoot from a slightly lower height. To not have your reflection show on the glass door, try a shot with the door open.
Closets - Just use one and re-shoot from a lower height.
Finally, looking at your FP, try a shot from the Master BR door showing the small hallway. You should get a decent photo showing the length with the LR window and view.
Upload just enough nice shots of key rooms/areas. If you show too much, some buyers may find something small they don't like and not even see the property. You want people to "experience" the unit first hand.
Hope you try some of the ideas and see if it looks better to you.
65 - I prefer santhony's listing photos to those used in broker listed units. While your advice is good, I don't think he's going to lose interest based on his photographs. Conversely, I've shown up to dozens of places listed with 'professional' photos and thought "this is the same apartment as the one listed on line?" There's something to be said about liking a place even more once you've seen it in person, as opposed to the reverse.
@Greensdale - It's a long story, but the short version is we got a screaming deal due to the financial crisis (along with about 70 other people who bought in this building at the same time). See http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2010/03/forte-closing-p/ for background. There are 2 very recent comps in the build (PH-C and 29C) that were purchased at the same time and show proportional gains.
@tpushbklyn - I am totally sure that we are going to "miss" lots of buyers that, for whatever reason, are not comfortable with FSBO. But, it's a big city and there are lots of buyers out there and we only need 1 (of course, 2 or more being ideal). Speaking for myself, when I was a buyer, I was constantly trolling SE and setting up alerts/folders, etc. I know there are other folks like me out there who like doing their own homework/research and will recognize a potentially good deal in our FSBO.
@vslse65 - Wow! Really appreciate your careful critique. You make a lot of good points and I'm excited to try some of these shots. Thanks so much for helping a newbie!
I think the photos are fine. Agree that you could get by with less, but no biggie. To HB: Fort Greene is one of the places with lots of increased demand. Great restaurants, good vibe with the arts scene, park and good transport. A bit quiet for my liking, but a great neighborhood with lots of upward potential.
Will be interesting to see how this plays out. I would give it more than a week before opening up to brokers. Must admit though that I do not understand the point of under pricing for a FSBO, although based on comparables, it is not clear that this is exactly underpriced.
Good luck. Is a nice unit in a building with a good reputation.
Wow, FSBO-speak is even more schticky than Broker-Babble.
I love the "incomparable luxury of an on-site Equinox Fitness Club and Spa" line. Who wouldn't want a gym in their building that any outsider with $150 can access?
And "the first luxury residential building in West Chelsea?" I believe there were luxury residential buildings in West Chelsea going as far back as 1930...
Finally, the Caledonia is not exactly "ultra exclusive" given that a) it's a condominium and b) 60% of the units are rentals...
"I prefer santhony's listing photos to those used in broker listed units."
Of course everyone's different, but generally speaking, better photos will grab more attention (especially higher floors w/views).
"While your advice is good, I don't think he's going to lose interest based on his photographs."
One never knows so why take the chance for a few hundred bucks? Also, based on my experience, photos make a difference (I've been shooting since 1983).
"Conversely, I've shown up to dozens of places listed with 'professional' photos and thought "this is the same apartment as the one listed on line?" "
100% agree, that's why I don't use ultra wide angle lenses. Also, when you leave out a few shots and the buyer walks in, they usually have a better opinion of the place. My philosophy is to have buyers being pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed as you mentioned.
You're welcome, please post again if you re-shoot. Curious how they turn out.
65 - yes that makes complete sense. Most of my disappointment comes when the place in question looks much smaller than the photos, so I don't think a wide angle lens with do a seller any favors. Everything else though, yeah, why not make it look as good as you can.
FWIW - So far, Streeteasy says traffic to the listing is "great" (see: http://awesomescreenshot.com/03ezhcfe9)... and about 10 people have saved the open house to their planner. Of the ~600 people who have looked on streeteasy, we've seen about 150 unique click-throughs to our 230ashland23d.com website.
We've received about 10 emails from brokers and 3 from non-brokers interested in seeing the place. Not a bad funnel for 2 days, but hopefully we can do better! Hoping for a mention in curbed or brownstoner as well.
I'll post some updated stats on Monday after the open house. Thanks again to everyone for your thoughts/suggestions.
ever thought of replacing both your bathroom vanities....? replacing them with something new 9and matching) in white would probably do more for your sales price than new photos etc
2 x $500 from ikea would be well worth the investment.
i fsbo'd a condo on streeteasy. if you can price your apt right, you dont need some knucklehead to take 6% to do it for you. sure, pay some other knucklehead 2-3% for escorting another hapless knucklehead to your open house... I guess...
answer: they want your commission and will work to that end. they work for themselves, not for you.
YOU CAN DO IT.
Just a quick update on our FSBO open house today: we had about 15 couples to the apartment (and a few single guys). Roughly 3 people expressed serious interest and we've received one solid offer so far (hurrah!). We're following up with everyone else that attended, and hopefully can do a "best and final" deadline of this Wednesday. Overall, I'm maybe a little disappointed in the turn out (we have tons of leftover cookies), but feeling glad to have at least one offer.
After doing the staging this morning, I did re-shoot some of our photography based on your suggestions @vslse65 and I'll be updating the listing soon (if we don't go into contract first).
Thanks again for all the feedback.
And now we're "condo of the day" on brownstone - http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2013/03/condo-of-the-day-230-ashland-place-23d/
Haters are doing some hating in the comments, but I think any publicity is good publicity.
>Haters are doing some hating
excerpted from urbandictionary.com:
Haters Gonna Hate
A colloquial saying. It means that people who don't like you will always find a reason to dislike you, no matter how stupid that reason may be.
"Dad, Jane says she doesn't like me because I write my math problems in pen!"
"Don't let it get you down son. Haters gonna hate."
I get it, like one of those things John Boehner would say.
Congrats on your OH. Would love to see your updated photos (even if you go into contract first) and you can email me the left over cookies. :)
I am about to list my coop myself (I am actaullay a licensed broker by way of being an attorney, but have no re experience).I have a few quesitons for you FSBO pros out there. How do you field offers? DO you have them sent in writing? WHat about the board package? did the buyser send it directly to the building managing agent. Thanks and all advice welcomed
We built a couple of documents ourselves. The first one we called an "info packet" and included information about the apartment, neighborhood, and some disclosures about defects. In hindsight, we should have asked that buyers "sign" this packet to indicate that they read it. The second form we built was an offer form modeled on the one we had to use through a broker. It asked for a pre-approval letter and optionally details on assets/income. We also had the building financials in PDF form and shared them with serious offers.
People didn't get the board package until we were in the contracting process. In our case, we sent it directly... because we still had our original hardcopy, but have heard that others send the buyer to the managing agent.
Also wanted to quickly follow up on our own FSBO process discussed earlier on this thread (http://230ashland23d.com/).
We went into contract this week at our asking price with a qualified/motivated buyer (no RE agents on either end). We set a new highwater mark for our building on a ppsf basis (at least, post 2008 crash)... so we're happy about the result.
The process was definitely a learning experience and lot of work... but still totally worth it!
Here's how it went down:
- We did the photography, built a website, grabbed a gmail account, wrote a 15-page "info packet", and created necessary forms ourselves.
- Paid for 1 month of premium listings on Streateasy, Brownstoner, and Zillow (~$700 total). We were also featured as "condo of the day" on Brownstoner (resulting in lot's of traffic, but nasty comments about our building/apartment ;)
- Hosted 3 open houses, and probably showed the apartment 8 other times to individuals (each time was 30-60 minutes of cleaning/staging)
- We saw a total of roughly 40 potential buyers walk through the apartment over this time period. We think that this traffic was quite low, and most likely a direct result of our "no buyer's agent" policy. I think it really narrowed the number of people who could view it.
- Speaking of buyer's agents, we were contacted by roughly 20 agents and we put them into a spreadsheet and sent each a nice reply. Our plan was to reach out to them after 3-4 weeks if we couldn't find a buyer on our own.
- Of the 40 people who saw the apartment, we receive 8 offers of varying quality. Some were from buyers low-balling it and they tried to convince us that it was a good offer. I think this is another symptom/issue of FSBO... sometimes you are working with buyers that are pretty clueless about the state of the market (OR they are hoping that the seller is clueless).
- We accepted 2 offers (both at asking price) that didn't go through. This was somewhat unexpected... and in the case of the 2nd offer, we had already gone through much of the due diligence around the contract/inspection. They backed out at the last minute because they were afraid of additional buildings going up and losing views. We had disclosed all of this in our info packet, but suspect that the buyers hadn't read it carefully. If we did it over again, we'd ask buyers to sign this packet when making offers.
- Luckily, we stayed in touch with under-bidders and when our second buyers fell through, we quickly received a new offer at ask and were in contract within a week.
Overall: it was harder than we thought given the "sellers market" and "low inventory" that everyone talks about in Brooklyn. From start (February 26th) to finish (April 12th), we sent several hundred emails and numerous calls, and probably 25 hours of cleaning and staging and showing and 10 hours of document prep. All-in, I'd estimate about 80 person-hours worth of work to save about $50,000 (assuming parity on sale price). Maybe a realtor could have sold for a higher price and saved us a lot of the work, but again, we're happy with the result.
Nice job and thanks for sharing. I really like photo #2 and the additional shots of the views.
Congrats on the sale! Can you elaborate on the calls from the buyer agents? What do they say?
@Ottawanyc I think that most of the buyer's agents actually represented legit buyers who were currently in the market for a 2 bedroom. They wanted to know if we were paying a 3% commission (our reply was basically "not yet").
I do think that there were some agents who weren't quite straight with us... pretending to have buyers so that they could talk to us and try to get the listing themselves. We had maybe 5 agents contact us with direct pitches about their firm and how they would get us a higher sale price, etc, etc.