FSBO Checklist: Check it Twice!
A: So you decided to sell on your own and save the commission that brokers charge to mass market your property. Here is a checklist of items you should follow in order to maximize the marketability of your property, since your listing will NOT be circulated in the brokerage community.
**Important FSBO Note: Most qualified buyers do not have the time or the experience to find and then assess value as they prepare to buy a new home. I know that my clients not only rely on me to send them price reductions and new listings as they come in, but also to help them analyze a property's current asking price and to asess value so that they can negotiate the best possible purchase price. A good strategy is a must before you place that first bid! As a FSBO listing, your property will NOT be disclosed to brokers' clients since there is no incentive being offered to the broker for bringing in the buyer. In essence, a FSBO is only marketing their property to about 30% of the buyer pool; so you must do so effectively!
1. Prepare your apartment for showing: This includes any planned renovations, mass cleanups, putting away personal photos and jewelry, and putting into storage all x-large furniture that clutters the property. A clean and spacious apartment is a sellable apartment!
2. Price your apartment: Go to PropertyShark.com and find out what the last comparable (same line or unit type) sale was in your building and surrounding buildings. If you own a Co-op, then ONLY look at recent Co-op sales in your immediate neighborhood. Add on some value for renovations, views, light, and lower monthly's if you have them.
3. Take Quality Pictures: Pics sell! You will need high quality pictures of your apartment for NY Times online ad and the showsheets that you will design.
4. Design Showsheets: It doesnt have to be pretty but it helps if it is! A showsheet should include the building and contact information, apartment details, monthly expenses, a brief description, building amenities, and some pictures of the apartment and floorplan. Leave these out for buyers to take as they come to view your apartment.
5. Write A NY Times Online & Print Ad: Think about this for a little while before sending the print ad in (deadline is 6PM Wednesday for Sunday Print). You must separate yourself from the other ads out there so be sure to advertise your apartment's most desireable characteristics. These will include outdoor space/balcony, park views, W/D in unit, great light, etc..In the end a 4 or 5 line ad must include the building and apartment #, your contact info, apartment features, and Open House information! **Setup the Open House at a time when you get the MOST natural sunlight!
6. Get ready to be hounded!: The first few calls you will receive will probably be from brokers asking how they can assist you in selling your apartment. Try not to get frustrated as this is how brokers make their living! Instead, be prepared with a "...thanks for your call but I am not talking with brokers at this time" skit.
7. Run an Open House: Its always best to run an Open House on Sunday (early afternoon) and Monday (late evening). Again, be sure your place is clean and not cluttered with furniture and personal junk. Buyers must be able to see the space they might be buying! Keep showsheets and sign up sheet out and ask buyers to sign in as they arrive. If you want to go the extra mile, put an apple pie in a warm oven about 30 minutes before the open house; it will make your apartment smell delicious! Some flowers always helps too (not too much though!).
8. Real Estate Attorney & Building Doc's: Assuming you priced your apartment to market value and spend your marketing dollars in the NY Times, you should get a reasonable offer. When you accept an offer have your real estate attorney send over the contract of sale, offering plan, and 2 years building financials to the buyer's attorney for review. Expect a signed contract and 10% deposit back within 5 business days.
This is a quick guide that ALL sellers should review before deciding to bypass a broker and sell as a FSBO. Remember, selling as a FSBO will never fully market your property as buyer brokers will not be bringing their clients to your listing. So, be sure to price aggressively and prepare well in advance before your first showings!!