If you are – or know – a homeowner who is considering selling a home this year – even if you/they are leaning toward selling as a FSBO (for sale by owner) – preparation and overall strategy are key, and due diligence regarding important details such as when to list, for how much and, how should not be overlooked or shortchanged. Since the how informs the when (timeline) and how much (price), before you list your apartment focus significant attention on the HOW!
The how – or marketing strategy – you choose will likely involve a handing this responsibility to a real estate professional. The effective and efficient way to do this is by meeting with real estate professionals and letting them educate and “pitch” you. I’m not talking about meeting the one agent you have known for several years, I am suggesting meetings with multiple real estate professionals – ideally some of whom you have never met. Meet at least three real estate professionals. Not one, not two…(at least) three. Why?! Well, I am glad you asked…
1) DATA POINTS: You need to know how different agents approach the strategy of selling, what resources they have access to, how they would price the apartment and WHY, where and how they will market your listing and how much they will charge in commission and – perhaps most importantly – how they approach negotiation!
Meeting 1 (or even 2) real estate professionals won’t provide you with comparative data and may lead you to believe all agents are the same or – even worse – all agents are incompetent. This is time well spent whether you are considering listing your home on your own or have chosen to use a real estate professional.
2) IDEAS & INFORMATION: Whether you are impressed or disappointment with the meetings or pitches, you will undoubtedly learn a lot about what you should and should not do. You will pick up information in the first meeting which will help you ask questions in the second and third, which is valuable when trying to maximize visibility of your apartment listing, traffic and interest, and ultimately your net profit.
3) A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE: Sitting down with multiple real estate professionals is not most sellers’ idea of a good time; especially if you start with the premise that all real estate agents are equal and/or incompetent (see my blog post “Working with Real Estate Brokers In NYC: Why or Who?”). However, I contend that sellers wrongly convince themselves that they are being more efficient by avoiding this step, which accepts the false premise that all real estate professionals are incompetent or equal. They are not, and many real estate professionals can do for your listing what you cannot do on your own.
4) THE “BUILDING BROKER” MAY NOT BE THE ANSWER: Don’t get me wrong, there are agents who specialize in particular buildings and do so with unique skill and expertise. However, often sellers will employ the “building broker” because it is easy and convenient (see reason #3). As you can imagine, if enough sellers make their decision based on prior owners’ potential uninformed decisions, you may be making a mistake. At the very least that agent should be forced to compete with other agents when they “pitch” so you can verify whether they are uniquely positioned to succeed where another agent cannot.
5) WHY NOT?!: Whether you are selling a $300,000 studio or a $1,000,000
brownstone, the asset you are selling is likely one of the most valuable and important in your portfolio. I just can’t think of a justification for not taking the extra few hours to make sure you are doing your due diligence when it comes to selling your home.
It is still a great time to be a seller, so make it count. Who you hire to list, market, negotiate and close the deal is among the most important decisions you will make after the initial decision to sell. The difference between an informed, intelligent and rational choice and a rushed, uninformed or presumptuous one amounts to a few hours of due diligence, and potentially tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit. Don’t sell yourself or your property short!
My name is Eirik Davey-Gislason and I work in real estate in New York City. This blog is an opportunity for me to educate everyone who has a horror story or is on the verge of one. By sharing, preparing and advising my audience on what to expect, what is normal, what is right, and what is wrong, I hope to do my part to expose the wrong-doers and shape the future of this dysfunctional thing we call NYC Real Estate.