How to Sell a House By Owner in New York (2021 Update)

By 

Clever Real Estate

Updated 

December 29th, 2020

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Selling a house For Sale by Owner (FSBO) in New York can save you 2.7% to 5.7% in realtor commissions. But prepare for a lot of work, including filing the required paperwork and learning about your local market to make the most from your sale.

In New York, the average commission rate is 4.9% to 5.7%. If you sell a house worth $350,000 — the median home value in New York — that’s up to $19,900, which is a huge chunk of your potential profits.

Selling without a real estate agent, known as listing For Sale By Owner (FSBO), is a viable option for experienced home sellers who are willing to put in the time and effort.

Key Benefits of Selling FSBO
  • Direct control over how your home is sold, including the pricing strategy, showing schedule, and negotiation process.
  • No listing commission, which could save you 2.9%, based on the New York average.
  • FSBO sellers who find a buyer without an agent, save an additional 2.4%, the average buyer's agent commission rate in New York.

However, selling FSBO has risks. Research shows that FSBO homes typically sell for about 6% less than those listed with agents. In addition, FSBO homes often take longer to sell, and are more likely to fall out of contract after accepting an offer — unless the homeowner is experienced and knowledgeable about the process.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know to successfully sell your house without a realtor: the ins and outs of New York realtor fees, paperwork, and tips to walk away with more from your sale.

What FSBO Sellers in New York Need to Know

Real estate laws, processes, and trends vary greatly across the country. Understanding the details of your market and getting accurate information can make a FSBO sale complicated.

We'll go into more details about what you need to do in New York, but here's an overview of the state's laws and regulations.

New York FSBO Overview

Real estate attorney required?
Yes
Required state disclosures? (learn more)
  • Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement
  • Flood Zone Statement
  • Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
FSBO yard sign allowed?
Yes
Competitive Buyer's Agent Commission (learn more)
2.2% to 2.6%

How to List Your New York Home for Sale by Owner

Once you've decided on a price, it's time to write a listing description that speaks to local buyers. Understanding their priorities will help you identify what features of your property to highlight in your listing and attract more interest.

Top Buyer Priorities in New York

New York Buyer Priorities
Advice for FSBO Sellers
1. Listing Price
Be honest about your list price. Look at recent sales data in your area on Zillow or other real estate sites to find an accurate price point for homes of comparable size and condition to yours. Many real estate companies will also conduct an analysis for little to no charge.
2. Architectural Style of Home
In your listing description, talk about any unique architectural features that could set your home apart. If your home was built by a known architect, has original flooring or doors, or has any historical value, be sure to mention it. Also, point out what takes your house to the next level. For example, older homes can be beautiful, but energy inefficient. Highlight upgrades you made like new windows that will save buyers hundreds in heating costs.
3. School Districts
Include appealing information about school districts in your listing description, such as its Greatschools rating, graduation rates, parental reviews, or state accolades.
Based on a 2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents

When it comes to advertising and posting your listing, you have several options as a FSBO seller. Each choice has its own pros and cons as well as costs:

  • For Sale By Owner yard sign: You can buy a sign from most hardware stores or online for $20-$50. Be sure to choose one that allows you to add your phone numbers so interested buyers can contact you for property information and showings.
  • Craigslist: Posting your home on Craigslist is free and simple. Just go to the New York page, find your city, and create a "real estate — by owner" listing.
  • FSBO websites: There are multiple FSBO listing websites that allow you to post your home for free or a few hundred dollars. But each differs in how many photos you can include, how long the listing is live, and the changes you can make — do your research before choosing a for sale by owner site.
  • Flat-Fee MLS companies: Flat-fee MLS services will list your house on your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for significantly less than a realtor. However, they provide few additional services unless you opt for their most expensive packages, which often cost more than using a discount brokerage.

If you choose to use a flat-fee MLS company, you'll have to offer a buyer's agent commission. The MLS is how real estate agents find homes for their clients, and typically a buyer's agent commission is included to incentivize these realtors to show the house to their clients.

List with a top agent for just $3,000 or 1%.

Sell your home for top dollar and save on commission.

How Realtor Commissions Work In New York

Traditionally, both the buyer's agent and the listing agent are paid a commission by the homeowner. When sellers work with a realtor, they negotiate a commission as part of the listing agreement.

Based on the average commission rates in New York, this typically ranges from 2.7% to 3.1% of the sale price.

In a typical sale, the seller also agrees to a commission rate for the realtor who brings the buyer to the table, which runs between 2.2% to 2.6%.


Average Range in New York*
Average Amount⁺
Listing Commission
2.7% to 3.1%
$9,450 to $10,850
Buyer Agent's Commission
2.2% to 2.6%
$7,700 to $9,100
*Based on the average commission rates from a 2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents
⁺Based on typical home value in New York (Zillow Data Center, October 2020)

As a FSBO seller, you automatically avoid paying a listing commission. However, there is a solid argument for offering a buyer's agent commission.

A buyer’s agent's commission is an incentive for realtors to show your house to their clients. If you don't offer a commission that is competitive compared to similar homes in your area, then your home could be shown less. Agents may prioritize taking buyers to homes with a commission.

The best way to avoid paying any commission fees is to sell to an unrepresented buyer. However, know that nearly 87% of buyers work with a realtor. If you decide not to offer a buyer's agent commission, you may severely restrict your pool of buyers.

>> LEARN how real estate commissions work

How Commission Costs Break Down in New York


FSBO w/ a Represented Buyer
FSBO w/ an Unrepresented Buyer
Listing w/ an Agent
Listing w/ a Discount Agent
Sale Price*
$329,000
$329,000
$365,000
$365,000
Listing Commission⁺
$0
$0
$10,150
$3,000
Buyer Commission⁺ 
$7,896
$0
$8,400
$8,400
Total Profit
$321,104
$329,000
$331,450
$338,600
*Based on median home value in New York  (Zillow Data Center, October 2020) and that FSBO homes sell for 6% less (Collateral Analytics, 2017)
Based on the average commission rates in New York (2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents)

Paperwork to Sell a House by Owner In New York

Once you find a buyer for your house, it's time to start the closing process. In a typical real estate transaction, your agent will make sure you fill out all the necessary documents and forms. As a FSBO seller, you'll have to navigate the paperwork by yourself.

This process varies by state — here’s a quick breakdown of New York’s requirements.

Required for All New York Real Estate Sales

2 Forms of ID
In most cases, a valid passport, driver's license, or other form of New York-issued ID.
Copy of Purchase Agreement and Any Addendums
Copy of the original, signed sales agreement as well as any agreed upon changes.
Closing Statement
A detailed list of all the costs associated with the sale and who pays them. This is often prepared by your escrow agent or title company.
Signed Deed
To legally transfer your property, you'll need the deed that proves you're the rightful owner. At closing, you'll sign the deed over to the buyer.
Bill of Sale
This is basically a receipt that includes both your information and the buyer's. It will also list the final price of the home and what was included in the sale.
Affidavit of Title
A notarized document that states you own the home, that there are no liens on the property, that you are not simultaneously selling the home to someone else, etc.

Possible Additional Documents

Loan Payoff Information
If you have a mortgage on your home, you'll need documentation of exactly how much you still owe and any payoff fees. If you've already paid your mortgage in full, you'll need documentation proving that.
HOA Forms and Guidelines
If your home is part of an HOA, you'll need to give the buyer documentation on the HOA's Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions, financial history, required fees, approval process, etc.
Survey Results or Survey Affidavits
A survey (or an affidavit verifying a previous survey) proves exactly where the property lines are.
Home Inspection Results
If you had a pre-sale inspection, you'll want the results to compare to the buyer's inspection. If having a buyer inspection was part of the sales agreement, you should receive a copy of the results before closing.
Proof of Repairs or Renovations
Documentation proving any major repairs or changes to the house help verify its value. These receipts also provide the buyer with information about who to contact if they discover issues with the repairs in the future.
Home Warranty Information
The home warranty service agreement will explain what is covered, for how long, and any costs associated with the policy.
Copies of Relevant Wills, Trusts, or Power of Attorney Letters
If you are selling an inherited property, you'll need copies of all legal documents that passed ownership to you.
Relevant Affidavits (Name Affidavits, Non-Foreign Affidavit Under IRC 1445, etc.)
You may need additional affidavits like a name affidavit (which lists all of your or the buyer's previous names) or an affidavit proving you are not a foreign citizen and therefore exempt from certain property sales taxes.
Closing Disclosure 
If your buyer is taking out a mortgage and you agreed to certain seller's concessions, you may need a copy of their closing disclosure to verify the lender approved your concessions.
Correction Statement and Agreement
In the event forms are lost or errors are discovered in the future, a correction statement and agreement requires you, the buyer, or their lender, to replace or fix those documents if need be.

New York Disclosure Forms

The seller disclosure statement details any known issues with your home and its major appliances and systems.
Flood Zone Statement
With some mortgages (like federally backed ones), your buyer's lender might require information of the property's flood risk.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Federal law requires that if your home was built before 1978, you disclose information about the dangers of lead-based paint to your buyer.

Many closing documents are legally binding agreements. Any errors can derail your sale and cost you thousands in fees or in costs to re-list your house.

To avoid an expensive mistake, consider hiring a real estate attorney. While this can cost $500-$5,000, an experienced lawyer can answer any questions you have along the way.

FSBO Pros and Cons

Before deciding to sell your home by owner, weigh all the pros and cons to make the right choice for your situation.

Pros

  • More control: As a FSBO seller, you can decide the price, listing timeframe, showing schedule, marketing strategy, negotiation tactics, and more.
  • No competition with other clients: Some agents take on more clients than they can handle, which could mean not getting the attention you need to meet your home-selling goals.
  • Lower commission: As a FSBO seller, you could sell your home without paying any commissions. Based on New York's average commission rates, that could leave 2.7% to 5.7% of your sale price in your pocket. Even if your buyer has an agent, you'll still avoid paying 2.7% to 3.1% in listing commissions.

Cons

  • No MLS access: Unless you pay for a flat-fee MLS service, your home won't be on the local MLS. Most agents use MLSes (not Zillow and Trulia) to find properties for their clients and most buyers work with a realtor. So if you're not on the MLS, fewer buyers will see your listing.
  • Risks of inaccurate pricing: Many FSBO sellers find it difficult to be objective when pricing their house and list for too much. If you make this mistake, you won't attract buyers and the listing will become stale. Eventually, you could be forced to accept a low offer or take your home off the market and relist with an agent.
  • Safety issues: As a FSBO seller, it will be your responsibility to show your home to prospective buyers. Not everyone is comfortable being alone with strangers in their homes since incidents such as theft or harassment can occur. Make sure to gauge your own comfort levels before deciding to sell FSBO.
  • More work and stress: Selling a home is a full-time job. Trying to cram all the steps and responsibilities into your schedule is a hassle many FSBO sellers aren't prepared for.

FSBO Alternatives to Consider

If saving money is your main reason for selling your home by owner, there are alternatives. Consider the following lower-cost options (listed from least expensive to most):

Flat-Fee MLS Services in New York

As mentioned before, a flat-fee MLS service will post your listing on the local MLS, usually for a low, upfront fee. In New York, this will typically cost you a couple hundred dollars.

Here are some New York flat-fee MLS companies to compare:

Net Realty Now

Net Realty Now

Price Range

$299-1,299

Number of Photos

50-150

Listing Term

6 months

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Net Realty Now is a licensed real estate brokerage that specializes in flat-fee MLS listing services in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and New York
  • Set your own buyer’s agent commission (Net Realty Now recommends 2%-2.5%)
  • Buyer leads forwarded to you
  • Unlimited text editing of your MLS listing
$299 - Flat Fee MLS Package
  • 6-month listing on the MLS
  • 50 photos
  • Listing syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Homes.com, and more
  • Unlimited text editing of your MLS listing
  • Comparable sales info on similar properties if available
  • No closing fees
  • Legal documents to complete transaction
  • Buyer leads forwarded to you

$1299 - Full Support Flat Fee Package
  • Same as Flat Fee MLS Package, plus:
  • 150 photos
  • All end-to-end paperwork completed electronically
  • Marketing advice
  • Contract negotiations
  • Guidance through the sale process








Online appointment service through Showingtime can be purchased for $50. Full service representation can be added for 3-4% at closing.

Fees may be incurred for excessive photo editing of submitted pictures.

  • Pros:
    • 50 photos in base package
    • Buyer leads forwarded to you
    • Unlimited text editing of your MLS listing
  • Cons
    • No built-in home valuation

As of August 17, 2020, Net Realty Now has an average rating of 4.53/5 based on 21 reviews across Yelp and Zillow.

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Realmart Realty

Realmart Realty

Price Range

$395-695

Number of Photos

6-25

Listing Term

6 months up to until sold

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Realmart Realty is a licensed, New Jersey and New York real estate brokerage that specializes in flat-fee and low-commission MLS listing services
  • Set your own buyer’s agent commision (Realmart recommends 2%-3%)
  • Unlimited listing changes, excluding photos
  • Listing is live within 24-48 hours of completion of necessary paperwork
  • Additional, a-la-carte services include legal advice, more photos, unlimited open house postings, lockboxes, staging consultation, professional photography, additional MLS listing, comparative market analysis (CMA), listing extensions, signs, and flyers
  • Money-back guarantee through referral agreement

$395 - Flat Fee MLS Listing Plan

  • 6-month listing on the MLS
  • 6 photos
  • Listing syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, and more
  • For sale sign
  • Unlimited listing changes, excluding photos
  • All buyer inquiries forwarded to you


$695 + 1% or $3,000 at closing - 1% Professional Agency Plan

  • Same as Flat Fee MLS Listing Plan, plus:
  • 12-month listing on the MLS, with free 12-month extensions
  • Unlimited open houses
  • 3D photo and floor model
  • 12x7 live customer service with online appointment scheduling
  • 1 for sale sign and 8 open house signs
  • Digital lockbox
  • Professional agent consultation on pricing, clean-up, repair, and staging ideas
  • Full paperwork support and legal representation from contract review to closing
  • Dedicated professional guidance/coaching on negotiation, inspection, appraisal issues, etc.

Pros

  • Buyer inquiries forwarded to you
  • Offers money-back guarantee — if you decide to go with a full-service agent and Realmart Realty makes the referral
  • Free listing changes (some will require an additional fee)

Cons

  • No built-in home valuation or CMA with basic package
  • Only 6 photos with basic plan — can upgrade to 25+ for an additional fee

As of August 12, 2020, Realmart has an average rating of 4.4/5 based on 173 reviews across Google and Trustpilot.

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Houzeo

Houzeo

Price Range

$250-399

Number of Photos

6 to max allowed

Listing Term

3-6 months

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Houzeo is a flat-fee MLS referral service that connects you with New York brokers and agents who will list your home on your local MLS for a pre-negotiated rate
  • Draft your listing, upload photos, set your price, and sign MLS contracts via Houzeo’s online dashboard
  • Autofills listing details using publicly available info about your home to expedite the listing process
  • Home valuation not included in service
  • Does not require that you offer buyer’s agent commission
  • Listing is typically live within 24 hours of submission
$250 - Bronze
  • 3-month listing on MLS
  • 6 Photos
  • Virtual tour
  • $25 for each listing change
  • Syndicated to Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and more
$299 - Silver
  • Same as Bronze plan, plus:
  • 6-month listing on MLS
  • 24 Photos
  • 10 free listing changes
  • Select and communicate with Escrow Agent
$399 - Gold
  • Same as Silver plan, plus:
  • Max photos allowed by MLS
  • Federal and state disclosures forms














Pros

  • Free cancellation anytime (no refunds)
  • Freedom to specify any buyer’s agent commission
  • Listings typically go live within 24 hours

Cons

  • Limited coverage in rural areas
  • “Free changes” only apply to listing’s price, status, and property description; $10 for additional changes

As of August 10, 2020, Houzeo has an average rating of 4.8/5 based on 21 reviews on Google.

SHOW MORE

>> LEARN about flat-fee MLS services in New York

Clever Real Estate

Clever is a nationwide real estate service that connects sellers with top, local agents. You pay Clever nothing and only pay your full-service agent $3,000 (or 1% on homes over $350,000) if and when your home sells.

Listing Fee

1% (minimum $3,000)

Buyer Rebate

Up to 1%

Avg. Customer Rating

4.8/5 (386 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Clever Real Estate is a nationwide, online concierge and agent matching service for sellers and buyers — learn more
  • Buyers and sellers are matched with multiple highly rated agents from major brands, such as Keller Williams, Century 21, Compass, RE/MAX, and more
  • Sellers choose a full-service agent and pay a flat, $3,000 fee — or just 1% for homes more than $350,000
  • Buyers may be eligible for up to 1% back at closing (in qualifying locations)

Clever has pre-negotiated lower commission rates with top agents in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico

Pros
  • Listing fee of $3,000 (or 1% on homes >$350K) for a full-service agent
  • Sellers only pay once their home is sold
  • Partner Agents are top, local realtors with at least 5 years experience
  • Agent matches are customized and based on your specific situation
  • Eligible buyers receive a home buyer rebate of up to 1%
Cons
  • Sellers may not be matched with an agent from their preferred brokerage
  • While homes are listed on the MLS, there's no independent Clever listing site.







As of May 20, 2020, Clever's average customer rating is 4.8/5 based on 386 reviews on Trustpilot.

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>> LEARN more about Clever Real Estate

Discount Real Estate Services in New York

While pricing and services vary, discount real estate companies will help you sell your house for less than a traditional realtor. In most cases, you'll still need to offer a competitive buyer's agent commission, but you'll save on listing fees.

Prevu Real Estate

Prevu Real Estate

Listing Fee

1.5%

Buyer Rebate

Up to 2%

Avg. Customer Rating

4.9/5 (53 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Prevu is a real estate broker offering commission savings in New York City, Philadelphia, and Fairfield County, CT
  • If you're selling, get full service for a reduced 1.5% listing fee, vs the 2.5-3% rate typically charged by traditional, full-service agents
  • Expect to pay a buyer's agent commission as well — rates vary, but 2.5-3% is typical nationwide
  • Prevu agents don't work on commission, they're salaried. This has some implications buyers and sellers should be aware of
  • Qualifying buyers can get a commission rebate of up to 2% back at closing

New York

BronxManhattanStaten Island
BrooklynQueens


Connecticut

Fairfield County


Pennsylvania

Philadelphia
Pros
  • Sellers get full service for reduced 1.5% listing fee
  • Buyers can get up to a 2% commission rebate, which is substantial
  • 3D Virtual Tours included as a built-in service
Cons
  • Some companies offer comparable services for a lower listing fee
  • Limited availability/market coverage

As of May 20, 2020, Prevu's average customer rating is 4.9/5 based on 53 reviews across Google and Yelp. See the breakdown below.

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Redfin

Redfin

Listing Fee

1-1.5% (min. fees apply)

Buyer Rebate

Avg. $1,500 (where availabe)

Avg. Customer Rating

3.2/5 (243 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Redfin is an online listing portal and multi-state real estate brokerage operating in 80+ markets across the United States
  • Sellers get full service and support from a Redfin agent for a reduced listing fee (rates and minimums vary by location)
  • Redfin agents are salaried. Since they do not work on commission, there is no incentive to get sellers the highest sale price — learn more
  • RedfinNow — Redfin's iBuyer program — makes all-cash offers on qualifying homes in 10 markets for a 7% service fee (but no additional commission)
  • Buyers in select markets might be eligible for a home buyer rebate — learn more
AshevilleHouston*
Orlando
AlbanyIndianapolis
Palm Beach
AtlantaInland Empire*
Palm Springs
Austin*Jacksonville
Philadelphia
Birmingham^Kansas City^
Phoenix
BoiseKnoxville^
Pittsburgh
Boston
Lake Tahoe
Portland, OR^
BuffaloLas Vegas*Raleigh
CharlotteLittle Rock^Rhode Island
ChicagoLos Angeles*Richmond
CincinnatiLouisiana^Sacramento
Cleveland^Louisville^Salt Lake City
ColumbusMarylandSan Antonio*^
ConnecticutMemphis^San Diego*
Dallas*MiamiSan Francisco
DelawareMinneapolisSavannah
Denver*Nashville^Seattle
Des Moines^Nebraska^South Carolina
DetroitNew JerseySouth Texas^
El Paso^New MexicoSpokane
FlagstaffNew York CitySt. Louis^
Fort MyersNortheast VirginiaTampa
Grand RapidsNorthern New EnglandTucson^
Hampton RoadsOklahoma^Washington, D.C.
HawaiiOrange County, CA*Wisconsin^

*Also a RedfinNow location

^No home buyer rebate available

Pros
  • Sellers get full service and support for a discounted rate of 1.5%
  • Rate drops to 1% when you sell and buy with Redfin
  • Access to a variety of online tools and services, including virtual showings, paperwork, closing, and more
  • Commission rebate offered to eligible buyers in select markets
Cons
  • Only available in ~80 U.S. markets
  • Minimum listing fees can result in paying more than advertised 1-1.5% rate
  • Choice of agents is limited to Redfin's in-house team or local partners
  • Local partners don't necessarily adhere to Redfin's discount pricing model

As of May 20, 2020, Redfin's average customer rating is 3.2/5 based on 235 reviews across Yelp, Google, and Consumer Affairs.

*These reviews are for Redfin's Seattle, WA office. Reviews may vary by location.

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REX Real Estate

REX Real Estate

Listing Fee

2% ($9,000 min.)

Buyer Rebate

Up to 1-1.5%

Avg. Customer Rating

4.6/5 (536 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Sellers get full service (minus MLS access) for a 2% listing fee — $9,000 minimum fee for homes below $450,000
  • REX does not post listings on the MLS. Instead, it uses digital advertising to target unrepresented buyers and help you avoid paying a buyer’s agent commission (typically 2-3%)
  • This may significantly reduce your pool of prospective buyers (roughly 87% of buyers work with agents), making it harder to attract offers
  • Represented buyers must cover their agent's fee themselves, which could hinder their ability or desire to purchase your home
  • If you buy a non-REX home with a REX agent, you may qualify for a 1-1.5% commission rebate. If you buy a REX-listed home, you are not eligible for a rebate
Arizona
California
Colorado
New Jersey
New York
Florida
North Carolina
Georgia
Pennsylvania
Oregon
Illinois
Texas
Maryland
Vermont
Massachusetts
Virginia
Nevada
Washington, D.C.
Pros
  • Save up to 1% on listing fees
  • Potential to avoid buyer’s agent commission (2-3%)
  • Get full service (minus MLS access) and concierge support



Cons
  • $9,000 minimum may result in listings fees higher than advertised 2%
  • Not listing on the MLS significantly reduces your home's visibility
  • Not offering a buyer's agent commission puts you at a competitive disadvantage

As of May 20, 2020, REX Real Estate’s average customer rating is 4.6/5 based on 536 reviews across Zillow, Facebook, and Google. See the breakdown below.

>> VIEW REX’s Better Business Bureau profile here.


*These reviews are for REX's main California office. Reviews may vary by location. We recommend conducting your own research for customer reviews specific to your area.

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>> LEARN about discount real estate services

iBuyers

iBuyers will buy qualifying homes for cash, meaning you avoid realtor fees — and the stress of listing on the open market entirely. While these companies make fair-market offers, they will deduct any required repairs after an on-site visit. They also charge a service fee typically ranging between 6-14%.

>> LEARN about iBuyers

5 Tips for Selling Your Home Without a Realtor in New York

Pulling off a FSBO sale successfully is a difficult feat to accomplish. Here are some helpful tips from Clever CEO and real estate investor Ben Mizes, who has experience listing homes without an agent.

1. Make Minor Repairs

Small upgrades and repairs can do a lot to sway potential buyers. The key is knowing how and where to spend your money to get higher offers. Simple DIY projects like a fresh coat of paint or new cabinet pulls have a high return on investment, whereas pricier improvements like adding a new bedroom may not.

Overall, the most important factor is knowing where the line is between necessary and over-the-top. You want your house to meet buyers' expectations.

"If your kitchen is a disaster, spending more money on a remodel to get it in solid condition will pay off in the end," said Mizes. "But spending money on high-end features to take it from good to extravagant will be a waste."

Also consider how valuable specific repairs are to buyers in your area. Focus on upgrades that have a higher cost recuperation in your region.

Home Repairs with Highest Resale Value in New York

Top Upgrades
Avg. Repair Cost
Avg. Resale Value
Cost Recouped
Garage Door Replacement
$3,791
$4,031
106%
Manufactured Stone Veneer
$9,589
$8,607
90%
Siding Replacement (Fiber-Cement)
$17,497
$14,966
86%
Based on regional data from Remodeling (2020)

2. Price Your New York Home Competitively

A frequent mistake that FSBOs make is incorrectly pricing their home for the market. Overpriced homes attract fewer buyers and spend longer on the market than accurately priced homes. However, underpricing your home can leave you shortchanged.

You can determine your list price by looking at similar recent sales in your area and using them to help you price your home. Once you have an idea of your home’s valuation, be sure to look at recently sold homes with values above and below yours to see how their houses were different. Identifying features that add or subtract value from homes that have recently sold can help you make an informed decision in your home’s initial list price.

Bonus Tip: A pre-sale appraisal house gives you a more accurate starting point for pricing your home.

Based on our research, in New York, appraisals average a couple hundred dollars, but help you walk away with thousands more once your home is sold.

3. Stage and Market Your Home

Successfully marketing your home is crucial in increasing its visibility to potential buyers . With hundreds of homes on the market, it’s important to showcase your home’s differentiators to draw buyer attention.

A good listing has high quality photos that outline all the best features of your home, with detailed listing descriptions that pair nicely with the photos. Hiring a professional photographer carries additional cost, but ensures that every aspect of your home will be well portrayed online, bringing in more buyers.

Additionally, holding an open house is frequently a useful way to attract buyers to tour your property. You want buyers to imagine themselves in the home, so be sure to declutter and arrange furniture with a focus on making the rooms easy to move through. If you’re no longer living in the home, or feel uncomfortable leaving your possessions unattended, you may want to hire a professional stager to bring in their own furniture.

Bonus Tip: Hiring a professional stager can help alleviate some of the stress FSBO sellers go through. They know your local market and ensure your home is ready to impress, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Shop around to find out which local stagers offer reasonable rates and have a proven record of getting homes ready for sale.

4. Prepare for Showings

Organization is key when showing your home to potential buyers. You'll need a good system for scheduling showings and saving buyers' and agents’ contact information. You'll want to be flexible and try to show your house at buyers’ convenience.

Keep the home clean and decluttered at all times. The last thing you want is to scramble around with a vacuum after a buyer calls for a last-minute showing.

Also, focus on creating a homey atmosphere for buyers. You want to make a great first impression on as many buyers as possible, so add little touches that speak to most people.

"Bake cookies or light scented candles before a showing," advises Mizes. "Smell plays a huge part in how buyers will perceive and remember your house. Use comforting scents to your advantage so they feel at home the moment they walk through the door."

5. Negotiate for the Best Possible Price

Negotiations are about deciding more than the final sale price. You and the buyer (or their agent) will also have to agree upon contract contingencies, how closing costs are divided, the timeline, and more.

To gain the upper hand, get creative with the seller concessions you offer a buyer. While they might cost you a little more at closing, concessions sweeten the deal for buyers and could lead to a higher final sale price.

The most popular concessions vary from market to market. Knowing what works with buyers in your area will help you strengthen your offer.

For example, a 2020 Clever survey of over 500 real estate professionals found that in New York, sellers often cover 1.6% to 2.0% of buyers' closing costs. On a home of median value, that equates to $5,600 to $7,000, but can help you close the deal sooner and for more money.

You should also consider offering these popular seller concessions:

Most Common Seller Concessions in New York

Concession
Benefits of Offering Concession
Repair Credits
Repair credits are win-wins for buyers and sellers. You'll credit the buyer a set amount to cover the cost of repairs. Once the deal closes, the buyer can personally oversee the project to their liking and you don't have to worry about repairs going over budget.
Home Warranty
If your home has major appliances or systems that are on their last leg, a home warranty can give buyers peace of mind. A warranty will cover possible issues and is typically less expensive than paying for the repairs (or accepting a lower offer from a wary buyer).
Attorney Fees
In New York, an attorney must assist with real estate transactions. By offering to pay the buyer's legal fees, you can sweeten the deal.

Conclusion: Is FSBO Right for You?

FSBO isn't a perfect fit for everyone. But now that you know what awaits, if you're feeling confident about all the steps and possible challenges, you might be ready to sell without a realtor.

Remember, to succeed at selling a house by owner you'll need to:

  • Make a plan: From getting photos of your property to lining up the correct paperwork, there’ll be a lot on your FSBO to-do list. Work out a schedule for when you need to accomplish everything so you can find a buyer and close in a timeframe that works for you.
  • Get ready to hustle: Attracting qualified buyers is hard work. You'll need a great listing description and a killer marketing strategy to generate interest. Also, prepare to spend a considerable amount of your time fielding calls from prospective buyers, handling showings, hosting open houses, and more.
  • Make smart investments: Even though your main goal as a FSBO seller is saving money, spending some money on small upgrades or repairs can lead to higher offers and a faster sale. Also, consider paying for a flat-fee MLS service to list your home on the local MLS to reach more buyers.
  • Seek some professional advice: You don't have to sign a listing contract to talk to a realtor. Professional agents understand that smart sellers weigh their options; they'll be willing to meet for a free consultation. After seeing your home and looking at comps, they might notice issues or advantages you overlooked. Once you've heard their advice, if you still want to sell by owner, you can do so confidently because you thoroughly explored all your choices.

If you'd like some professional guidance with no strings attached, Clever can help. Fill out your basic info below to connect with a top, local realtor for a no-obligation consultation.

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Additional Resources for New York Home Sellers