Home Selling in Midtown East>Question Details

Mark Chai,  in New York, NY

I am sellin my 57th Street Midtown 1 bedroom coop FSBO. Is it better to pay 4% commission or reduce sales price 4% to get buyer direct with realtor?

Asked by Mark Chai, New York, NY Sun Mar 11, 2012

My apartment is at 153 East 57th St
Apartment 14D
approximately 775 sq feet
price: $560k
$1440 maintenance (includes all utilities and 57% tax deductible)
25% financing

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Mark,

Your profile says real estate pro. If you are a licensed real estate broker, real estate salesperson or licensed by NY state as an attorney you can list and market your own apartment as long as it's disclosed in the listing data and advertising broker/owner or attorney/owner.

If you're neither a broker, agent or attorney the commission you a FSBO is offering is not a co broker compensation it is what you want to pay to have a transaction broker or only one broker facilitate the transaction. NY state does not have transaction brokers. In NY state under the new agency law an agent is either a Seller's agent, a buyer's agent, dual agent or dual agent with designated agents representing the buyer and the seller.

Effective January 2011 New York State law requires signed agency disclosure at "first substantive contact" with buyers and sellers. The intent of the law is so the buyer and seller knows who the agent represents in the transaction. Previously in New York State by default all agents represented sellers directly as the listing agent or indirectly as sub-agents of the listing agent by bringing the buyers. In the past in NY if an agent brought a buyer to a FSBO the agent represented the FSBO/Seller by bringing a buyer customer.

Last year I was the broker on a transaction with a FSBO. The buyers were my client. The FSBO/seller didn't think she needed a broker because she made her own flyer. I represented the buyer, my fiduciary was to the buyer. Everything I did benefited the buyer but I also facilitated the transaction by performing duties of a listing agent. The seller called yelling at me a few times during the transaction that I was doing everything for the buyer, I was getting them everything they wanted and i wasn't helping her or negotiating for her. She was an unrepresented seller that had a buyer's agent facilitate the transaction. It was a coop that I have had several sales in and know the building well. I knew board members, the managing agent, super etc.

The only reason I dealt with this FSBO was because my buyers wanted that line in that building. It was a very specific apartment in the building they wanted. They bid on another apartment in the building that went for much higher over ask. The FSBO thinks she got a great price but I knew there was one a lower floor in contract for $60,000 more.

While all the other answers are good reasons to hire a listing broker understanding the fiduciary duties and how the listing agent facilitates a coop transaction. It is much more complicated and involved than just printing flyers. Both parties should be represented in a real estate transaction. The fact that your asking about pricing and commission as a strategy in my opinion means you need a good broker that will represent your interests. Any information you disclose to a buyer's agent under agency law the buyer's agent must tell their buyer client and use that information to benefit the buyer in negotiations not you.

A seller's primary concern should be how much you net and in a coop that the buyer will pass the coop board. Pricing is a function of marketing. The price you get is a function of the marketing you choose. I'm happy to answer any questions, please feel free to call me.


Mitchell Hall, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
Web Reference: http://nycblogestate.com
4 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 12, 2012
Mitchell Hall, Real Estate Pro in New York, NY
There are a variety of reasons why it is never a good idea to be a For Sale by Owner, and I have addressed them many times here before, so I won't get into that now (and that is not what you are asking). Your question is a little diificult to understand because of the phrase "reduce sales price 4% to get buyer direct with realtor." To those of us in the brokerage community "direct" and "with an agent" are opposites. I think what you are asking, however, is if you do not have your own listing agent, is offering 4% to a buyer's agent better than dropping the price 4%? I can tell you that a price drop of 4% is considered insignificant. Every percentage point added to a commission, however, is very significant.

Jenet Levy
Halstead Property, LLC
212 381-4268
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 19, 2012
It is always best to list with a broker, because eventhough you will have to pay their commission whcihc is usually 6%, you will be able to sell your listing at a higher price, since you will get a global exposure. And most of all. they will filter the good and solid buyer from the not so solid buyers.
Good Luck!
fern Hamberger
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 25, 2012
FSBO is possible only if you know how to market your property effectively. Dont get caught up on price. Price is important but 4% of nothing is zero. 4% of 560K is different.

You need to do comps analysis, price it effectively. You need to qualify leads to not waste time, you need to market the property online. You can do this on your own.

Also, I can work with you on a non-exclusive basis. I represent buyers and you can just pay me a buyer broker commission.

Lets talk

Thank you!

Demsker Realty
"Your Experts in NYC Luxury Apartments & Lofts"
304 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010
Cell: (631) 741-2764
E-mail: dompascual@gmail.com
Join my social network: http://cityamicus.com
Company Website: http://demskerrealty.com/
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Facebook Profiles: Dom Pascual; Manhattan Broker

** All information contained herein does not constitute any warranties, offer or commitment or obligation of any sort and/or kind whatsoever and is subject to change, error, omission and/or withdrawal without prior notice. **

Thank you!

Demsker Realty
"Your Experts in NYC Luxury Apartments & Lofts"
304 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010
Cell: (631) 741-2764
E-mail: dompascual@gmail.com
Join my social network: http://cityamicus.com
Company Website: http://demskerrealty.com/
Blog: http://dompascual.wordpress.com/
Listings: http://dompascual.postlets.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/dompascualesq
Facebook Profiles: Dom Pascual; Manhattan Broker

** All information contained herein does not constitute any warranties, offer or commitment or obligation of any sort and/or kind whatsoever and is subject to change, error, omission and/or withdrawal without prior notice. **
Web Reference: http://cityamicus.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 23, 2012
Hi, Mark, I met you at your apartment a few weeks ago! Nice to "meet" you again here :)

And I know you're committed to selling without a broker, and that your wife is a mortgage broker, and I respect this. I was a FSBO long before I got my real estate license, and I loved it so much, I ended up doing this for a living.

Given your commitment to remaining unrepresented, your best bet is: 1. Lower the price as low as you can go, and 2. Advertise like crazy. Everywhere, a lot!

Most FSBOs have trouble because they won't spend what they need to spend on advertising. As brokers (agents), we get big discounts on ads.

If a broker has a buyer, and if the broker trusts you enough, they will bring that buyer to you. At that time they will discuss the matter of fees.

I hope you find a terrific buyer ~

Karla Harby
Lic RE Salesperson
Rutenberg Realty
Manhattan NY
212 688 1000 x146
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 19, 2012
I totally agree with Mitchel - not only a good broker can negotiate on your behalf, you can sell your house for a much better price and end up with more money with a good broker than on your own.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 14, 2012
Hello Mark. You've received great answers below. After checking your profile, I don''t believe you're a licensed real estate agent or broker, just a private person looking to do a FSBO.

I suggest you re-read Mitchell Hall's comments below as they are truly pertinent to your situation.I have found most FSBO's can't or don't want to market their property and deal with everyone who may call. There are many more reasons as well. With that said, I agree you should strongly consider using a broker to help sell and especially market the property. They will screen serious buyers from lookers take care of all aspects of the sale and in general, make your life a lot easier. Good luck with whatever you decide.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 13, 2012
Hello Mark, If you are a professional in real estate, you should know that if an apartment is well priced, the fact that you as a FSBO are willing to pay the co-broker 4%, they will be encouraged to bring or send their buyers. Most agents are leery of FSBO's as they are unsure that their status will be honored. If you make that clear, I think you will have more potential buyers. Can you pay a "shower"? It is sometimes good to get an owner out of the apartment for a showing. Good luck, but if you decide to hire a pro, please consult me. I am a salesperson with Corcoran and know and live in the area.
Having read the other answers, they reinforce the fact that your selling as a FSBO is a disadvantage when firms have marketing resources, etc.
K. Hering 646 932 2027
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 12, 2012
Hehe yes, the previous blogger was right ---the owner of FSBO did use a broker to sell his own property. He used our firm BOND NEW YORK. I do think that answers the question on the dot :)

Giving a broker an exclusive will sell the apartment quicker than any other way. Lowering the price will not reach everyone in your targeted market. Yes there will be a few people who will drop by from the New York Times and Craigslist, however those buyers know that you don't have a broker therefore will still haggle with you regardless of how much you had lowered the price because they know you are "saving".

There are at least 10,000 active licensed real estate salespersons and brokers in New York. Having that much agents working to sell your property to get a commission is going to be quite a work force.

We have a multiple listing service OLR that we all use as reference for property searches for our buyers. Legally all members of the Real Estate Board of New York must list their acquired exclusive there. We cant just keep it to ourselves (in the hopes of not having to split it with another agent :). When we have an exclusive, we are obligated to disclose the property in OLR or we will have ramifications with the RE Board of NY. Now, if a free agent comes across your ad, and comes to see your property and is ofcourse looking to get commission out of it, they will most likely than not, keep the sale info to themselves and make sure none of their colleagues find out about it so that they don't have any competition.

It's best to have your property advertised to all 10,000 agents (and their clients and contacts!) and having everyone working together to sell your property and forcibly splitting the commission. You will get more offers on your property and sell a lot quickly. I believe that should be one way of looking at it.

Princess Abigail C. Bacani, SVP
Senior Vice President
1500 2nd Avenue,
New York, NY 10075

Cell: +1.646.239.6300
Agent Profile:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 11, 2012
One thing you have to keep in mind is that typically when you wanna do a FSBO it takes longer to sell. Calculate how much you have to pay over the next 6 months for the property vs. paying an agressive realtor to sell it in a shorter time therefore making that 4% not an issue.

Hope that helped.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 11, 2012
Hi Mark,

This is a great question! I know that it's everybody's wish to save money, get the best price for their apartment or both. Since 91 percent of all Manhattan sales occur with a at least one broker, you best bet is to hire a professional broker with the budget, data and marketing expertise to sell your home. But don't take my word for it!

The millionaire founder of a website dedicated to FBSO actually hired a pro to sell his Manhattan apartment — my company, actually — which the Wall Street Journal reported (and I blogged about):

"After getting professional help, the sale closed last week for $150,000 above the original asking price. That means Sambrotto cleared $21,000 more in profit, even after paying the full 6 percent broker’s fee."


Please feel free to call, e-mail or text me for any help you might need in selling your apartment and getting the best price possible. We are actually even located in Midtown, if you prefer to stop by, at Broadway and 57th.

Best regards,
Bruno J. Navarro
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
BOND New York Properties, LLC
1776 Broadway, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10019
212.804.8948 mobile
270.675.9195 fax
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 11, 2012
Its better to hire a licensed real estate professional to do the job. Commission should be the least of your concerns, your chances of selling your coop on your own are slim to nil in this complex, convoluted NY market.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 11, 2012
Dear Mark,
A broker does more for you than save you money. Large companies such as The Corcoran Group spend millions of dollars each year on advertising apartments. There is no way you can compete. Plus, more buyers use real estate agents than not. So the answer to your question is you definitely should pay a Broker 4% than to reduce the price. It is a "buyer's market" and the buyer is usually not paying full asking price regardless as to what a great deal it is.
Let me know if you would like for me to evaluate your apartment. I am familiar with the building and it is a great location!
Sincerely yours,
Katherine McFarland
The Corcoran Group
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 11, 2012
Depending on your goals, using a broker definitely has its perks; just as selling on your own does. You need to see what fits in your lifestyle and time frame.

Here is a great article which breaks down the pros and cons of selling on your own versus using a Manhattan real estate broker.

Thinking of Selling Your Manhattan Property For Sale By Owner?

If you need an expert evaluation of your Manhattan apartment, pleae feel free to reach out to me at your convenience.

Jennifer Chiongbian
SVP/ Associate Broker
Rutenberg Reatly NYC
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 11, 2012
Hi Mark,

Definitely go with the option that allows you to work with a professional that knows what he is doing. When you work with a qualified real estate agent, he will be able to get you the best results in terms of a higher price through effective marketing and advertising


Paul Macapagal
Town Residential
917 612 2746
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 11, 2012
Go for the 4% commission. Should a buyer come without a broker, you still have that wiggle room from the lowball offer you'd likely yield from a direct buyer.
Congrats on the little addition to the family BTW! ;-)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 11, 2012
If you going to reduce price 4% Why not hire real estate professional to do it all. You will receive maximum exposure when using a agent.
Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 19, 2015
According to studies conducted by the Realtors Association, 90% of FSBO end up listing with a broker after a few weeks, and the rest are getting about 10-15% less for their properties, than if it was sold by a skilled professional. Brokers are trained in marketing and negotiations, they have a higher marketing budget than FSBO are usually willing to spend and, most importantly they are not emotionally attached to the home and can better negotiate on owner's behalf.

May be you will be lucky and could sell on your own. See what traffic you can generate as FSBO because you need massive marketing to get competitive bids and the highest price possible.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 17, 2015
I know this building very well. There is a friend of mine selling his personal space in that building (around same square footage at that) & I have helped with his Open House. In my experience, it is best to let the agent incur the expenses of marketing your property, making sure the potential buyer is a "qualified buyer", and pay an agreed commission. There are multiple variables you can set up in any Listing Agreement and I would be happy to discuss some options with you, if you would like.
Please feel free to contact me @ 917.215.5300 or btmoore1972@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 29, 2013
Hi Mark, just wanted to check, which way you have decided to go and how things worked out for you?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 19, 2013
the key to selling is pricing it right as a fsbo you run the risk of adding the sentimental value you have in the unit and adding it to the price as a real estate proffessional it is our difficult job to look beyond all that and tell you what the unit is worth in the current market and to market your unit to get you the highest exposure .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 22, 2012
If no one knows your house is for sale, price does not matter. you would be better suited to hire 1 agent who is well experienced in your area who can place your home in MLS and get you the exposure you need,.
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 19, 2012
Dear Mark

I’m Regis Roumila AND I DO HAVE A QUALIFIED BUYER for this building

I would love to see you apt for sale ,

Please let me know when it's a good time

I'm looking forward hearing from you,

Best Regards,

Régis Roumila | Senior Vice President & Managing Director

Nest Seekers I N T E R N A T I O N A L
Manhattan • LIC • Brooklyn • Miami • Hamptons • International
415 Madison Avenue - New York, NY 10017

C: 646-325-7173 D: 646-924-4389 F: 212-252-9347

Click here for client testimonials
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 12, 2012
Currenlty there are 5 one bedroom apartments in your building for sale. All are listed with brokers so you would be competiting with the massive promotions and advertsing brokers do for selling apartments.

Whether you lower your price or not, I strongly believe in this market and with 5 other apartments on the market in your buidling you will still have a challenge to sell your apartment and you need both, a competitive price and a broker.

The problem is that there are enough one bedrooms listed with brokers so that a buyers broker can take their customers to see. We are protected by the exclusive agreement that was signed by the seller and even though you will probably pay out the fee to the broker there is not protection offered to the broker community. So unless we have shown all the one bedrooms we can possibly see, the brokers will get to your apartment last.

I am being as honest as possible, because the best way is to go with a broker. If you would like to meet with a broker to show you what they can do instead of only listing it with the NY TImes. I am certain many brokers including myself would be happy to meet with you. Sping is the best time to list, so do not let this market pass you by. Georgia Kaporis - 917-952-2522.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 12, 2012
I have received all of your email blasts and believe you will have more success continuing to entice brokers with 4%. Directs are going to negotiate anyway so keep that option open....don't give up that percentage now. You are putting forth a lot of effort and doing a pretty good job....I broker can provide you with greater reach/more extensive marketing. That said, I think you are doing a pretty good job at raising awareness. I know your name and property!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 11, 2012
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