Sell Apartment Online – A Beginner’s Guide for NYC

Is it possible to sell an apartment online with all of today’s tools and technology? Can you do so without human interaction? Sell Apartment Online is Hauseit’s Beginner’s Guide to Selling an Apartment Online in NYC written by our most experienced real estate broker partners.

Table of Contents:

Can You Sell an Apartment Online Without Personal Interaction?

No. It’s for the most part impossible to sell apartments online as of today with zero personal interaction. That’s because the vast majority of home buyers will want to see what they are buying in person before committing to such a large purchase.

Sure, there will be the rare and very occasional all cash foreign buyer who will make an offer, and perhaps even close on the property without ever seeing it in person.

But even then, the foreign buyer will rely on a locally based buyer’s agent who will see it and perhaps film the apartment on the buyer’s behalf.

No. Because the vast majority of home buyers will want to see what they are buying in person before committing to such a large purchase.Is it possible to sell your apartment online in NYC without a traditional real estate broker? Sell Apartment Online - A Beginner's Guide for New Yorkers.

Note: Studies have shown that online shoppers will want to speak with someone, either over the phone or in person, once a purchase exceeds roughly $200. You might be able to get away with just an online FAQ for a product for something cheaper, but you certainly can’t get away with zero personal interaction for a purchase as large as an apartment in NYC.

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Is It Possible to Market Your Apartment for Sale Online?

Yes. In fact, most home sale marketing these days is done entirely online. Properties are listed in the local MLS which is an entirely online shared listings database used exclusively by real estate agents. Properties are also syndicated to dozens or even hundreds of real estate websites such as the New York Times,, Trulia and StreetEasy.

A recent study showed that over 98% of home buyers start their search online. What about the 2% that didn’t start their search online?

Well, these are likely buyers who already have a buyer’s agent lined up and went directly to their buyer’s agent to ask for listing ideas.

And remember, the buyer’s agent will end up online anyway when searching for listings for their client.

The only buyers and sellers who manage to avoid the internet are those who do a transaction off market, typically between neighbors.

Even then, both parties will typically reference popular real estate websites to look for comparable sales and listings to make sure they’re not completely off on price. Some may even order an appraisal in which case the appraiser will definitely be conducting research online.

Pro Tip: In fact, even the personal outreach that is done by some listing agents to other agents is done online, either through newsletters and online mailings lists or through direct email outreach. The latter is the modern equivalent of calling up brokers with similar listings to inform them of your new listing.

Should You Sell Your Apartment Online FSBO?

There are two different types of For Sale By Owner, or FSBO strategies. The traditional, old school FSBO technique involves listing your home by owner on various websites such as Craigslist, Zillow and other classified sites.

This is the modern equivalent of putting a yard sign outside your house and telling the world, or at least your next door neighbors, that your home is for sale.

We do not recommend this technique as your home will effectively be off market.

Why? Because it won’t be listed in your local MLS broker database (REBNY RLS for NYC).

That’s a critical mistake because over 90% of buyers end up working with a buyer’s agent, and by not offering commission to buyers’ agents in the MLS, you end up neglecting the vast majority of the buyer universe.

Furthermore, the only brokers who end up contacting you will be agents without actual buyers who only want to solicit you as their next sell side client.

They’ll explain the above and how you’re shooting yourself in the foot by trying to sell your home while without adequate marketing exposure.

The other sell apartment online FSBO technique is the Agent Assisted FSBO listing. Originally pioneered by the team at Hauseit, an Agent Assisted FSBO enables sellers to list with a traditional broker and receive full listing exposure for zero percent commission.

Because the listing broker isn’t paid any commission besides a small, one-time flat fee, the owner still manages the listing and the listing broker is only responsible for listing the property and passing on inquiries to the owner.

Furthermore, Agent Assisted FSBO sellers are paired with traditional broker partners, meaning that their flat fee listings are blended in with normal, full commission listings. And because buyers’ agents can only see the commission offered to them in the MLS, it becomes very difficult to tell whether a listing is full commission or not.

As a result, Agent Assisted FSBO sellers are able to avoid much of the harassment and solicitation that comes with a traditional FSBO listing.

Pro Tip: Check out our handy NYC Seller Closing Costs Calculator to see how much you can save when you eliminate broker commissions altogether. You’ll be surprised to learn just how much broker commissions dwarf all other closing costs!

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How Does Selling an Apartment Online Work?

After you submit your listing details and e-sign a flat fee MLS listing agreement, your listing broker will upload your listing to the MLS. Thereafter, the MLS will automatically push out copies of your listing to other consumer facing real estate websites such as and

The MLS may even push your listing to other listing syndication providers such as ListHub, who in turn will push out your listing to hundreds of different websites.

The actual process will differ depending on which MLS your listing is entered into. For example, NYC does not have a MLS technically, but rather brokers in New York City rely on a system called the REBNY RLS. The RLS does not have a direct interface or consumer facing website unlike most MLS systems. So brokers must have their own software or utilize third party software to access RLS data.

As a result, in NYC the syndication process can vary depending on the firm. Some brokerages will push out listings directly to third party websites from their software, and some will rely on third party software to do so for them. The REBNY RLS also syndicates listings directly to many websites, as well as to ListHub which is a syndication portal itself.

Pro Tip: Read our guide on how to negotiate as a seller in NYC before you begin! Then, check out our detailed tips on how to counter offer real estate deals in NYC so you’re prepared for the competition.

A Full Service Listing for 1%

Sell your home with a traditional full service listing for just one percent commission.

Disclosure: Hauseit® and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. No representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind is made regarding the completeness or accuracy of information provided.

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