Tips for Selling Your Home For Sale By Owner in Queens

Selling your home For Sale By Owner in Queens is much easier than selling your home For Sale By Owner (“FSBO”) anywhere else in New York City. Therefore, it’s less important for you to list your home in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to gain exposure to buyer agents compared to Manhattan where 75% or more of home buyers are represented.

The fact that fewer buyers are ‘represented’ in Queens means that you’re more likely to find a direct buyer and save the full 6% in broker fees compared to FSBO sellers in Manhattan. Because most buyers in Manhattan and Brooklyn are represented, the more likely outcome for FSBO sellers is to find a represented buyer and pay a commission to a buyer’s agent.

Another reason why selling your home FSBO in Queens is easier is because of the low-quality nature of the real estate agents who are marketing the listings yours will be competing against. If you’re browsing properties in Queens, you’ll inevitably come across listings with laughable, amateur photos, one sentence listing descriptions and inaccuracies on key listing information such as the monthly taxes or co-op maintenance figures.

It’s not uncommon to see photos which are upside down or a zoomed-in photo of a toilet bowl, with the seat up!

The laughable level of quality amongst Queens listing agents means that you can easily make your FSBO listing stand out simply by taking professional photos and doing some virtual staging.

Combining a Queens Flat Fee MLS Listing Service with professional photos will give your listing comprehensive exposure to represented and unrepresented buyers, maximizing your chances of a successful, reduced-commission sale in Queens.

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Should I Sell with a Local Queens Realtor?

Proceed at your own risk when it comes to hiring a local Queens realtor. That’s because Queens listing agents, on average, do not possess the professionalism and overall competence which can be found with the majority of brokers in and around Manhattan.

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and hiring a local agent in Queens, here are the red flags you should look out for:

Amateur Listing Photos

Review the agent’s other exclusive sale listings and look out for photos which are low-resolution, grainy, upside down or possibly have horrible exposure and/or poor lighting. If your prospective listing agent is using downright scary and depressing photos to market other listings, you must assume that your listing will be treated in the same way.

Lazy Listing Descriptions

Queens listing agents are notorious for writing lazy, one or two sentence listing descriptions. Many of them will even have spelling errors or acronyms / abbreviations that nobody has ever heard of.

How can you expect your listing agent to proactively follow-up with interested buyers and be thorough if they can’t be bothered to spend more than 5 minutes writing a description of your home? Wouldn’t you expect your agent be a little bit more thoughtful and invested if you’re about to pay them 5% to 6% in commission?

Refusing to Co-Broke

Real estate agents in Queens are notorious for refusing to co-broke, or share commission with buyers’ agents. This can be especially harmful for sellers since the majority of buyers are represented by brokers in Queens.

“Sorry, I am not co-broking this listing.”
“I don’t co-broke.”
“The seller is only paying me 2% percent.”

The above are examples of what many Queens Realtors will say to buyers’ agents who ask about their exclusive sale listings. Unfortunately, many sellers in Queens who hire these sorts of agents are unaware of the importance of co-broking. Some Queens sellers agree pay 6% to these Queens Realtors under the assumption that the commission will be split with a buyer’s agent, only to realize that the listing agent is refusing to split the commission and steering away represented buyers!

The reason why most sellers in Queens agree to pay 6% in the first place is because their listing agents convinced them that they needed to offer 3% to buyers’ agents to be competitive with other listings, and the listing broker needs to make the same amount representing the seller. Ironically, these Queens Realtors have convinced sellers to pay 6% in order to work with buyers’ agents, yet the first thing these unethical agents do is refuse to co-broke in the hopes of finding a direct buyer and collecting all 6% for themselves.

Some shady Queens listing agents may only list a commission to buyer’s agents of 1% in the MLS in an attempt to pocket the other 5% personally, even if the seller thinks that half of the commission is supposedly being offered to a buyer’s agent. Offering such a low commission to buyer’s brokers is akin to offering nothing at all, meaning that some sellers will experience subdued listing traffic even though they think they’re supposedly offering commission to buyer brokers.

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Are There More Unrepresented Buyers in Queens?

Yes. Ironically because of the widely known refusal of many Queens Realtors to co-broke their listings with buyer brokers, home buyers are more likely to be unrepresented in Queens compared to Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn closer to the city center.

Furthermore, StreetEasy is less popular in many areas of Queens so buyers will have an easier time contacting the listing agent directly on other popular real estate search websites where there is less agent advertising.

You may be surprised to learn that selling your home For Sale By Owner in Queens is much easier than selling FSBO elsewhere in NYC or selling with a Realtor!

StreetEasy and Trulia are both owned by Zillow, and all three websites employ a “Premier Agent” advertising program where home buyers are directed to an agent who has paid to advertise on the website.

While it is still possible to contact the listing agent directly, StreetEasy very recently has made it much harder to do so.  The easiest and most obvious way to request more information on a listing leads you to a random agent who has paid to advertise on a listing instead of connecting you with the exclusive listing agent.

As a result, you are much more likely to sell your home to a direct buyer and save all 6% in broker fees in Queens if you sell your home through a reputable Flat Fee MLS Listing service.

Should I Sell for Sale by Owner in Queens?

Don’t rush out and list your home For Sale By Owner in Queens on the first real estate search website you come across. You will face the same issues selling your home FSBO in Queens as in the rest of NYC where the majority of buyers are represented by agents.

Just because there are more direct buyers in Queens vs. Manhattan does not mean you can avoid buyers’ agents altogether.

Listing your home online on one or two websites won’t give you exposure to the majority of buyers who are represented, as these buyer brokers search for listings in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

Think about it, why would a buyer’s agent risk sending your FSBO listing to his or her client?  That buyer client is worth 3% in commission on any other listing, so why would any sane agent risk that kind of payday?

Even if you were to sign a FSBO commission agreement before the showing, the buyer’s agent will still be risk averse and unhappy about dealing with you.

At any point, the Realtor’s buyer client can simply search for the address of the property and realize that it’s a For Sale By Owner property. Doesn’t that make it awkward for the buyer’s agent?  Suddenly, he’s viewed as an intrusive middleman with a specific amount being taken out to pay him. No buyer’s agent wants to volunteer for that kind of situation.

As a result, buyers’ agents by and large take the easier route and show their clients listings by other agents who are offering a co-broke in their local broker database (MLS or RLS).

Lastly, it’s widely known that the only individuals who actively seek out For Sale By Owner listings online are hungry agents looking for their next seller client and the occasional exploitative real estate investor looking for a bargain.

As a result, listing your home For Sale By Owner on a real estate search website will only result in hundreds of cold calls and solicitations from Realtors hoping to poach your listing.

The occasional direct buyer you’ll encounter will likely be a predatory buyer expecting a significant discount because you aren’t paying any broker fees, and this buyer will be hoping that you don’t understand the comps in your area.

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Should I Use a Queens Flat Fee MLS Listing?

Yes, but do your diligence on which broker database you will be listed on. Many for sale by owner websites claim to list you on your “local MLS” wherever you happen to be, whether that’s Idaho or New York City. This is egregious because the relevant inter-broker database will vary greatly from area to area.

For example, there is no relevant MLS for New York City as the city’s largest real estate broker association is called REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York). REBNY runs a private shared listings database called RLS and is not affiliated with any MLS or the National Association of Realtors.

Queens is uniquely covered by both the RLS (REBNY Listing Service) and the MLSLI (Long Island Multiple Listing Service).

You may be surprised to learn that selling your home For Sale By Owner in Queens is much easier than selling FSBO elsewhere in NYC or selling with a Realtor! Tips for selling your home For Sale By Owner in Queens and more.

Home sellers in Queens have to ability to list on both the MLSLI and the RLS at the same time for maximum coverage through Hauseit’s Agent Assisted FSBO Listing Service.

Just be careful as you can easily pay up to $1,000 on a flat fee MLS listing package only to find your home listed on a completely irrelevant database such as the NY State MLS or the New York State Alliance MLS, none of which are relevant for New York City.

It’s also important when selling your home For Sale By Owner in Queens to realize that many Flat Fee MLS Listing services are so ineffective that they might as well be scams. That’s because many of these For Sale By Owner websites and discount brokers make it so obvious what they are doing that every buyer’s agent automatically knows that it’s not a real listing.

Unbelievably, some For Sale By Owner websites even watermark every listing photo with their logo so that even the most obtuse Realtor will understand that it’s a fake listing. That’s why it’s critical to list through an Agent Assisted FSBO where your property listing will be blended in with the full commission listings of Hauseit’s brand name brokerage partners.

Your listing will appear exactly like a traditional listing, and buyers’ agents won’t be able to tell the difference between your listing and other full commission listings.

As we’ve learned through years of experience, the only way to get the same full exposure as a traditional broker is to list your home with a traditional broker. The fact that you’re receiving a discreet reduction in commission will be our little secret!

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How Should I Sell My Home FSBO in Long Island City?

Long Island City today is booming with new construction and lots of glitzy new developments offering home buyers “hotel-like” living. As a result, more and more real estate brokerage firms from Manhattan have entered the Long Island City market and now it is firmly in REBNY territory. As a result, it’s critically important that your property listing be included in the RLS to get full exposure to buyers’ agents.

Because Long Island City is covered by REBNY and because REBNY co-broking rules are strictly enforced, it’s extremely important when selling For Sale By Owner in Queens to make sure you’ve purchased a flat fee MLS listing package that will get your home in the RLS.

Selling For Sale By Owner in Long Island City will be no different than selling FSBO in Manhattan. Represented buyers will account for 75% or more of the total buyer base and you’ll need to learn how to deal with buyers’ agents. Fortunately, through Hauseit’s List Your Home Online listing option, you can post your property on the RLS plus dozens of popular websites such as StreetEasy, New York Times, Zillow, Trulia, and more all at once!

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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