Would You Rather?

What New Yorkers think about buying straight from the owner

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The internet has blown the real estate world wide open with apps and websites directly reaching out to those looking for their next home. But for FSBO week we're focusing on the other side of the transaction: the seller. We asked six New Yorkers whether they'd prefer that their seller had a broker or that they go the FSBO route.

  • Keep emotions at bay  I would absolutely want to buy from someone who's working with a broker. I’ve found that dealing directly with owners means dealing with with their “personality” (okay, weirdness). If there is no financial drawback for me, I’d prefer not to be subjected to the emotions of the seller. It’s an emotional process for all parties. —Audrey, Upper West Side
  • A babysitter would be nice I’d want the seller to have a broker. If I’m buying, I could work without a broker and do searches, etc. myself. But I think it would be good to have at least one professional present to babysit and move the process along! I’m sure there are some things we’ll need a professional’s opinion and experience on. And I think that need will more likely be found on the selling side. I can find and attend open houses on my own, but the seller needs to market the place and involve the building management and deal with all those financials to qualify a buyer! —Theresa, Astoria
  • I want to feel more open at an open house The seller should have a broker. I know they’ll pay for it, but they would be getting a significant service in return. A seller’s broker can market the apartment properly and make sure to find the right buyer. And I’d feel totally weird going to an open house with the owner there. Not that I snoop at open houses, but I want to be able to scrutinize the place and criticize it. Like, if the renovation is cheap, I want to be able to say so. If there are updates that I’d want to address and want to factor into the price, I’d want to discuss that with an objective party, not the people who have been living there for the past some odd years. I don’t need the selling side to take negotiations and critiques personally. —Bryce, Washington Heights
  • The DIY spirit  I’m a control freak and would not want to buy with a broker. So, I couldn’t fault a seller for wanting to take control of their own sale and going the FSBO route. I know how hard it is to let go in a process you really care about. If I were selling I would also want to do it myself and not have to wait for updates or rely on somebody else’s word when it comes to pricing or whatever. As a control freak, I like to do the research myself and take matters into my own hands. I like to be self-reliant. I’m all about DIY! —Rene, Upper West Side
  • Beware  of blind love Even though I think it’s actually a good idea for the buyer to find their own apartment, I don’t think it’s a good idea for the seller to sell their own apartment. I know from open houses that it can get a little crazy, with questions coming from all corners and people wanting to talk about certain aspects of the apartment that the sellers themselves might find offensive. Once, I thought the apartment smelled of mold and asked the broker about it right away. If the sellers had been there, I feel like I would have to consider their feeling and be tactful. I think that owners who love their place will also want to price their apartments high. They can’t see what an objective party,  like a buyer or a broker, can plainly see. Brokers will have a better feel for the market, too, that goes beyond research you can find on the internet. —Ellie, Hamilton Heights
  • Go pro You don’t ever want to sell your apartment yourself. It’s too much work! Negotiate the commission if you have to, but don’t go through the selling process alone. It’s hard work, orchestrating a sale. I'd have to market your apartment properly. (If you think Craigslist is enough, you’re mistaken.) I'd have to give up weekends for open houses,  follow up with open house attendees, negotiate pricing, navigate the approval process, coordinate appraisals or inspections. Why would I want to do that myself? —Micki, Harlem

Verdict: Brokers win in a landslide! 5: 1


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