Q&A: Selling My Co-op By Myself Without a Real Estate Agent

Q. Buying a co-op vs. a condo probably wasn't the best choice given how dictatorial my board is. What is your suggestion for trying to sell my co-op without a traditional real estate agent?

                                     —Spurned Owner

A. “Although there is not much backstory in the question, a rarity in New York real estate queries,” says Andrew B. Bittens, a partner at the New York City-based law firm Kucker & Bruh, LLP, “the questioner obviously does not have a stellar relationship with their co-op board. If this is correct, my suggestion for trying to sell a co-op without a ‘traditional real estate agent’ would be simple: don’t do it. While many owners are reluctant to pay a licensed real estate broker a percentage—often up to 6% of the sale proceeds on their property—in many cases using a real estate broker makes sense, at least in terms of having the transaction go as smoothly as possible. Choosing a broker familiar with your building and neighborhood will lead to setting a fair market asking price and hopefully a quicker sale at the highest price. A poorly-priced unit that lingers on the market for months will not endear the owner to the board or fellow shareholders for that matter. Additionally, most owners don’t have the time, inclination or expertise to properly advertise and stage an apartment and show it to prospective purchasers. Most important in this case, a licensed real estate broker will also act as an intermediary, not only for offers and counteroffers between buyer and seller, but in navigating the vagaries of the board’s requirements for purchasers including the preparation and submission of the purchaser’s application package to your board. If the owner does not have a strong relationship with their ‘dictatorial’ board, it would be in the owner’s interest to remove personalities from the equation and have a licensed real estate professional prepare a flawless application on behalf of a suitable prospective purchaser.”

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