The Right Place to Find Home Buyers
Peter Fiore knew he wanted to sell his home on his own for one simple reason: He knew he could find a buyer. Fiore says he didn’t even bother to list his Manhattan apartment on his local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). “That’s how confident I was,” says Fiore. “And I didn’t want to have my place used as leverage so someone else could get a better deal on another apartment in my building or something up the street.”
Fiore felt like he knew what would sell his residence better than anyone. “I lived there for 14 years,” says the 48-year-old marketing consultant. “I know what kind of people live in a place like mine. I know who they are.”
Fiore is quick to point out that what he knew about potential buyers had nothing to do with any social or cultural identifiers. In a nutshell, Fiore was looking for someone who was in love with New York, specifically the Upper East Side and the Carnegie Hill neighborhood where he lived.
“Look, living in the city, especially in Manhattan, is expensive. It’s crowded, it’s loud, it’s a pain, and I know it’s not for everyone,” says Fiore. “I wanted to filter out the people who had no real intention of buying my place. I know there are always people who like to go through the motions of looking at places like mine but have no intention of buying them. It’s like playing dress-up for them. I wanted to avoid all of that.”
Confident that he could get every penny of his asking price, which was in the ballpark of $1.5 million, Fiore made it clear up front that he wasn’t going to haggle over price. “When people would call or email, I told them it was like buying a Saturn back in the 1990s,” Fiore says. “They would give customers a list price, and they’d take it or leave it. That’s what I wanted.”
So how did Fiore go about finding potential buyers looking for homes for sale in New York City? Two ways: word of mouth with friends, as well as the occasional post on different Facebook groups that appealed to New York-based attorneys, academics and executives. “This wasn’t an inexpensive little starter home,” Fiore says. “Once you get past $1 million, you’re pretty much hanging out a sign that says ‘rich people only.’ I get that. I’m OK with that. That just makes me a realist, not a jerk. And as a realist, you have to know where to look for the people who’d take an interest in your home.”
Although he sold his place within five weeks, Fiore thinks he could have done better. “I could have sold it sooner, but I had to spend a week in Sarasota, Florida to help my parents get set up in their new condo.”
Fiore says he only heard from serious potential buyers and ended up getting more than he listed the property for, thanks to a bidding war between the eventual buyer and another owner in Fiore’s building, who wanted to purchase a second unit as an investment.
All in all, he says the decision to sell his home on his own was incredibly lucrative. He estimates he saved about $75,000 in commission costs, although that number could have been even higher considering the usual three to six percent commission real estate agents collect.
“I had real estate agents beating down my door,” Fiore says. “They’d get wind of my place, and they’d offer to sell it for two percent commission. When they’re low-balling their take, you know you have something worthy on your hands.”