A Seller's Guide to prepare your NYC home for a Fall listing

Summer is passing us by.  The NYC market has been a bit quieter than the rush of spring’s bidding wars, and you’re deciding whether to list your home in the coming fall season.  When is the best time to list and what should you do to prepare yourself?


Do repair those items you’ve been putting off

Has that light fixture been broken for the past three months?  Are those few tiles still missing from the bathroom wall?  Has the crack in the ceiling gotten just a bit longer since you last looked up?  No more putting off those fixes.  You want your home to be in the best condition possible when those buyers start browsing. End the procrastination and spruce it up!

Do clean…..and keep it clean

Windex, Lysol, Murphy’s Oil, bleach, rubber gloves, a mop and a stack full of rags.  These items should be your best friends for the next few weeks.  Wash down your walls, dust off the shelves, mop the floors, clean that fridge, and make your home spotless.  Even more important, get yourself in a routine to keep your home in this condition.  A clean, clutter-free space impresses buyers.

Do get your paperwork in order

Selling an apartment in NYC means the transferring of many documents.  Locate your offering plan and keep it handy.  If you aren’t able to find it, call your managing agent and request a copy along with the most recent amendments and the most recent two years of financials for your building.  Put these somewhere safe as you’ll need them once you have accepted an offer on your home.  Gather up your warranties for appliances and if you want to go that extra mile, make a list of great neighborhood contacts and go-to spots for your prospective buyers.

Do choose when to list your home

Is summer the best time to list?  Scan the current inventory in your neighborhood.  If you have a really unique property (perhaps with great summer features like amazing outdoor space or a roof top pool), consider listing as soon as possible.  If your competition is high and you still have a bit of work to do in sprucing up your apartment, wait until after Labor Day.  Buyers generally return to the market then, and October is usually the high point in the fall.


Do not forget to “de-clutter”

Really give yourself time to take on a ‘de-cluttering’ project.  A great place to start is the closets.  If you haven’t worn or used it since 2010, it’s time to make a donation.  Get rid of things you do not need.  Work hard to reveal more floor area in your apartment and to ‘de-personalize’ the space.  You want to give those buyers the opportunity to envision themselves living there.  Let them see the property, not your personal items.  If it helps, think of it this way:  Take advantage now and, you’ll have even less packing to do when it comes time to move.

Do not wait until the last minute to interview real estate agents

Be ahead of the game and set up appointments with various real estate candidates well before listing your home.  Be on point with what you plan to ask during the interview.  Here are a few suggested questions:  What is the current state of the market as you see it?  How does your firm differ from the rest?  How and to whom will you market my property?  How will you price my home?   Be sure to reach out to friends and family for referral suggestions.

Do not start the process without making a contact list

Get all of your ducks in a row right from the start.  Make a spreadsheet with the names, emails and phone numbers of all contacts associated with your upcoming sale.  Choose your attorney (don’t wait until you have a deal!), keep your managing agent’s information accessible and put your real estate agent’s phone number on speed dial.  You might want to include your accountant in the mix for those financial questions that arise.

Do not overprice your apartment

Your real estate agent will be the expert in the pricing arena, but you can (and should) certainly educate yourself prior to listing your home.  Take a look at various websites like Streeteasy.com, The New York Times, and Property Shark.  Are there apartments currently listed in your building?  What is the asking price of your closest competition?  Also, search out the most recent sales within a 10 block radius along with the list prices of units that have recently gone to contract.  Assess the figures and see where your property falls.  Overpricing your apartment could mean a very long road ahead.

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Preparing practically can be the best way to prepare emotionally.  Put your focus on completing these tasks with ample time.  You will save yourself less stress. You will be able to enjoy the process that much more, and you will most definitely succeed in attracting that buyer.

More expert advice about Selling Real Estate

Photo Credits: Autumn in Central Park & New York © Touch - Fotolia.com; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Brad MalowNYC Real Estate Specialist

Brad Malow, an agent with Rutenberg Realty, is the founder of BuyingNYC.com, a website that helps buyers and sellers navigate the complexities of New York City’s real estate market. His goals have always been focused on educating consumers and p...

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