How to Sell Your NYC Apartment in Today’s Buyer’s Market

It’s a buyer’s market. Should you sell?

Pretty much everyone is in agreement that today’s market is more favorable for buyers. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t sell now, but it does mean that you should be mindful and realistic about how much you will sell for. In this post, we will share with you our thoughts on how to sell your NYC apartment in today’s buyer’s market.

Often, sellers have no choice but to sell. Perhaps they are living in a 1 bedroom co-op and just had a baby and need a bigger space and the building doesn’t allow rentals. Maybe they need to move to California and need the equity from their NYC home to buy in California. Perhaps the owners of the property are beneficiaries of an estate. Maybe they are losing money renting their place each month, and they don’t want the headache anymore.

Whatever the reason to sell, there may be a positive spin to it. For example, if you’re trading up for a bigger apartment, then, presumably, you’ll be getting that bigger/more expensive apartment for a similar discount you are selling yours for.

At the end of the day, if you choose to sell, you must be realistic about the price. Otherwise, you are wasting everyone’s time and energy, including your own. I remember selling our 1 bedroom apartment when our son was a baby in 2013. Thank goodness we got multiple offers after our first open house. The thought of keeping our place clean and baby free for weeks or months makes me want to cry (even now, 7 years later!).

How to price your NYC apartment

Make sure whoever sells your place does a thorough market analysis, not just of recently closed transactions, but also of comparables on the market today. If you are hiring a real estate agent to sell your home, ask them to show you back up to support the price they tell you that you will get. You should feel confident that the price you list at is the appropriate price in today’s market. In order to feel confident, you need to understand how the agent arrived at their price. Any agent you can’t back up their pricing with a meaningful analysis isn’t worth hiring. At most jobs, people are expected to do research and show how they reached their conclusion. A simple, “trust me, I’ve been doing this for years” should never suffice.

In today’s market, we think it’s important to focus a lot more on what is currently listed, including those units in contract, as well as apartments that closed in the last few months. If you can find out what a comparable unit is in contract for, even better. If there’s nothing comparable available now or very recently, you should look to closed sales that are not as recent, but you should apply an appropriate discount to those sales to account for the change in the market.

If your goal is to sell, you want as many people to see your apartment as possible. In order to do this, you must price it reasonably. If you price it too high, people won’t even consider it in today’s market. If you price at or below the market average (taking into account all variables for floor differential, condition of apartment, quality of renovation, etc.), more people will see your apartment. The more people who step foot in your door, the more likely you are to sell. If something is priced low, even in today’s market, it is likely you will see a bidding war with the apartment selling above the asking price.

You should also keep in mind the pricing search thresholds that most websites use. Since most people are finding listings through the internet (even those who have brokers searching for them), you should price a property just below the next threshold, so more people will see it. For example, on streeteasy, if you price your home for $1,999,000, everyone who is searching with a $2,000,000 maximum will see your listing. If you price your home at $2,010,000, you will only capture people searching with a $2,250,000 maximum.

If you want your home to sell fast…

You are best pricing it below market. Anything that is not priced properly in today’s market, lingers and lingers. We have had a few sellers recently, who have been unwilling to accept the market realities. Despite our advice and analysis, they still insisted on pricing high and testing the market. Sometimes, our sellers have accepted that their property is not worth what it was 2 or 3 years ago. Other times, our sellers refuse to accept it, their listing goes stale, and it becomes very challenging to sell.

Most people buy their homes because they love them and think they are great, so it’s hard to explain to a seller that their home isn’t worth as much as they think it is. As an agent, you aren’t doing your job if you don’t at least try.

Listen to feedback

If people are coming to your home but you aren’t getting offers, make sure your agent is reaching out to the buyers and their agents for feedback. If you are hearing that you are priced too high, the chances are that you are. If people aren’t coming at all, the chances are you are priced higher than you should be.

How to sell your NYC apartment

In addition to pricing your home properly, we offer a few tips to make the sales process faster and yield the best possible price.

  1. Before you list, de-clutter. This will maximize the perceived space in your home.
  2. Consider painting your home a light, neutral color that will appeal to the masses before you put your home on the market.
  3. Make sure you use professional photos and an accurate floorplan. This is one of the most important things you can do for your listing.
  4. Address all repairs that are likely to arise on a home inspection prior to listing. Don’t give buyers a reason to back out.
  5. Hire a real estate broker who you like and trust, and who you believe will represent your interests. Read our blog post about how to choose the right real estate agent for you.
  6. Let your agent show your apartment whenever there is a request, including last minute ones. If you can’t get people in the door, they won’t be making offers.
  7. Your agent should be communicating with interested buy-side clients/agents why they priced the unit where they did, how they determined value, and what makes the property unique and worth its price tag.

Reach out to us for additional tips on how to sell your home quickly for the best possible price.

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Digs Realty is a residential real estate brokerage in NYC that provides full service at a discount. The Digs Mission: Saving you money without compromising service. We give our home buyers up to 67% of our commission and charge our sellers up to 4% less than traditional brokerages.

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