At the end of April, the average “days on market” for downtown Manhattan properties was 110 days. That’s the highest it’s been since early 2011.
If you know anything about NYC residential real estate, you know the more days your property spends on the market, the less likely you are to sell it at your ideal price.
If you’ve been thinking about selling your home in NYC, here are three steps to minimize your apartment’s time spent on the market with the ultimate goal being to increase your odds of getting top dollar for your property!
1. Get Your Apartment Show (and Photo) Ready
The goal here is to keep the character and “homey” feel while not allowing too much personality to come through that would be a distraction. A clean, orderly, and well-furnished property will photograph well, thus driving plenty of traffic to open houses.
Now, we realize no one wants to move everything they own into storage… and that’s rarely a necessity. However, things like large amounts of family photos or very personalized art should be tucked away so that potential buyers can envision how they would make the space their own.
A rule of thumb is: If someone looking at the apartment is likely to leave talking about a personal belonging, it shouldn’t be on display. We want people leaving and talking about the fabulous space and not necessarily your personal decor.
2. Pricing Strategy
As brokers, we talk about this one A LOT. Most will say there are three pricing strategies, and in some markets, that’s fine. However, in today’s market, we say there are two top choices:
- Pricing at market: If you have a very unique property, one that truly stands out, we can price it right at where truly comparative properties have sold (not always an easy task, but that’s for another day).
- Pricing slightly below market: If competition for your kind of listing is stiff, we have to explore the “touch-below-market” pricing. The strategy here is bringing the property to the market about 2% below what the comps show. This approach is often a bit uncomfortable in tough markets because of the fear that no matter where a property lists, it will always sell below ask. This is simply not true. When REAL urgency and demand are created, people fall in love and get competitive. Take this Chelsea apartment for instance, which sold for above the asking price.
The key takeaway here is this: You want to be in your accepted offer stage within 60 days or less (90 days on luxury price points), or your listing starts to be viewed as “stale”. That’s when the lowball offers commence. As the seller, you never want to be chasing the market!
3. Thorough Questionnaires (and Beyond)
As mentioned above, your most motivated buyers come in when your property is newly listed. Often times, they’ve been searching for a while and they’re very much in the mindset of finding a new home.
The LAST thing you want to do is have the right pricing, great photos and packed open houses, but then leave your potential buyers with a bunch of unknowns. Some potential questions to keep in mind are as follows:
- What are the co-op’s rules for alterations?
- Does this building allow live work?
- Are there any lot line windows?
Time kills deals, so it’s critical in this market, where there is heavy competition on the seller’s side, that your broker provides everything a buyer might want to know up front to get you to that signed contract as quickly as possible.
Being in the market right now as a seller isn’t for everybody, and that’s ok. However, if you find yourself in a position that you are seriously considering selling your NYC apartment, every detail matters.