As spring is New York City's high (real estate) season, NOW is the time for all you sellers out there to start planning. Follow the seven tips below, and prep yourself to be ready to list when the spring market begins. Take advantage of the buyer-overflowing open houses, multiple offer situations, and increased buyer competition that has been occurring in 2013.
1) Repair 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? Do not put 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!
2) Get rid of 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 2011, 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.
3) 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 the 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.
4) 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. Do NOT wait until you have an accepted offer to get these materials. 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.
5) Interview at least two real estate agents.
Choose a real estate agent to represent your property. Selling your own home is simply too emotional of a process to do on your own. Be ahead of the game and set up appointments with various candidates well before listing your property. Reach out to friends and family for referral suggestions. If you’re unsure of what to expect from the agent interview, take a look at “Choosing the Right Agent “ for helpful tips.
6) Make 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.
7) Price your apartment right.
Your real estate agent will be the expert in this regard, 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. Your real estate agent should present you with a comparative market analysis to streamline this process. Assess the figures and see where your property falls. Overpricing your apartment could mean a very long road ahead - don't do it!
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, and you will be able to enjoy the process that much more. Your next steps from here are to be sure that you present the best photos of your property (you only have ONE chance to make a first impression!), provide an accurate floor plan and create a stellar marketing strategy. Spring of 2013 is the time to list!