Tiffany Bauman, an Upper West Side real estate broker, provides some helpful tips for obtaining the highest sale price, best terms and a smooth transaction when selling your NYC apartment this Spring.
1) Price to Sell
The average absorption rate for the 4th quarter of 2016 was approximately 5 months, with larger apartments staying on the market much longer. This shows that sellers are not heeding their own agent’s “price to sell” advice, causing properties to linger on the market and eventually become stale. It is imperative to price your apartment correctly to get the best price and terms. If you do find your apartment was placed on the market priced too high, adjust the price as soon as two weeks after it hits the market. A good agent will be able to tell you whether it’s priced too high within this time frame. Listen to her, and adjust it quickly while it is still a fresh, new listing. Since no one knows for sure where the market will go, sellers worry that they may be pricing their apartments too low if the market proves stronger this Spring. This concern is misguided since properties priced slightly below market are realizing multiple bids, providing sellers not only with the best sale price but the most advantageous contract terms.
Clients always ask how much they should declutter. Aim for a Zen-like quality to your apartment. Buyers are more forgiving of clutter in children’s rooms, but for all other rooms try to clear the horizontal surfaces of everything other than furniture, lamps and very precisely placed “props”, such as flowers or other pops of color. Depending on how much clutter you live with, you may want to seek the help of a professional organizer. Apartments will be transformed by such intervention. Lastly, if you have an empty apartment, you may want to consider staging it. Since staging can be costly, some sellers opt to have the photographs of the property virtually staged instead. This virtual staging helps buyers picture themselves living in the space.
3) Perform a “Walk-Through” Before Listing the Apartment
In a standard contract of sale, it states that appliances must be in “working order” at the walk-through conducted within 48 hours prior to Closing. Don’t wait until then to make sure your appliances work. Be prepared, and fix appliances before listing your apartment so there are no surprises. In addition, items attached to the walls will be considered part of the sale unless excluded. Accordingly, walk through your apartment with your agent and let her know if any “attached” personal property will be excluded from sale. For example, you may want to keep your custom curtains which match your bedding or your great-grandmother’s chandelier which has been handed down through the generations. Let buyers know, through your agent, of the exclusions right away. You don’t want to wait until the attorneys are drafting the contract of sale to learn that excluding the chandelier is a deal breaker for the buyer.
4) Line Up Your Real Estate Attorney
Don’t wait until a deal is made to retain an independent real estate attorney for the sale. You want your attorney already on board by this time. A delay in getting out a contract of sale to the buyer and providing the buyer with due diligence materials can be detrimental to a deal. It’s helpful for your agent to speak with your attorney early since she is the most familiar with the property and can make the attorney aware of certain aspects of the property. This helps for a smooth transaction without unnecessary delays.
Tiffany Bauman is owner and broker of Tiffany Bauman Real Estate, LLC, and an attorney. She has resided on the Upper West Side for over 20 years and currently lives there with her husband and son. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. www.tiffanybauman.com