It’s an emotional moment when a homeowner decides to sell. After many cherished years, it can be an emotional moment to wish goodbye to your home. However, some sellers later get emotional because they can’t sell. We all make mistakes, but when you’ve got something big on the line like an NYC apartment to sell, mistakes can cost you big. It pays to do everything right, especially when it’s your first home sale. Here are some you don’t want to make when trying to sell your NYC apartment.
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Staying emotionally attached
If you’ve lived in your home for more than a few years, it’s normal to feel an emotional attachment to it. It is the place where you’ve created your own nest and made many treasured memories with friends and family. But once you’ve decided to sell, you have to detach emotionally and start to see your home more objectively. If you allow your emotions to get in the way, this can paralyze negotiations. Try to see your home the way a buyer would. Be aware of its strengths and flaws.
Not hiring a professional to help you sell
You might be tempted to take the FSBO route, but this comes with a lot of difficulties. Even if you can devote the time to marketing, hosting open houses, pre-qualifying, and meeting multiple potential buyers, you’ll still have trouble with negotiations and handling all the paperwork. Hiring a seasoned real estate broker means they can devote themselves fulltime to getting it sold. They have the skills, contacts, and experience to find the right buyers and the right price. Those who try to sell on their own; take longer and end up with less money than sellers who hired a broker.
Mistiming the sale for maximum tax benefits
You stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars in taxes if you miss-scheduled your closing day by as much as one day. Before setting a timeline for sale make sure you talk with your accountant to find out if any long-term capital gains tax breaks apply to you. Mark the day they come into play on your calendar, so you don’t fudge the closing.
Not staging your home
If you’ve already moved out and the apartment is empty, you can’t afford to stage. Potential buyers tend to have a hard time visualizing living somewhere when they can’t see how space can be utilized. If you’re still living there and have all your possessions around, it can be even harder to attract a buyer. Declutter everything and look for ways you can arrange the furniture to show your home at its best. And if you want to knock the socks off buyers on open house day, hire a professional staging company. They know exactly how to stage an apartment that will appeal to the right buyers.
Underestimating the costs of selling
If it’s your first sale, it’s easy to underestimate how high the costs of selling can be. Get this wrong, and that fat check on the closing day suddenly doesn’t look so big anymore. The real estate brokers’ commission will take up 5-6% of the sale price. That’s easy to estimate but what takes a little more effort is:
- Moving expenses
- Final property taxes
- Utilities and insurance
- Repair credits to the buyer
- Short term rental or lease-back costs
- Final closing costs
These non-commission costs can add up to 4% or more of your sales price. Combined with your broker’s commission, your selling costs can be up to 10%. Do the research and the math before you sign that contract of sale.