Like many industries, real estate has good and bad seasons. While the economy influences whether a “buyer’s” or “seller’s” market, New York City often has its own rules; that affect that best time to put your apartment on the market when it’s most likely to sell. Keeping your apartment on the market for too long can harm the sale and affect the final sales price. Evaluating conditions, time of year before listing your home helps sell your home and for a better price.
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The Impact of Seasonality
New York City’s real estate and housing industry has its time of peaks and troughs, just like any cycle. Market prices with supply and demand will determine when and how frequently the period has an upward or downward swing. There is no perfect timing; for those looking to buy real estate, there are better seasons to buy and better seasons when selling.
In general, the period between early spring and the beginning of fall sees increased inventory and active buyers. With warmer weather, more extended daylight hours, and families with children wanting to move in before the start of the next school year, these months filled with a plethora of listings and open houses.
August is the only exception. Because of the extreme heat of the summer, New Yorkers often leave the city to vacation elsewhere. Buyers also can expect to pay more this season due to the increased volume.
The low season, also known as blackout time, typically falls during times of extreme weather and near holidays because of the decrease in buyer traffic and available inventory. There is, however, a positive change during these slower months. Due to decreased traffic, potential buyers may not have to fend off competitive buyers with bidding wars. The slow season can often present the opportunity of submitting a low ball offer.
The Worst Times To Sell
If you’re excited about selling your apartment, you don’t want to harm your momentum by listing it at the wrong time. When property listings are on the market for too long, they experience multiple price drops, become stale and signal to the buyer a lower offer price may be accepted. Consider these four factors before deciding to list your home for sale.
When you have competition in your building
Some experts might disagree and say that a comparable listing in your building doesn’t necessarily lower your chance of selling quickly and at your asking price. If your apartment is in better condition, with say, a better view, or completely renovated, chances are, your listing price will also reflect this. A potential buyer will most likely look at your apartment and your neighbor’s. Know that their budget and taste control the decision as to which unit they’ll purchase if they purchase at all. It could come down to details; the paint colors, condition of flooring, the brand of appliances, or which apartment is better overall. Any way you look at it, another unit for sale in the same line on a similar floor is competition, so your apartment might take longer to sell.
The Winter Holiday Season
Most potential buyers take the holiday season off from apartment hunting. The idea of moving during the busy holiday season turns a lot of people off, and they decide to wait until the new year. Homebuyers stay active during the holiday season, just like the rest of us. With the array of seasonal activities such as shopping, cooking, wrapping, spending time with family, not to mention travel, real estate is usually the final thought at this time of year. We’re too busy getting lost in the magic of the lights and window decorations.
As a seller, you may also hate the idea of listing your apartment around the holidays, unless you have to, because this means no tree, stockings, or holiday lights, as you don’t want to deter any potential buyers.
No need to move unless we do not have a choice; e.g., our landlord has raised the rent, and it’s cheaper to buy. Overall, the New Year is usually more appropriate for a new start, which includes shopping for a New York City co-op or condo.
The End Of Summer Into Early September
If you plan to list your apartment, the end of summer into early September is not an ideal time, as most potential buyers are taking their final vacations and preparing for children to go back to school. In New York City, elementary and middle school children zoned for public schools, so most parents would want to be settled and have their child enrolled before August. An August or early September move date would disrupt a child’s education.
When There Is Construction In Your Building
If you live in New York City, it might seem like your building is always under construction. However, some projects are worst than others and can deter buyers. For example, every building needs to compile with Local law 11 to repair the building’s facade every five years. If your apartment has a beautiful balcony, it might be rendered unusable during this repair. For buyers, not being able to see the balcony could be a turn-off and stop them from making an offer. The same can be said for any repairs to a hallway right outside your apartment or any mandated internal construction, such as pipe replacement. Buyers don’t like the idea of loud noises and dust, hindering a peaceful move.
When Your Building Has Too Many Estate Sales
Some New Yorkers buy their apartment and live there for the rest of their lives. When this happens, sometimes family members will try to sell the property upon their death quickly, regardless of price and the condition of the home. Competition from an estate sale can affect the sale price of your unit.
If you live in a co-op, around the time of your annual shareholder’s meeting, you’ll be able to see the past listing and sales prices for units similar to yours. If you see apartments that have the same layout as yours, are selling for far less then you expected to sell yours, it is a good idea to wait to list your apartment. Such properties not renovated; thus, should yours be upgraded, you needn’t worry much. That said, you don’t want your neighbor’s low sale price to affect the value of your apartment.
The Best Times To Sell
If you want to sell your apartment quickly, you’ll want to list your home at the right time. Weather and similar apartments in your neighborhood selling for a high price will help you sell well.
When spring hits New York City, people are excited to get out and explore. It includes seeing new apartments. Few people want to trek through the snow to go to an open house, so the warm weather creates an energetic buying environment. However, you’ll want to be one of the first people to list your apartment in the Spring over-load. So it’s a good idea to start prepping your home in January and February for professional photos. Then, you’ll want your agent to post your listing in March.
A March listing gives your home about two months on the Spring market. May is an active month for homebuyers, as an early summer close date also offers buyers with young children time to before enrollment for schools.
When Other Units Apartments in Building Selling Well
If you’re considering moving in the next couple of years, but units in your building or zip code are selling well, consider moving up your selling timeline. Whether it’s the addition of the Q train on the Upper East Side, a new private school, or updated park, if people are excited about your neighborhood and willing to pay the high price for it, take advantage before the market turns.
For obvious reasons, if you own a one-bedroom and an apartment with the same square footage and amenities in your zip code sold for a record price, that comp should be taken into consideration when you price your home. Record sales prices might motivate you to list your apartment. However, just like apartments, your residence will need to appraise for the contract price to close, especially if you entertain a mortgage contingency.
After You Have Lived There At Least Two Years
Unless you must move, it is recommended not selling your property for at least two years. You wouldn’t have gained much value or paid off much of your mortgage; potential buyers may wonder if there is something wrong with the apartment. Unless you renovated the apartment intending to flip it, hold on to the apartment for at least two years before listing. Selling within two years, unless the market has seen strong gains, likely means taking a loss due to the cost of closing costs when buying and selling.
Your neighborhood is booming
There’s always the next “hot” neighborhood in New York, but if you happen to live in the new “it” spot where everyone else wants to live, you might consider selling. Usually, you’ll know this because of the trendy shops, restaurants, and cafes that have recently opened, not to mention new residents who might have moved in over the past year or two.
If you’ve dreamt of owning a country house, now might be the time to cash in on your NYC apartment to make another real estate dream a reality.
While each year can have ups and downs, New York’s real estate industry as a whole is forever expanding. With a growing economy, diversified job opportunities, and low-interest rates, New York City; will continue to be one of the world’s most sought-after places to live.