You’ve decided to sell your home. Don’t start packing just yet — as it can take much longer than you might guess to sell your apartment. If it’s time for you to move on from your current address, there are a few key steps and phases you need to pass through to have a successful sale in New York City.
If this is your first sale, or you haven’t sold in a while, we’ve broken down for you how much time you should expect to spend in each phase of the selling process.
Unfortunately, this year, things have slowed down in the New York City real estate market. In total, you can expect to spend six to seven months from deciding to sell your apartment to handing over the keys.
Table of Contents
Selecting A Real Estate Agent
Deciding to sell your apartment is great, but it’s not as simple as putting a listing on the internet the next day.
If you want the job done right, and quickly, hire a professional real estate agent — and no, we don’t mean your sister-in-law. Do your research of agents who have sold comparable apartments in your building and neighborhood at a reasonable price. Reach out to them.
You’ll need to sign a listing agreement with the agent you choose. This can take a couple of days to a week, depending on if you have questions or amendments. You’ll also need to schedule listing photos, but those will come after the next step.
Getting Your House Ready To Put Your Apartment On The Market
To boost your chances of having more prospective buyers come and see your apartment and to get it to sell quickly, you need to tidy up.
Start by decluttering and throwing out things you have not been using. If you have a lot to chuck, you should rent a dumpster or give your handymen a heads up to help you clear the trash.
Next, take down some of your family photos to help de-personalize the space. This will help buyers see themselves in your home, instead of imagining it as your house. You should also do a quick paint job in rooms where the walls need sprucing up.
Finally, consider staging your apartment to help speed up your sale time. Your agent might have a recommendation.
For the average seller, this process takes about two weeks.
Open Houses and Showings
Congratulations! It’s time to put your apartment on the market. You’ll start with open houses, which tend to be on the weekends. Some New York City buildings even have restrictions of what day the open house can be, so check-in with your building.
If your real estate agent calls you for a showing, be sure to be flexible and say yes. This also means keeping your apartment clean regularly. If you decline a showing, this will slow down the selling process.
In the fourth quarter of 2018, it took an average of 152 days for a listing in Manhattan to go into contract. That’s up from 101 days in 2017, so things are taking a bit longer this year.
For some context, the average American home is on the market for 68 days or a little more than two months.
If you just do weekend open houses, that is about eight showings you need to sell your apartment.
Accepting An Offer
You deserve another congratulation! Someone has made an offer to buy your apartment.
Typically, a buyer will make an offer lower than your listing price. This doesn’t mean it is the final offer, though. It’s natural for the seller to make a counteroffer and negotiate a bit.
Both the seller and the buyer’s agents will communicate and negotiate the offers on the two parties’’ behalf. This process can take 24 to 72 hours because of the phone calls back and forth, as well as both parties mulling over the offers.
After the seller accepts an offer, the buyer has five to 10 days to conduct an inspection and final walk-through to ensure the apartment is functioning correctly.
You may associate a home inspection with a house in the suburbs, but buyers often will want a home inspection on the apartment, too.
While low maintenance fees are an attractive plus in selling your apartment, it could single that your building doesn’t have the cash to cover any significant repairs if those were needed.
Condominium Application or Co-op Board Package And Interview
If the apartment is in a co-op building, the buyer will have to pass the co-op board interview.
They’ll need to prepare a board package, sit through an interview, and wait for the board to get back to them. Between scheduling the co-op board interview and waiting for the board’s verdict, this can take two to three weeks. The good news is this can happen tangentially to the other activities in closing.
If the apartment is in a condo, an application will have to be submitted and approved before closing. The prospective buyer will have to fill out this application after a contract has been counter-signed. Then, if there’s no financing, it will take about two to three weeks to gather all the information necessary for the application.
The approval process can take anywhere from one to four weeks. If the board approves, they’ll issue a wavier to close. Luckily, there’s no in-person interview with condos.
You’re nearing the end of the selling process. The closing process takes about 30 days before the apartment officially belongs to the buyer; sometimes, this can take up to 60 to 90 days, depending on the building.
Co-ops tend to have a longer closing period that other properties, so be prepared if you’re in a co-op. The buyer’s lawyer will do diligence on the building during this time, too.
If the buyer is paying cash, that will speed up the closing process, as they’re not waiting for the bank to approve their mortgage.
To end; the closing period, there will be one date when the buyer and seller, their respective agents and lawyers, will come together to sign the final documents and hand over the keys.
So how long does it take to sell an apartment?
If you add up the average time it takes to go through each of these steps, it’s about 224 days or a little more than seven months. Of course, every apartment and building are different, and certain selling features will speed up or slow down the process.
Overall, if you enter with an open mind and have patience, you’ll get the right price and should be able to move out of your open in less than half of a year.