No matter how much you love kicking back in your condo, there might come a point when you want to move on—which means you may need to know the ins and outs of how to sell a condo. No, it’s not just like selling a house!
Condos have their own unique selling points and challenges that are good to know before you put yours on the market, so heed the advice below on how to pinpoint the right time, price, marketing tactics, and more so you can make out like a bandit once someone bites.
When to sell a condo
The good news is that condos tend to sell faster than single-family homes even in a down market, because condos are typically smaller, cost less, and have lower maintenance costs. So don’t assume your condo will sit for long; prepare to move quickly if an offer rolls in.
The time of year might be another strategic consideration. Traditionally, spring is the best season to sell a house, and the winter holidays are the worst. But with condos, conventional wisdom might not apply. If your place is in a vacation area, say, near a beach or ski resort, you’ll get the best price right before the tourist season hits. If seasonal factors affect your location, consider playing the waiting game to net more money.
How much is the condo worth?
This is probably the trickiest part of selling any property. Price it too high, and a lot of potential buyers won’t even take a look. Price it too low, and you’ll lose out on a good chunk of change. But the great thing with condos is that you may be surrounded by similar (or heck, even identical) units. This makes it much easier to get comps, which are the recent sales prices of similar properties in your area.
So if a three-bedroom condo just like yours a few doors down recently sold for $168,000, you can expect to get around the same price for your own.
But keep in mind that even subtle differences can spell the difference of tens of thousands of dollars. For instance, condo end units are considered quieter than those in the middle and, as such, can command a higher price. Your real estate agent will pull comps to help recommend an asking price; you can also plug your address into realtor.com/sell to get an estimate of how much your home is worth.
According to Lindsay Listanski, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Real Estate, “When setting the home price for your condo, it’s important to identify your desired price and your bottom-line price.”
If you can’t get a certain amount for your condo (i.e., enough to cover your outstanding mortgage debt), it might not make sense to sell it conventionally, and you could consider opting for a short sale instead.
How to stage a condo
Since condos can be a bit more cookie cutter than freestanding homes, you might have to work a bit harder to make it stand out (particularly if other units in your complex are for sale at the same time). To show your condo at its best, you’ll want to clean it, make repairs, and declutter your possessions.
Because condos tend to be smaller than single-family homes, it’s easier for furniture and other items to make spaces feel cramped. To give the illusion of more space, throw away or box up and store everything that is not absolutely essential.
Once your condo is in Spartan condition, you can note small cosmetic touch-ups that need to be made—from cleaning grout to painting walls and beyond. Fix the stuff that’s in obvious need of repair. Many buyers see small signs of neglect as harbingers of larger problems, so focus on the little things you may have grown accustomed to that you barely notice, like the fact that your front door sticks. Annoying right? Buyers will think so, too.
How to market a condo
Once your condo is glowing and spotless, it’s time to start the marketing process. With condos, this largely means emphasizing your complex’s unique selling points.
“One of the best features to accentuate when selling a condo is the lifestyle of ease that comes with condominium ownership,” says Listanski. “Many buyers are looking for the hassle-free living experience that they can’t find with a single-family detached house.” They’re free to lock the door and go on a trip without worrying about their property.
Other important selling points unique to condos are the amenities of the complex. Does yours have a pool? Fitness center? A parking garage? A meeting room or lounge? Concierge services? Make sure you play them up and show photos.
Then there are the assets of your own individual condo that you’ll want to expand on: If your condo has a great view, convenient location, or recently remodeled bathroom, be sure to include that in your marketing materials. If you’re not sure what to play up, ask your real estate agent for suggestions. The agent’s fresh perspective could help you highlight the unique selling points of your place so you’ll soon be swimming (drowning?) in offers.
After reading this article, Melissa Christopher, Ocean County, NJ Real Estate Agent has the following insight:
From personal experience, if more than 1 condo is listed, the buyer will compare every single element of each home. Make yours show ready and pristine to win that competition!