After years of non-stop price hikes, New York finally saw a slowdown at the top of the luxury real estate market in 2016, meaning that those record-setting prices have become harder to come by. Translation: Buyers may not be as willing to enter sight-unseen bidding wars as they have in years past. Of course, as NYC is a perpetual sellers’ market, there’s no reason to panic, but it’s a good time for a refresher course on the basics of making your home a desirable place to live.
Moderate the temperature. You may like living in an extra-hot tropical paradise or a frozen tundra, but chances are that buyers won’t appreciate it. People are more likely to linger and express interest in a home when they feel comfortable, so that means maintaining a temperate indoor climate, no matter the time of year.
Stash the clutter. It can be a hassle to turn your lived-in home into a pristine sales center, but few things turn a prospective buyer off more than bearing witness to other people’s clutter. Baskets of unfolded laundry, a fridge covered with mismatched magnets and pictures of your family, and a huge stack of bills make it impossible for buyers to picture where their clutter will live. Surfaces should remain neutral and minimalist to create as much of a blank slate as possible. If your home is actively and aggressively on the market, clear a space to stash any unnecessary items in the event of a last-minute showing.
Freshen up those walls. You may love bright walls in every color of the rainbow, but if you’re trying to sell, it’s best to make your space appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Cover up those funky colors (the ones every single couple in the history of “House Hunters” finds it impossible to overlook) with some neutrals to make your home feel open and inviting, as well as to allow potential buyers to picture their furniture in the space. If the issue is just a few smudges, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser should do the trick.
Accentuate the positive, eliminate (or cover up) the negative. So, the main window in your living room is facing a brick wall. Or you don’t receive much natural light in the master bedroom. Don’t panic! Think strategically about how you can work with these features. Using a gauzy white curtain to cover a window that faces a brick wall can hide the unsightly view while allowing natural light to get in. Similarly, for apartments with ceilings that are just too low, floor-to-ceiling window treatments can add an extra layer of depth to the space while accentuating the open air outside, eliminating any potential claustrophobic feelings.
As with anything: Do your research! For most people, their home is among their most personal, most prized possessions, and as such, everyone’s home is priceless. But, if you’re looking to sell quickly, you will need to price it accurately to motivate buyers. Whether you’re working with an agent or not, you have total control over the listing price. You should be aware of the prices similar homes are selling for, how the market is performing, and what, exactly, your home’s shortcomings are to ensure it is priced to sell.
Finally, the “selling months” myth. Simply put, while seasonality affects many things, including the amount of inventory put on the market and the look of listing photos, one thing it doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on is price. The New York Times puts it best: “The Right Time to Sell is Anytime.”