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What to Know Before You List: A Seller’s Checklist

June 18, 2018

Selling a home in New York City can be a daunting task, so it’s important to be prepared before listing a home. In order to help you in your sales journey, we’ve put together a Citi Habitats Seller’s Checklist meant to help manage your expectations and make your home selling experience as seamless as possible.

☑ Select An Experienced Real Estate Professional

Selecting an experienced real estate professional is the most important item on our sellers checklist. The value that seasoned agents provide includes:

  • Understanding your home’s value and educating you on the market: market conditions change frequently and a well-experienced agent can guide you on what to expect considering current conditions.
  • Pricing your home appropriately based on the condition, location, comparables, and recent market trends: a well-priced home will sell quickly and may attract multiple offers.
  • Creating an effective and wide-reaching marketing strategy that will garner the attention of potential buyers worldwide: the audience you reach is expanded exponentially when working with a real estate agency.
  • Developing elegant and high-quality marketing materials including photography, brochures, mailers, digital ads, print ads, videos, social media exposure, and websites when appropriate: marketing matters and should be done right the first time.
  • Pitching public relations when appropriate: for press-worthy properties, agents can secure PR that will amplify your home’s exposure.
  • Coordinating all open houses: agent-run weekend and weekday open houses take the headache (and emotion) out of showing your home for sale.
  • Fielding all inquiries and reviewing potential buyers’ qualifications: most New York City homes get a lot of inquiries before the right buyers walk through the door.
  • Negotiating on your behalf: expert negotiation skills make all the financial difference.

Since you’ll likely be spending a lot of time with your agent, select someone with whom you get along well and whose communication style matches yours. Browse our list of seasoned real estate agents to take a look at some experts who can help on our Citi Habitats Agents page.

☑ Research the Market

The market fluctuates frequently in New York City, and the potential asking price for a home can vary on a floor-to-floor, line-to-line, and block-to-block basis. Keep up with market trends by reviewing Citi Habitats quarterly market reports for insight into where your asking price point should be. Your agent will advise you on price, but reviewing the market will help you understand what neighborhoods and home sizes are in highest demand, as well as how long you can expect your home to be on the market before selling.

☑ Know your Home

Getting a home inspection will allow you to mitigate issues hurting your home’s value. Anything from a leaky faucet to faulty wiring to damaged blinds will lower the actual and perceived value of your home. Repairs should either be handled before showing, or items in need of repair should be disclosed in the property description. Similarly, find out everything there is to know about your building’s financials, any upcoming construction, needed repairs, land leases, bed bug incidents, and board requirements. Your level of transparency and disclosure could make or break a deal.

☑ Budget for Closing Costs

There are a number of closing costs to be aware of before embarking on the sales process. Here are some of the costs you should budget for:


Fee Approximate Cost Condos/ Townhouses Co-ops
Agent Commission 6% of sales price x x
Seller’s Attorney $1500 – $2500 x x
Managing Agent / Co-op Attorney Processing Fee $650 x x
New York City Transfer Tax 1% of price for purchase of $500,000 or less; 1.425% of price for purchase over $500,000 (Paid by Seller, except sale by Sponsor) x x
New York State Transfer Tax 0.4% of price (Paid by Seller, except sale by Sponsor) x x
Reserve Fund Contribution (if applicable) Determined by condo board, payable by buyer unless otherwise stated x
Move-out Deposit $500- $1000 (usually refundable if no damage) x x
Payoff Bank Fees (if applicable) $250+
E Tax Filing (ACRIS) $100 x x
Property Condition Disclosure Statement $500 x
NYS Capital Gains Tax Withholding** 8.82% of taxable gain on sale (only applicable to non-US residents) x x
(FIRPTA) Only applicable to non-US residents Buyer to withhold 10% of purchase price x x
Stock Transfer Tax $0.05 per share x
Flip Tax (if applicable) Determined by co-op building (unless otherwise stated or negotiated)
Lost stock and lease fees $250+ x
Estate fees TBD: Co-op may impose additional fees for estate sales x
UCC-3 Filing Fee $75+ x

☑ Prepare your Home for Showings

If your budget permits, professionally stage your home or focus on the main rooms in your home. However, whether or not you stage your home, simple adjustments will make a big difference in the eye of the beholder. Your home should look clean and welcoming, so that potential buyers can easily visualize themselves in your space. To achieve this look, be sure to:

  • Give the home a fresh coat of paint: neutral colors work best to create a neutral space
  • Shine the floors: a good coat of wax is a must for sprucing up your home.
  • Declutter your home and depersonalize the space: Excessive furniture, clothing in closets, family portraits, books, shampoos, razors, and other personal items take away from the ‘blank canvas’ you’re aiming to create; a good rule of thumb is to remove 50% of your belongings before showing the home.
  • Freshen up the bathroom: Reglazing your tub and shower walls is a great way to freshen up the bathroom on a small budget, be sure any broken tiles or areas needing recaulking are taken care of, and buy new bathroom accessories and fixtures for an updated feeling.
  • Spruce up the details: take care of seemingly small problems such as scuff marks on baseboards, scratches in wood floors, stains on carpets, leaky faucets, and squeaky cabinet doors
  • Clean like you’ve never cleaned before: Every nook and cranny of every room, closet, and cabinet should be deep-cleaned like never before; the home should also smell fresh when visitors arrive.
  • Lighten up each room: the neutral paint colors will help, as will table and floor lamps with warm light bulbs to create a soothing atmosphere.

Listing your home for sale doesn’t have to be a mysterious process. With the right agent, the right marketing plan, and the right presentation, your New York City home will attract qualified buyers and you’ll be glad you invested in the market when you did. It’s a great time to sell in New York City, and it’s a great time to buy as well.

Start your search for your next home today!

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