New York City Seller's Guide

New York City Seller's Guide

Deciding to sell is a momentous first step in the journey to follow. Leveraging the expertise that has made us New York City’s #1 brokerage, our Seller’s Guide will serve as a trusted resource as you navigate the nuances of selling in New York City.

From Launch to Close Let Elliman Guide the Way

It takes expertise to successfully navigate one of the world’s most exciting and competitive real estate markets. Backed by more than a century of institutional knowledge, our top-performing agents are here to listen to your needs, understand your vision and personally guide you through every step of your sales journey. With our reach, resources and reputation as NYC’s #1 brokerage by sales volume, Douglas Elliman works tirelessly to be your trusted partner in one of the most important financial decisions you will make.

Step One

Partner with a Professional

The Agent Advantage
Your home is among your most precious personal assets. Deciding to sell it is the first step in a journey that is best undertaken with the guidance of a trusted real estate advisor. A licensed agent has the knowledge, experience and professional network to package, promote and put your property in front of highly qualified buyers.

What to Ask Your Agent
Clearly communicate your expectations to your agent and ask questions to ensure you are on the same page.

What is your communication style?
Let your agent know how you would like to communicate throughout the sales process, including how frequently you will receive updates and whether you prefer phone calls, emails or print reports.

How do you advocate for your clients?
Look for an agent who is a skilled negotiator and who pushes for the best terms and conditions for you. Feel empowered to ask for examples of success stories or client testimonials.

What is your marketing plan?
Ask what strategies your agent will use (e.g., advertising, social media, open houses) to promote your property to the right audience.

The Elliman Advantage
As the #1 residential brokerage by sales volume in Manhattan, Douglas Elliman dominates the market. And with a network of 7,000 agents in 120 offices across the country, each Elliman agent has unrivaled scale, marketing resources and media reach to connect your property with buyers from around the world.

Signing a Listing Agreement with an Agent
It is common practice to sign an exclusive right-to-sell listing agreement that ensures only one agent or team has access to your listing. Consider them the gatekeeper to your home. Their job is to represent you in the sale while working with the brokerage community to find you the right buyer. Standard contracts run for a minimum of six months and typically highlight what access your agent will have and how much their services will cost. If your home hasn’t sold by the end of the exclusivity agreement, work with your agent to determine a new sales and marketing strategy, which may include adjusting the price.

Key Terms of Your Partnership

Closing Costs
Taxes and fees that sellers must pay upon signing a mortgage and taking possession of a property. See below for a complete breakdown of costs.

Commission
In exchange for the brokerage’s services, sellers pay a percentage of the property’s sales price at the closing table.

Exclusivity
An exclusive right-to-sell listing agreement specifies that the selected agent now has the sole right to list, market and sell your property for the duration of the agreement, even if you find a buyer yourself.

Marketing
The marketing plan typically highlights what marketing strategies (staging, advertising, etc.) will be implemented.

Timing
If your home hasn’t sold by the end of the exclusive right-to-sell listing agreement, work with your agent to determine a new sales and marketing strategy, which may include a potential price drop.

Step Two

Price Your Property

The Numbers Game
A well-priced home is the difference between a savvy sale and a costly setback. It is the fastest route to inspiring competitive offers, the best terms and the highest price. Your real estate agent will conduct a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)—an evaluation of comparable properties—to determine a realistic price for your home.

Our Advice

Survey the Neighborhood
Prime locations are often priced higher than developing ones. Your real estate agent will evaluate comparable homes that have recently sold to make sure that yours is priced correctly.

Determine Accessibility
Proximity to transport options, restaurants and parks can make your property more desirable and will usually increase its value.

Note the Condition
Upgrades and high-quality updates often raise your property’s sales price.

Study the Size
Square footage, layout and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms are important factors in determining a competitive sales price.

Assess the Market
Consider the state of the market when deciding whether it is a good time to sell. Analyze the sales of similar homes in your neighborhood over the past six months, and look specifically at days on market and list-to-sale price ratios.

Online Home Valuations
Online tools, such as Zestimates, often base your home’s worth on zip codes rather than comparable data. Your real estate agent will advise on the most accurate home price based on a combination of comparable properties and the above factors.

The Elliman Advantage
With our quarterly Market Reports, monthly Contracts Signed reports and other sources of data, Elliman agents have access to proprietary insights about market dynamics and qualified buyers that enable them to optimally price and position your property.

Step Three

Prepare Your Property

Stage Right
In the world of real estate, looks sell. Embark on a mission to pack up, pare down and create an alluring, well-organized space that enables buyers to envision themselves in every room. A nominal investment in cosmetic improvements and mechanical repairs often results in an increased selling price and reduced time on market.

Our Advice

Scale Back & Organize
Eliminate clutter from every room. Designate bags for donation, trash and storage, and pack up personal items.

Deep Clean
Tidy your home from top to bottom and corner to corner. Prying eyes will always find the crumbsand the cobwebs.

Wash Windows
Clean glass, dust blinds and remove screens to maximize light and views.

Paint Walls & Cabinets
Light-toned grays or beiges are neutral, soft and inviting.

Upgrade Lighting
A well-lit room expands and brightens up a space. New outlet covers and light switches are the ultimate finishing touch.

Update Appliances
Make the kitchen look modern and new.

Refinish Wood Floors
Carpets and rugs should be professionally cleaned.

Organize Closets
If your closets appear to be bursting at the seams, potential buyers might assume they are too small.

The Elliman Advantage
Our agents can tap a network of photographers, videographers, virtual tour, staging and other vendors to assess your space and ensure your property is ready for the spotlight.

Step Four

Putting Your Property on the Market

Launching Your Listing
When it’s time for your property to go on the market, it’s important that you prepare yourself for a range of possible pathways to get to a signed contract. Whether your listing instantly receives multiple competitive bids or takes time to get traction after multiple showings, a trusted agent can be a powerful ally and source of guidance at critical moments of the sales process.

Promoting Your Property
In addition to ensuring your listing appears in publications and on websites where buyers are searching, your agent can employ a number of tactics to help your property stand out, from creative marketing on social media to leveraging a network of professional contacts to reach qualified buyers. Your agent will market your listing to the entire NYC brokerage community of more than 10,000 agents, including many that work exclusively with buyers.

Evaluating Bids
Once interested buyers submit their bids and demonstrate they are financially qualified to purchase your property, your agent will help you judge which are worth considering, countering or rejecting altogether. Remember: a higher bid isn’t necessarily the best one.

The Art of Negotiation
Even when you agree on an offering price for your property, you may have to negotiate on a number of other points before getting to a signed contract, from repairs, furnishings and fixtures to responsibility for fees and taxes at closing.

The Elliman Advantage
With our commanding online presence, including 800,000 monthly visitors to Elliman.com and listing syndication across the top real estate websites, Douglas Elliman agents can tap a powerful distribution engine to amplify their own networks and ensure your listing gets the exposure it deserves. Their experience, market knowledge and access to actionable data empowers them to help you make informed decisions throughout the bidding and negotiation process.

Step Five

From Contract to Close

1. Prepare for the Home Inspection

What to Expect
When purchasing a townhome or some co-ops and condos, an inspection is sometimes ordered by a buyer to identify any repairs that would require a major investment of time or money.

Key Player
Home Inspector

2. Negotiate Repairs

What to Expect
If there is an inspection contingency in your buyer’s offer, the buyer may try to negotiate repairs prior to signing the contract.

Key Players
Seller’s attorney and agent, buyer’s attorney & agent

3. Sign the Contract

What to Expect
Once the price, terms and closing date have been agreed upon, both you andyour buyer will sign a purchase agreement. Your buyer will typically present a deposit of 10% of the sales price, which will be held in your attorney’s escrow account until the closing date.

Key Players
Seller’s attorney and agent, buyer’s attorney

4. Prepare for the Appraisal

What to Expect
An appraisal is ordered by a buyer’s lender to determine the amount the lender will provide for the purchase.

Key Players
Buyer’s lender, home appraiser

5. Prepare for Approvals

What to Expect
If you are selling a co-op or a condo, introduce your real estate agent to the management company (or the managing agent acting on its behalf), as well as a point person on the Board of Directors so your agent can streamline board approvals on your behalf. When purchasing a co-op, a board package will need to be prepared and submitted. Your agent will liaise between the buyer, the seller and the building’s managing agent at every step in the approval process.

Key Players
Seller’s attorney and agent, buyer’s attorney & agent, co-op board (if applicable) and management company

6. Close the Sale

What to Expect
On closing day, be prepared to officially transfer your property to your buyer, pay all closing costs and receive any sales proceeds. At closing, you will turn over the keys to the buyer’s new home and move onto yours. Congratulations!

Key Players
Seller’s attorney and agent, buyer’s attorney & agent, buyer’s mortgage lender

Sign Here
Once you accept an offer, the next step is to sign a contract. Your agent and attorney will serve as your points of contact throughout the selling journey and will work on your behalf to ensure that your best interests are represented.