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How to Sell

A New York City Apartment

It's your agent's job to help you identify what you need to do to prepare your apartment for sale in order to command the highest price possible.


Cleaning, purging and staging

For most sellers, this involves, at a minimum, a lot of purging to make apartment feel better and to depersonalize it so that buyers can project themselves living there.  Strive to be as objective and dispassionate as you can, relying on the advice of your agent, who has no sentimental attachment to your belongings and, like you, wants to maximize sales price.

Depending on the condition and appearance of your apartment, you may need to do some repainting, regrouting, and even minor renovations (such as replacing a bathroom sink or kitchen countertops, refinishing floors, or upgrading appliances).  Your agent may also recommend that you hire a stager to rearrange your possessions (and occasionally fill them in with borrowed items) to maximize the aesthetic appeal of your space.

Videos and photos

When it comes to photos, do not compromise: Insist on high-quality professionally shot photos, and invest in the time, effort, and minimal expense necessary to primp your apartment beforehand.  (See 4 Photostaging Tips for Serious Sellers and 7 Essential Photostaging Tips.)

Many brokers swear by the marketing power of a great video as well, and in the YouTube era, it's hard to argue. (See How to Make a Killer Video of Your Apartment -- and Why You Should.)

Open houses 

Some people believe open houses are a complete waste of time and mainly serve as a way for agents to meet potential clients. Others think they’re important and should occur once or twice a month.  For a description of what should occur (and what should not) at your open house, see BrickUnderground’s three-part series on open houses.


It’s your responsibility to keep your apartment in “showing” condition and to accommodate showings.  Making showings difficult will make selling your property difficult.  

Among the things that can sabotage showings:

  • Pets and children and their respective belongings
  • Tenants who don’t care and may even be antagonistic.
  • Vacant apartments are harder to sell and usually sell for less (they need to be staged).  

Your broker needs to be as accommodating to buyers as you are—ready and willing to show your apartment when requested.  An agent that has a team of two or more agents or is more likely to accommodate all showing requests than a single agent.