Ask an Expert

My neighbors and I are selling apartments at the same time. How do I make mine stand out?

By Alanna Schubach  | December 11, 2017 - 12:00PM

When there are other sellers in the same line as you, you'll need to take some extra steps to get an edge.

Jeffrey Zeldman/Flickr

I'm planning to sell my apartment, but there are two other units for sale in the same line. How should I price mine? Any tips for standing out from the competition?

You can't control the timing of your neighbors' apartment sales, but you can choose how you market yours, and you may even be able to collaborate with your fellow sellers, according to our experts.

First, do your research.

"Go online and gather intelligence about the other units for sale—how long they’ve been on the market, whether either have been on and off the market, and also judge the quality of the listings in terms of photography and property description," says Gordon Roberts of Sotheby's International Realty. "Then, by all means, go see them in person, so you can evaluate firsthand how they compare to yours." 

You should also speak to the sellers' brokers to get their take on the current market, their thoughts on pricing, and information on how factors like recent renovations might affect their prospects.


Pro Tip:

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"I try to assess what the actual market value is for each property. I also try to find out what their motivations are for selling and if they have some sort of a price threshold that they do not want to go below," says Deanna Kory, a broker with Corcoran. "Once I have all that information, I devise a strategy for my seller that encompasses what the realities are of the market, and what I anticipate may happen with the other property." 

Factors to incorporate into that strategy include whether you live in an elevator building or a walk-up. For the former, the higher the floor, the greater the value, whereas for the latter, second and third floor apartments are most desirable, Roberts says.

Plus, he adds, "If the building is more than 10 years old, condition and recent renovations will contribute to perceived value. If one of the units is renovated, with upgrades to the kitchen and baths, and the other one isn’t, the renovated one should command a higher price – unless, possibly,[...] it’s on a lower floor." 

Once you take this into consideration, you can make an informed decision about how to price and promote your own apartment. For instance, Kory says, if the other apartment is three floors higher than yours (and you're in an elevator building), "we might price it below enough, not to hurt the other's value but to make ours look appealing. But if a seller really feels that their competitor is highly overpriced, a different strategy might be employed." 

In some instances, you might be better off waiting to put your unit on the market until the other has sold, thus sparing both you and your neighbor competition.

"In doing so, once the sale happens, the seller I represent is more likely to have a subsequent sale," Kory says. "As I always say, sales beget sales."

If waiting isn't feasible, thoughtful upgrades and staging can go a long way to boosting an apartment's perceived value. 

"Presentation is key, and entirely within your control. You’d want to fix anything that doesn’t work, fine-tune loose doorknobs, clean windows," Roberts says. "Address anything that could raise a red flag in a buyer’s mind, and try to erase signs of wear and tear."

This will entail deep-cleaning the apartment and removing clutter so that buyers can more easily picture themselves living there. Roberts suggests visiting model apartments in new developments for inspiration on how to stage your own.

Every situation is different.

"I believe in trying to be cooperative, and I don’t like to go blindly and to undercut the other apartment," Kory says. "That being said, if a seller of a competitive apartment is unrealistic and I have a realistic seller coming to market, then sometimes there’s no choice but to realistically price and thereby undercut the value of the other apartment on the market." 

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Alanna Schubach

Contributing writer

Contributing editor Alanna Schubach has over a decade of experience as a New York City-based freelance journalist.

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