Selling a co-op presents different challenges than selling a single-family home. A co-op is a unit of a larger building. That means the building, its inhabitants and the co-op board are all part of the sale in one way or another. As you enter the process of selling a co-op, steel yourself with the knowledge that patience, persistence and common sense will result in a successful sale.
Seven Tips For Selling A Co-Op
Check with the board. Before you begin the process of selling a co-op, be sure to check with your board of directors. The board will be able to provide you with all necessary forms and can guide you on the proper procedure for selling your co-op. Unlike detached dwellings, co-ops often require board approval of both the buyer and sale itself. Getting started early with this process will help smooth the way later in the transaction.
First impressions. When you’re selling a co-op, you need to understand that you are not only selling your unit, but the building itself. While a house may have “curb appeal”, your co-op has “building appeal”. Take a look at the common areas including lobby, hallways and elevators. Your co-op’s board of directors may be receptive to a reasonable request to make cosmetic changes or repairs that will help make a good first impression to prospective buyers. If it helps, you can point out that such changes will improve the unit prices for all shareholders, not just you as a seller.
Under the magnifying glass. Selling a co-op means making a big impression in a limited space. That means details matter. Take the time to give your co-op a fresh coat of paint. Clean and repair grout around bath fixtures. Remove older light fixtures and replace them with updated hardware. Little things make a big impression in a small space.
Clear the decks. You’ll make your co-op seem bigger and more attractive if you remove as much clutter as you can. Don’t take the easy route and stuff everything in the closets—move extra things into temporary offsite storage so that your closets will appear more spacious.
Setting the stage. Home staging is a great idea for co-op sellers as well. Deep clean your co-op and set up each room to highlight its best features. Neatly arranged rooms with plenty of light will help your co-op present its best face to potential buyers. Fresh cut flowers or houseplants will also help to leave a good impression with those that view your co-op.
Windows to the soul. A simple way to improve the look of your co-op is to make sure the windows are as clean as possible. If your unit has a view, accentuate it by leaving window coverings open. If you’re not so lucky, cover the bottom half of your windows with curtains while leaving the top have uncovered to take advantage of natural light.
Be prepared to wait. Selling a co-op means coordinating with your board of directors for approval of the buyer and the sale of your unit. This extra layer of bureaucracy can add a significant amount of time between the signing of a contract and the close of the transaction. Be sure to leave a buffer between your co-op sale and the purchase of another property to account for this delay.