The usual timeline for selling your place in New York has been disrupted—like everything else—over the past two years. However, as regular seasonal selling patterns return and Covid risks recede, it is becoming easier to predict how long it will take to sell your place.
How fast you can close largely depends on the type of apartment you’re listing. For example, larger three- and four-bedroom apartments are currently in demand and easier to sell than one bedrooms and studios. Fixer-uppers and estate sales usually take longer to close, especially now as current supply chain issues make a gut renovation a more complicated undertaking. The way the apartment is presented—the condition and staging—affects the timeline of your sale as will the marketing strategy of your broker.
There can always be curve balls even when the transaction seems like it should go smoothly. The heavy volume of sales has been overwhelming and closings have seen delays because some management companies can’t get questionnaires to closing lawyers in a timely way.
The pandemic also shifted much of the buying process online, including board packages and co-op interviews, which in some cases has sped up the process.
But in the current seller’s market, there are fewer listings for buyers to choose from and Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel, says the time saved by a newly efficient buying process is “more than offset by the greater difficulties” buyers face finding the right apartment.
Here’s Brick Underground’s timeline for selling your apartment, from pre-listing to closing.
- Hire a Broker: It makes sense to have a professional to guide you through the selling process
- Choose an attorney: deals are so complicated in NYC that they are a necessity.
- Get the apartment into shape: This could be complicated by supply chain issues, which can slow a renovation. Cosmetic work like painting is relatively easy
- Photography for marketing material can take five to 14 days because there’s increased emphasis on digital post-production and virtual staging.
- If you want physical (rather than virtual) staging, you’ll need up to six weeks.
- Show the apartment: Open houses are no longer the free-for-all they were before the pandemic. Buyers now have to schedule appointments within the open house window so showings take longer.
- Accept an offer: Negotiating the deal could take 24 hours to a few days
- Draft a deal sheet: The deal sheet is a summary of the terms of the transaction (price, closing date, any specific clauses like a mortgage contingency) and contact information (for the parties, the attorneys and building management) that the brokers put together based on their negotiations.
Week 16 or 17
- Sign the contract: As soon as the deal sheet is drawn up, the seller’s attorney can put together the contract itself. Meanwhile, the buyer’s attorney is conducting due diligence on the property, reviewing the offering plan, board minutes, building financials, and other information.
- Contracts are generally taking a week to two to get signed
- The contract will specify a closing “on or about” a specific date, which gives both the seller and the buyer the right to delay the closing by up to 30 days.
Weeks 17-28 (or later)
- Once the contract is signed, the major responsibilities shift to the buyer, who will have to get a mortgage commitment letter from the bank (unless they’re paying in cash) and secure approval from the co-op or condo board.
- Clear up any title problems (if necessary): Though the buyer’s attorney orders the title report or lien search, in condos and co-ops, respectively, to verify there are no issues with the ownership of the apartment,
- Submit to an appraisal: As soon as the contract is signed, the buyer’s mortgage lender will order an appraisal.
- Monitor the board approval process:
- Condo: The buyer submits a purchase application to the building’s managing agent, who will approve it, and send it to the board—a process that takes about a week and a half. The board has to waive their right to first refusal, essentially saying that they won’t exercise their right to buy the condo
- Co-op: This is a lengthy process; First, the seller’s broker will submit the buyer’s board package to the building’s managing agent for review. This can take anywhere from a day to, more often, a couple of weeks, depending on how busy management is. Then it goes to the board. Generally, the board will spend a couple of weeks with the documents before scheduling an interview. A couple of days after the interview, you’ll get the approval (fingers crossed).
Week 29 (or later)
- The final walk-through
- The closing – scheduling the closing usually takes a week or two, the main hurdle is aligning the schedules of the buyer, seller, their attorneys and brokers, the bank’s attorney, the managing agent (for co-ops) and the seller’s bank (if you have a mortgage). You can read more here.
As you can see, the process to close here in NYC is lengthy and complicated. Our team is here to guide you through the process every step of the way.