8 Steps to Selling a House in New York

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Clever Real Estate

Updated 

March 17th, 2020

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Getting ready to sell your house in New York? Our in-depth guide breaks the entire process down into 8 simple steps. Learn how to find a great agent, price your home, negotiate with buyers, breeze through closing, and more!

Updated on March 17, 2020

Now is a good time to be selling a house in New York! According to Zillow Research, property values in the Empire State rose 2.26% in 2019, and are projected to rise a further 4.49% over the next year.

Of course, even the best New York properties will struggle to sell if you don’t price the home properly, do a poor job of marketing it, or don’t know how to handle the negotiations.

Read on to learn the eight steps to successfully selling your home in New York!

1. Finding a New York realtor

Selling a home isn’t easy. It’s a high-stakes, complex transaction and requires a considerable amount of time and expertise to get a good outcome. If you’re looking to sell your New York home for the best price — and minimize stress along the way — you need to find a top-rated real estate agent in your area.

The best New York listing agents know exactly what local buyers want and how to reach them. They’ll offer expert advice, guidance, and support every step of the way, from the initial listing all the way through closing.

In fact, sellers who work with real estate agents net 33% more, on average, than those who list on their own. For a $323,797 home — the median home value in New York, according to Zillow — that’s a premium of $106,853. In other words, hiring an agent is well worth the investment.

2. Deciding when to sell

Housing prices can fluctuate by thousands of dollars depending on the time of year. Weather, holidays, and the start of the school year play major roles in dictating home prices in most regions.

True for much of the United States, early-Spring through mid-Summer is considered the optimal time to sell your property for its highest market value. This is no secret in the real estate game so competition will be strong and inventory abundant. However, buyers know this is a great time to look for their dream home since there’s so much on the market, striking a mostly fair balance during this time of year.

Best time to sell a house across the U.S.

Best Time to Sell a House

Source: 2019 Redfin Data Center

Best time to sell a house in New York

Best Month to Sell for Speed in New York
June
48 days on market
12 days faster than average
Best Month to Sell for Price in New York
July
$391,000 median sale price
8% more than average

In New York, March through June boasts the most new listings. Thanks to this flood of inventory, April is the most competitive month for buyers. They have their choice of homes and it might be hard to get your house to stand out from the competition.

Inventory begins to pile up in New York during the summer months and starts to get heavily discounted as fall begins. Back to school season and the approaching holidays are never a good time for sellers and many look to offload their properties for a lower price than getting stuck with the home for another winter season.

Learn More: The Best Time to Sell a Home in New York

3. Pricing your home

Figuring out what your house is worth is vital to a financially favorable and speedy sale. You love your house. It’s the place first place you’ve owned as a married couple, your kids took their first steps, Spaghetti Saturday’s will go down in the history books as the best neighborhood potluck in all of Crown Heights. However, the buyer will find no financial value in these things and, no matter how lovely the memories are, should not be considered in the pricing of your home.

Gauging your home’s value compared to the area’s market value is the best way to confidently price your home. A comparative market analysis provides an analysis of area home sales prices over the prior year. An experienced real estate agent should provide a market analysis to clients, however, many will charge for this service.

Clever Partner Agents provide this at no additional cost. After an examination of recent home sales in the area, they’ll provide you with a market analysis that is adjusted for your property’s specifics. This tailored approach will ensure your home is listed at an appropriate and competitive price.

Quick Tip: How to get a comparative market analysis for free

If you'd like some professional guidance with no strings attached, Clever can help! Enter your basic info below to get matched with top real estate agents in your area. During your initial meeting with your agent, you’ll get a professionally prepared CMA, advice on how to price your home, and learn what matters most to buyers in your area.

Note: This service is 100% free and there’s no obligation to sign — get started below!

4. Preparing, marketing, and showing your home

Many sellers are intimidated by the perceived costs of repairs, upgrades, and inspections they’ll have to undergo when they decide to list their home. However, you don’t always need to throw a ton of money at your house to get it to sell. A little bit of paint can go a long way!

And don't forget about curb appeal. This is your home’s first impression. An unkempt yard, sagging stoop, or worn door can just as easily scare buyers off as a hole in the roof.

Update as much as you can on the outside to make it visually appealing and inviting. Buyers want to be able to see themselves in the home when they’re considering buying it. Getting them up to the front door is crucial in selling your property.

To appropriately showcase your home professional photos, a thorough description, and wide-spread visibility are a must. A Clever Partner Agent is experienced in all facets of the marketing process and will not only list your home across multiple platforms but update and manage this listing as well.

When selling in New York City, location is of the utmost importance. Stress the amenities in your neighborhood and within walking distance. Mention the public schools the home is zoned for and you could attract an entirely new type of buyer. Air conditioning, the number of windows, kitchen size, and storage are all worth mentioning if they are above average.

Learn More: The Best Paint Colors For Selling A House

5. Fielding offers and negotiations

When a buyer decides to make an offer on your house, they will usually fill out a one-page offer form furnished by the selling agent. Once completed, the buyer will submit this document back to your real estate agent and you can review the offer. New York differs from other states in that there is nothing binding about accepting this offer.

If the offer was lower than you’d expected, your agent can submit a counteroffer to the buyer’s agent and wait until they accept or counter. When you accept the offer, an attorney will draft up a contract, which you and the buyer will review and sign, thus making the transaction legally binding.

In addition to signing the contract, New York requires the buyer to put forth a 10% down payment towards the purchase. This is separate from the mortgage company’s required down payment. Think of this as a security deposit. If the buyer signs the contract, offers the earnest money, and then refuses the closing contract for a reason not previously stipulated in the contract, you could be eligible to keep the earnest money.

Learn More:  Real Estate Counter Offer Etiquette  

What's in a real estate purchase agreement?

6. Appraisal and inspections

Once the seller has accepted the offer, the buyer will arrange for a home inspection. If the inspection uncovers anything, the attorneys will address said issues when drafting the contract.

If the buyer has applied for a mortgage loan, the bank will also send out an appraiser to determine the actual value of the home. This appraiser makes sure the bank’s interest in the house is equivalent to the loan, as the bank will take the house over if the buyer defaults on the loan.

In New York and the East Coast in general, homes were previously heated by oil tanks. Many of these underground oil tanks have been decommissioned but those that have not are often used as a negotiating chip during a real estate transaction. The buyer assumes a huge risk when purchasing a home with an oil tank and may request it be decommissioned before signing the contract.

After the appraisal and inspection, the seller’s attorney will draft the first copy of a contract, that the buyer can review, request revisions, or add additional information via a rider.

Learn More: Can the Seller Back Out of Contract Before Closing?

7. Paperwork and required New York disclosures

The State of New York used to function under the disclosure law of “Caveat Emptor” or “Let the Buyer Beware.” Now, New York has certain disclosure laws meant to protect the buyer and release the seller of certain liabilities.

The Property Condition DIsclosure Act requires sellers to either complete a disclosure form or pay a credit of $500 to the buyer. Many sellers opt to pay the credit without providing the disclosure form.

The disclosure statement is a list of 48 questions that inquire as to the structural, mechanical, and environmental status of the home. General information is also included like the age, ownership and utilities surcharge. The listing broker is required to provide the seller with the disclosure statement and share the completed form with the buyer.

In addition to disclosures, a lot of other legal paperwork goes into selling a house. While it's good to be familiar with all the documents you might need to close on your home, always consult your agent or attorney before signing or filing paperwork.

A licensed professional should walk you through all the paperwork and ensure you have everything you need for your situation.

Forms and Documents for Selling a House in New York

Required for All Real Estate Sales in New York

  • 2 Forms of ID
  • Copy of Purchase Agreement and Any Addendums
  • Closing Statement
  • Signed Deed
  • Bill of Sale
  • Affidavit of Title

Possible Additional Documents

  • Loan Payoff Information
  • HOA Forms and Guidelines
  • Survey Results or Survey Affidavits
  • Home Inspection Results
  • Proof of Repairs or Renovations
  • Home Warranty Information
  • Copies of Relevant Wills, Trusts, or Power of Attorney Letters
  • Relevant Affidavits (Name Affidavits, Non-Foreign Affidavit Under IRC 1445, etc.)
  • Closing Disclosure (for certain seller concessions)
  • Correction Statement and Agreement
  • Health department approval (septic)

New York Disclosure Forms

Learn More: Disclosure Requirements in New York

8. The closing process

New York has a variety of closing costs, including transfer taxes, lender feeds, realtor commissions, and more. Each party typically pays its own attorney fees and applicable fees to record the transaction with the county clerk. Buyers will usually pay the mortgage fees while sellers pay to record the deed.

Both parties, their real estate agents, and their attorneys are usually present at the closing ceremony although closings can be arranged without the buyer or seller present by granting power of attorney. Once all documents are signed, they will need to be filed with the respective county clerk.

Learn More: How Much Are Closing Costs for the Seller?

Next steps: Sell your New York home and save thousands

Whether you’re looking to list your New York home immediately or 6-12 months from now, it’s never too early to start looking for an agent, getting advice, and making a plan.

Clever is here to help guide you through the home selling process — and save money along the way! In fact, homeowners who list with us save an average of $9,000 on home selling costs.

>> LEARN about Clever's free service and read reviews from real home sellers here!

Top ways to sell your home in New York

Additional resources for New York home sellers