I not only gut renovated a Brownstone shell back in 2004, but I also just recently broke a record for my sale at 105 West 122nd Street. I have been helping people buy and sell townhouses for the past twenty years. After many successful transactions, I have compiled a list based on these experiences to help you maximize your profit. Owning a townhouse requires a great deal of time, money, and effort. When it is time to sell, you should be rewarded for your investment.
1. Assess your facade. Curb appeal is everything. A prospective buyer will judge your home long before they enter it. While I am not recommending you redo the facade, which can be extremely expensive, you should ask yourself what minor projects can be done to give it a facelift.
2. Get a professional inspection. I understand you might have some resistance to this step because it could cost you anywhere from $800-$1,200 depending on the inspector. Here is why I recommend spending this money. A well-negotiated deal can suddenly hit some stumbling blocks at the inspection, which will cost you time and money. I once had an owner who had to negotiate $100,000 off the contract price because of issues the inspector discovered in the foundation. If the owner had known in advance, the cost of repairing the problem would have been far less.
3. Deal with leaks and evidence of leaks. Leaks will stop a sale before it even happens. One owner had a leaking tub twelve years before he was ready to sell. The tub and leak were fixed and there had been no issues for well over a decade. However, there was a slight discoloration on the parlor ceiling, which had never been repaired. A simple coat of paint would have addressed the issue.
4. What about the floors? Owners frequently ask me about their floors. It is very difficult to re-sand and stain floors in an occupied home. I typically tell people to leave them as they are and let the new owners decide what they would like to do. Believe it or not, flooring is a highly personal decision and what you deem to be glaring flaws, someone else might find charming.
- Check the windows. Are there any cracked or discolored panes of glass in your home? If so, get those fixed right away. Do all the windows open, close, and lock properly? While these minor issues do not have a big impact on the daily functioning of the house, a buyer will be on high alert and these minor fixes let them know the house is in tiptop shape.
- Give the paint a fresh coat. Painting an entire townhouse can be very expensive or time-consuming if you are doing it yourself. In our HGTV/Instagram world, the photos of your home online are the first step in selling your place, long before a buyer approaches your front door. You may love your eggplant dining room, but it will not read well online and reach the largest audience. In fact, it could turn away potential buyers. Shades of white and light neutrals do best in online photos. If the paint job is old and scuffed, consider touching it up or redoing it altogether so that your home shines during an in person viewing.
- Cast a critical eye over your outdoor space. Townhouses are prized for their privacy, and this extends to the gardens and rooftops. You don’t need to have a perfectly landscaped area, but it needs to be in good repair and tidy. If you have a spectacular outdoor space with lovely gardens, kudos to you! Now make sure your photo shoot is scheduled for the time of year when your garden will be the most beautiful.
- Check your permits and paperwork. If you have any outstanding violations or open permits, it is time to resolve those issues before you list your property. A savvy agent or buyer is likely to look at the Department of Buildings website to check. Even if they don’t, unresolved documentation issues can cause problems or slowdowns when the buyer is in the process of obtaining financing.
9. Declutter! Townhouses offer space that is spread out over four to five floors, making it easy to accumulate many things you have forgotten about and don’t need. If you are guilty of this, start paring down and keep repeating to yourself, “less is more.” The general rule is, if you haven’t used it in the past year, either give it away or pack it up for your move
10. Don’t forget the cellar. Many townhouse owners don’t frequently visit this floor. If you have undertaken the inspection, you already know if you have any mechanical issues which you can address. The cellar certainly doesn’t have to be pristine unless, of course, you’ve renovated it and you use it as a living space. Make certain the stairs are well lit and easy to navigate. Don’t forget to make sure it doesn’t smell musty!
You make your money when you buy real estate and you collect it when you sell. If you want to sell at top dollar and collect more, follow my ten steps!
If you would like a free, no-obligation assessment of your home and what it might list for in today’s market, reach out to me. I’d be happy to help!