Condos in the day Light

Selling A Condo Fast: Everything You Need To Know

Kevin Graham8-minutes
May 29, 2021

Buying a home is often described as a big part of the American dream. What might not be a pleasant dream at night is yard, pool or even roof maintenance. If you’re selling a condo, part of the allure for buyers is gaining the benefits of homeownership with less hassle.

Although this pitch may get some in the door, that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain things you should consider when selling your condo. We’ll go over what you need to think about to make sure you’re ready to make that deal.

How To Sell A Condo

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of selling a condo, let’s run through a high-level overview of the basic steps.

Review HOA Guidelines

One thing that’s unique about selling a condo is that there’s always a condo association, otherwise known as a homeowners association (HOA). They may have unique rules when it comes to selling your property, such as when and how you can show the property.

Another common issue for condo HOAs occurs in age-restricted communities. Typically, in these communities, you’re only allowed to sell to people 55 and up.

A less common restriction is one that offers the condo association the right of first refusal should you sell. This means the association has the right to buy the home and negotiate with you before you field offers from anyone else. Beware that this type of provision could limit your buyers because most mortgage companies won’t offer financing when the ability to sell is limited.

Hire A Real Estate Agent With Experience Selling Condos

You’ll want to hire a real estate agent who has experience selling condos for a couple of reasons. There are a few things that make condos unique in comparison to a typical single-family home with separate yards and a white picket fence that people often picture.

The first thing to consider is that each condo in your complex is similar from an exterior perspective and has an internal layout comparable to every other condo in the complex. For that reason, you and your realtor will want to play up the things that might be unique to your listing. More on that in a minute.

Second, many destination condos are vacation homes where people only reside part of the year. Virtual tours became a major piece of real estate listings during the pandemic, but in many areas where people don’t live year-round, this technique is likely to continue because of the convenience of not having to travel to get a good idea of a home. Make sure your agent can guide you in properly setting up these unique open houses.

Research The Local Market

It’s always a good idea to research the competition who’s trying to sell at the same time you are. However, a specific challenge that might come up with condos is having multiple units in the same building or complex on sale at the same time. Why should a potential buyer choose yours if the layout and the exteriors are pretty much all the same?

When you own a condo, you control everything from the walls in. Therefore, one thing you can do to improve your chances of selling over your neighbors is highlight any unique upgrades made to your interior. If you have a whirlpool bath or stainless steel appliances and new cabinets that come with the condo, now is the time to highlight these items.

Beyond that, your real estate agent will be able to help you with traditional market research, like comparative market analysis for homes with similar features, to make sure you’re pricing competitively.

When To Sell A Condo

Single-family homes tend to sell slightly faster than condos if you go by the number of months’ worth of supply on the market. However, it’s worth noting that the difference can be minimal. It’s just that not everyone is into dealing with condo associations. For others, the benefits associated with access to things like swimming pools and tennis courts and not having to deal with exterior maintenance is a huge bonus.

What does matter is when you sell a condo. Often, single-family homes are sold during the summer as you can usually get the biggest market when families look to get settled before their kids return to school. With condos, it really depends on where you are.

Summer lake houses in the North might be best sold between May and August. On the other hand, in Florida, snowbirds might be down anytime November through April. That same period of time that applies to Florida might equally apply if you were trying to sell in an area with a ton of ski slopes.

How To Prepare A Condo For Sale

To prepare to sell your condo, there are several things to think about. These include setting up your home for sale, deciding whether to use virtual staging or real furniture, considering marketing strategy and making any upgrades.

Staging

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, staging a home for sale offered increased home value in 52% of cases. In 23% of homes, the value of the home increased on proper staging by 1% – 5%, and in 18% of cases, prices went up 6%-10%. Higher increases all numbered in the single digits from a percentage perspective.

In the same report, it’s noted that staging helped buyers better visualize what the home was like 82% of the time. In 31% of cases, staging helped the home’s time on market decrease significantly. Meanwhile, 17% of the time, staging decreased the time between it going on the market and having an offer accepted.

When it comes to home staging, the important thing to know is that you want to have a home staged such that a buyer can get an idea of what it’s like to live in the space, but not so full that it feels cluttered. This is particularly important with condos, which often feature smaller spaces. One way to thread the needle here might be in taking advantage of virtual staging.

The tools available through virtual staging allow you to show pictures with and without furniture in place in the room. Some of the best tools may even offer your prospective buyers the ability to virtually put pictures of their own furniture in the room to get a sense of space.

Marketing

With virtual staging now a trend that’s on the upswing, it should be much easier to target buyers from across the country. Think big when you’re marketing and offer virtual tours for an audience that maybe can’t get to town just to look at the property. There are also some condo-specific things you want to highlight, such as HOA services and access to shared amenities.

If your association offers a swimming pool, clubhouse and tennis courts, be sure to highlight those things. This is in addition to the basics, like having well-lit pictures and noting the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

Make Upgrades

Condo shoppers are looking for many of the same things that single-family shoppers care about. This includes whether appliances are new, how recently flooring was installed and the state of HVAC systems, among many other things.

It’s important to note that you may be limited in the types of upgrades you can make because you often can’t do anything impacting the exterior, but the inside is your castle to do what you will with.

Not everything you do has to be a major expense. Sometimes it’s as simple as replacing bathroom vanities, caulking in the kitchen, new interior door handles and classy lighting. These updates can give the appearance of a home that’s really been spruced up.

FAQs

Now that we’ve gone over the basics, it’s time to touch on some of the more common questions asked by those looking to sell a condo.

How Long Does It Take To Sell A Condo?

How long it takes to sell a condo is going to depend largely on market conditions in your area as well as the desirability of the condo itself. In hot markets, condos may come off the market in as little as a day or two. In markets with many options, it may take a little longer. It’s really no different from any house in this respect.

Can A Condo Association Force An Owner To Sell?

This question can be a little bit complicated based on several factors, including how motivated the condo association is, the terms of your homeowners association bylaws and state law.

Often, condo associations have the right to place a lien on your property if you don’t pay your dues. In some instances, they may have the ability to use that lien to then foreclose on your property, but this is the less likely outcome.

How Do I Sell My Condo Without A REALTOR®?

Many people may choose to try to sell their condo without a real estate agent. The common reason for this is to avoid paying the commission. However, you should at least realize that you’ll likely end up paying something because buyers typically have an agent. The commission for the buyer’s agent is often customarily paid by the seller.

If you’re considering selling without a REALTOR®, you should know a few things. You’re responsible for handling the listing yourself, including either taking photos or hiring a professional photographer. If you don’t have a legal background, you may also want to consult an attorney because you won’t necessarily have a real estate agent to help handle the paperwork.

If you do decide that going the for-sale-by-owner route is right for you, a FSBO package might help with listings and paperwork.

Can You Sell A Condo With Tenants?

Put simply, yes. You can sell a condo with tenants. If the rental agreement is month-to-month, you may just have to give the notice required in your state to the renter. On the other hand, certain buyers might not mind taking on renters for a period of time if they can’t move in right away. If there’s a long-term lease, as long as the terms don’t change, those can be freely transferred to the new owner typically.

On the other hand, if your buyer isn’t really interested in taking on tenants and you need them to leave before you can sell in a long-term lease situation, you can essentially negotiate a buyout of the contract by offering them money to get into a new place. Just be aware that this can be expensive.

How Long Should You Own A Condo Before Selling?

There’s no magic number to determine when you should sell or how long to keep your condo. It’s very dependent on your goals and also market conditions. If you’re looking to maximize profits, you want to sell at the top of the market, but it’s a difficult thing to get the timing right. If the property is no longer working for you, it could be time to move on anyway.

Essentially, there is no right answer to this question. You just have to know how you’re feeling.

The Bottom Line: Selling A Condo Is A Science And An Art

In some ways, selling a condo isn't much different from selling a house. You want to play up the amenities and features of the home and the association, and there's a selling season. Depending on the people who buy condos in your area, though, that selling season may not be the same as it would be for a house. Additionally, the rules of condo associations can play a role in who you sell to and how the property is marketed.

Staging, proper marketing and the right upgrades play a huge role in getting as much money as you can. Virtual staging also opens up the market for your home to be potentially nationwide.

Ready to sell your condo? Let us help you find an agent in your area!

Table of Contents

    Kevin Graham

    Kevin Graham is a Senior Blog Writer for Quicken Loans. He specializes in economics, mortgage qualification and personal finance topics. As someone with cerebral palsy spastic quadriplegia that requires the use of a wheelchair, he also takes on articles around modifying your home for physical challenges and smart home tech. Kevin has a BA in Journalism from Oakland University. Prior to joining Quicken Loans, he freelanced for various newspapers in the Metro Detroit area.