3 Tips for Condo Sellers

Thinking about selling your condo? Follow these tips to help make your property more appealing to potential buyers.

Although opportunity for sellers has improved as buyers have come out of hiding, success still requires that you clean, declutter, repair and stage your property. For perspective, attend some open houses to check out your competition.

SEE OUR SLIDE SHOW: What $250K Buys You in Today's Condo Market

Hire a listing agent who specializes in condos who will market your property aggressively. Great photographs are key, and including a floor plan in the listing is useful, too. In Chicago, agent Connie Atterbury, of Dream Town Realty, likes to "virtually stage" empty units. Furniture is Photoshopped into pictures to entice buyers to visit and help them visualize how their furniture would look.

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Set a price that's justified by recent comparable sales. If you don't, you run the risk of having your property languish on the market at an inflated price, says agent Stewart Penn, in Los Angeles (see our story: How to Sell Your Home Fast).

If you live in a well-run community, get a set of condo docs from your asso­ciation management company (you'll pay a fee) that will help you answer prospective buyers' questions. (You must do this again after you have a contract, to provide the most current financial infor­­mation.) "You can give a potential purchaser a clear snapshot of your community and make it more attractive for them to buy," says Donna DiMaggio Berger, a lawyer specializing in condo association law in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "That is, unless you're living in a horrible place. Then keep mum and hope for the best."

This article first appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. For more help with your personal finances and investments, please subscribe to the magazine. It might be the best investment you ever make.

Patricia Mertz Esswein
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Esswein joined Kiplinger in May 1984 as director of special publications and managing editor of Kiplinger Books. In 2004, she began covering real estate for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, writing about the housing market, buying and selling a home, getting a mortgage, and home improvement. Prior to joining Kiplinger, Esswein wrote and edited for Empire Sports, a monthly magazine covering sports and recreation in upstate New York. She holds a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.