Selling Your Condo? Here’s What to Expect

When it comes time to sell your condominium or one you’ve inherited, you’ll find that marketing it is decidedly different from a single family home. Though you’ll have an advantage of living in a community that’s well kept, thanks to the homeowners’ association. That’s something that owners in single family neighborhoods can’t control and have to deal with nearby homes which look like they ought to be condemned.

However, there are some unique challenges to selling a condo; unfortunately, you won’t have control over all of them. For instance, if the unit is in a community with a lot of properties for sale or several vacant properties, lenders won’t be eager to approve a mortgage in a high-risk purchase. You do, though, have a measure of control over other things.

For example, the interior of the unit. While you can’t just rip out all the plumbing and electrical work that’s shared with other units, you can pretty it up to make it salable. What you chose will be of the utmost importance; so, you’ll have to make the right decisions.


First and foremost, practically no matter the community you’re in, it’s likely that you’ll have a smaller space to work with. That’s fine, if you know how to make the most out of what you currently own. The trick is too create a sense of space so potential buyers will feel that it’s open, roomy, and comfortable. You can do this by staging it with smaller-scaled furniture.

“Thinking of selling your condo? Whether you live in the condo or own it as an investment property, if you’re ready to sell your home, it’s time to talk to a qualified real estate agent in your area. By evaluating several criteria, including regional markets, time of year, features of your condo unit, as well as your specific needs as the seller, he or she can create a customized marketing plan for your condo.” —Coldwell Banker

Before you do that though, it’s time to empty it out almost completely and give the floors a refresh. If it’s hardwood, have it buffed and shined or refinished. For carpets, a good deep cleaning will probably do the trick; but, if not, replace it.

A fresh coat of neutral paint in all the rooms is a great idea, as is refinishing the cabinets and countertops. Clear out the closets, leaving them about 20 percent to 30 percent full to make them appear larger.


While all this sounds like too much, going the extra mile will bring a return on investment. Not only will you improve the space to make it worth a bit more, you’ll also sell it quicker than your competition. Speaking of the competition, be sure to price your unit right. Too many homeowners make the mistake of basing their listing price on places currently for sale. The “asking price” isn’t the same as the “selling price”; so, look at comparable units which sold in the last three to six months.

With the right price and an improved space, you’ll get a lot more attention and sell your unit fast. However, there are a few obstacles to overcome along the way:

  • Homeowners’ association fees. For those who’ve never lived in a HOA community, the thought of having to pay a fee on top of a mortgage isn’t appealing. The best way to explain it is by reminding potential buyers they are investing in inevitable future repairs compared to not saving and having to come up with cash when something big happens.
  • Being so close to neighbors. Refocus people on the great features in the unit, as well as the many on-site amenities and alleviate any concerns by telling them how neighborly the community is and the great location.
  • Not being able to customize the home. Some potential buyers will raise this objection, stating they’d like to have more control over their own property and paint it a different color. You can agree with the sentiment then observe that the trade off is the neighbors can’t devalue your property by making crazy changes.
  • Floors off the ground level. For some homebuyers, if there’s a flight of stairs to be tackled, that might be a bit too much. Others may not mind if there’s an elevator. Pet owners will also have reservations, especially people with a dog. Having to go up and down a few times a day for potty breaks can be a burden.
  • Pet policies. Many HOAs put restrictions on not only pet size, but number and breed types. It could be a deal killer if the potential buyer isn’t aware of said policies well in advance. Be sue to make such policies very conspicuous in your listing.

If you approach selling your unit the right way, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.