5 Ways Selling a Condo Differs From Selling a House

In this rapidly changing housing market, understanding how to sell your property can make the difference between a stagnant listing and a fast-moving sale.

By Mel Childs | Published Sep 16, 2022 10:52 AM

selling a condo

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Selling a condo, townhome, or house can be daunting, and if you’re a condo owner, your sales tactics need to be tailored to your property type. If you can market your condo or townhouse well, you could find plenty of buyers to purchase it fast. You need to understand the ways in which selling your condo differs from selling a single-family home and how those differences impact your next move.

RELATED: The Best Home Warranties for Condos

1. A condo has different buyers.

selling a condo

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As a condo owner, you may be worried about selling because you believe everyone wants a house. However, buying a house, with its upkeep and lack of amenities, isn’t for everyone. This is particularly true if you live in one of the best cities for downsizing. Marketing your property to the right buyers, often those who don’t have children or whose children are grown and flown, will give you the advantage you need to make the sale.

If you and your listing agent can play up features of your condo that appeal to people without children or people who prefer a low-maintenance lifestyle, this could get your condo off the market fast.

2. A condo is usually a turnkey property.

selling a condo

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In weighing the pros and cons of buying a condo, potential homeowners might be looking for a property that’s move-in ready. These buyers don’t want to spend the time or money on countless projects just to get their home in livable condition. They want a turnkey property.

Emphasizing that your condo is in pristine condition and won’t need updates also demonstrates the care and maintenance you’ve put into the property while you owned it. So if your condo does need work, go ahead and invest in painting, updating floors, and fixing whatever is broken to make your condo marketable to more buyers.

RELATED: Are Open Houses Still Worth It?

3. Staging and marketing a condo could be easier.

selling a condo

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You may be tempted to leave your condo barren and allow potential buyers to see the bones of each room. However, staging the space could lead to a quicker sale, as many buyers have trouble visualizing their belongings in each room. Staging can help buyers visualize their daily lives in the condo.

Since you likely won’t have as much area to furnish, staging a condo could be easier and quicker than staging a house. The right environment also increases the perceived value and helps buyers make an emotional connection to the property.

Once you have your condo staged, your marketing will reflect an inviting home in the listing photographs. While it may be tempting to pull out your smartphone and start snapping photos to add to your listing, a better option would be to hire a professional photographer who specializes in real estate photos. A pro is experienced in taking pictures that maximize space and use light to make your condo look its best.

When you’re ready to list the condo, be sure to consider all the wonderful things that make it unique. Don’t shy away from showcasing features that make the property different from a house, which doesn’t have the amenities and features a condo offers. A condo on an upper floor may boast a great view of the city for relaxing after work, or a condo on the first level might have a terrace that’s perfect for dining alfresco. If your community has a gym, concierge services, a swimming pool, green spaces, and other great amenities, include these selling points in the listing.

RELATED: 7 Digital Tools That Can Help Sell Your House

4. Buyers may have trouble with financing. 

selling a condo

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Some buyers looking for a condo will have more limited financing options than the traditional home buyer. While condos do qualify for conventional loans, FHA loans, and VA loans, lenders may not want to take a risk on condos.

The reasons for denial of a loan may not have to do with the buyer but with the condo association. If a lender feels that a condo is unsafe, doesn’t have enough insurance coverage, or has too many residents who are behind on condo association fees, a deal may fall through regardless of whether the buyer is qualified or not.

The loan process may be out of your control, but how you present the condo association fees is your choice. These fees can be as little as $50 or as much as $1,000 per month in addition to the mortgage payment. This extra monthly fee may be a turn off for some home buyers who don’t have the budget for the expense. However, if you present the fees along with a list of amenities and services covered by the cost, potential buyers might see the value in that extra investment.

RELATED: 15 Things Not to Say in Your Real Estate Listing

5. Comps are a little complicated.

selling a condo

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As with listing a house, if the price for your condo is too high, buyers won’t be interested. On the other hand, if it’s too low, you’ll likely lose out on a substantial amount of money. If you and your listing agent can price your condo right, it can move fast.

Using the comps for condos in your community–comparable sales that show what buyers have paid for properties similar to yours–will give you a more accurate pricing goal than guessing based on what you think the property is worth.

However, don’t assume that your condo will sell for what the comps did. If you live in the middle of the building, don’t expect to get as much as someone on a penthouse level. Likewise, don’t compare your condo to someone who lives on a terrace level if you live on a level with a balcony. To ensure you list your condo properly, working with a top-rated real estate agent is a good idea.