Chicago Condo Seller's Guide
Are you looking to sell a Chicago condo? Even if you're just considering it, it's important to have a good understanding of what to expect. Many people purchase condos as first homes before they can afford something larger, or as part-time secondary residences, while others simply enjoy living in the heart of the city. Either way, most condo-owners think of their apartments as at least partially an investment, and hope to get a solid return on that investment down the line when it's time to sell. As a result, selling your Chicago condo is something you want to handle properly, with good representation from a Chicago real estate agent, and a full grasp of the steps involved. This guide will prepare you for your sale by providing an overview of the selling process.
1. Why Sell Your Chicago Condo?
There are many reasons to sell your Chicago condo. If you purchased it as a first home, perhaps when you were a student or a young professional, you may be ready to move into a larger home—and selling your condo will help you afford the upgrade. This is especially true if you're moving because your family is growing—while many Chicago condos are large enough to accommodate a whole family, you probably won't have purchased one that size as your first residence. Another reason to sell your Chicago condo is if it's a secondary residence that you no longer need. Many people have business ties to Chicago that bring them here for only part of the year. If you no longer have those ties, it may not make sense to keep a residence here.
Finally, you may just be selling your Chicago condo in order to move into another one. If your needs have changed, or if your wealth has increased, you may be interested in relocating to a condo with a better view or more space. If that's the case, then it generally makes financial sense to sell your old apartment.
Contact Terri McAuley to discuss your condo and find out if selling it is in your best interest!
2. Finding a REALTOR®
Even more than when you're buying, finding a highly skilled REALTOR® to represent you is essential when selling your Chicago condo. Selling any property requires a number of complex and difficult steps, including marketing the home, negotiating a good deal, and ensuring that all paperwork and legal issues are perfectly taken care of. If done badly, this process can lead to a lower sale price or problems down the road. A good Chicago real estate agent knows how to handle all of these stages of the process like an expert, saving you a lot of time and hassle. Best of all, they take their compensation from the sale price of the house, effectively costing you nothing!
Finding a great Chicago real estate agent to represent you in the buying process doesn't have to be difficult. First, ask your friends for referrals—there's no substitute for a first-hand account of an agent's skills. Second, look online to find REALTORS® with a great reputation, and ask them to put you in touch with their former clients. Good agents are happy to connect prospective and past clients, as they know that word of mouth is the best testimonial.
3. Setting a Price
The first step to selling a Chicago condo is to determine the asking price. If you purchased the condo as an investment, you may not even want to sell until the market reaches a point where you can ask a certain price. But even in a good market, there's an art to getting the highest possible price. For one thing, you'll need to think of your asking price not as the minimum price that you'd be willing to accept for your condo, but as part of the marketing of that condo. Often, a lower asking price will garner more interest, and competition among buyers will result in a higher final sale price than you could have asked for. However, there's a balancing act to price-setting that really benefits from an expert's touch, which is one of the reasons that it's so important to have a professional on your side.
The other way that your agent will help you set the right price is by understanding the current Chicago real estate market inside and out. There are so many factors that determine the price of a home, including the sale prices of other, similar homes and the unique advantages your condo might have. Since no two properties are the same, it takes a trained eye to identify exactly what improvements or special amenities will enhance the cost, and by how much.
4. Getting Your Condo Ready To Sell
When you've a good REALTOR® and decided that the price is right, you'll want to prepare your condo for sale. Essentially, to make sure that your condo is as attractive as possible to prospective buyers, you'll want to remove everything that makes the condo distinctly yours. That means getting rid of coats and shoes (make the entrance to your home as inviting as possible), towels (replace them with fresh, new, white ones), kitchen appliances (to make the kitchen look perfectly clean), and more—all so that you can present your condo not as your home, but as a space that could become the home of your buyer. Cleaning up and reducing clutter is essential, but it's not enough to just shove everything into closets. You'll be best off moving most of your belongings into storage, which has the benefit of helping you get started with your move.
You'll also want to take care of a few other aspects of your condo to make the selling process easier. Gather any and all relevant document, from tax files to utility bills, so that you can present buyers will all the information they might ask for about the ongoing costs of your condo. It's also worth making a spare key for your real estate agent, so that you don't have to go through the hassle of opening your place up every time a buyer wants to visit it. Take care of these steps in advance, and you'll make the selling process almost effortless down the line.
5. Marketing and Showing Your Home
Marketing your home is one of the keys to getting the attention of prospective buyers. Without good marketing, even the most desirable condos might languish on the market for months. And good marketing is often the best way to raise the final sale price, since interested buyers may be willing to outbid one another. A good Chicago real estate agent will know how to implement every marketing trick, including displaying your condo online to showing your listing to interested buyers they know.
Once buyers are interested, your real estate agent will show them your condo, presenting it in its best light and letting prospective buyers see firsthand what an attractive option it is. After all, photographs can only go so far when it comes to capturing your impressive lakeshore view, or the size of your master suite. Once a few buyers have seen the home, the offers should begin to come in.
6. Negotiating the Best Deal
While you might be happy with the first offer you get, chances are that you'll get offers below your asking price. And there's more to an offer than the dollar amount—prospective buyers might include stipulations that you make certain modifications to the condo, or that you move out by a certain date. There are also questions of how much a buyer is willing to put on the line as a deposit, and whether or not they've been pre-approved for a loan. With all of these factors to consider, you and your REALTOR® will be able to sort through everything to determine the best offers, and then make counter offers with a better price or more favorable terms.
Any good real estate agent will be an expert on negotiations, which means that they'll be able to represent your interests and ensure that you get a final deal that satisfies you. You can be as involved as you want with negotiations, whether that's sitting at the table with your agent or consulting with them from afar. No matter what, you can rest assured that your sale is in good hands.
6. Closing the Deal
Once a deal has been reached by both sides, it will be time for the most exciting part of any real estate transaction: paperwork! But don't worry—your real estate agent will handle all of the paperwork for you, and make sure that the transaction goes smoothly. Once the deal is closed, you'll have to move out by the agreed-upon date, and hand ownership of your sky-high apartment to its next occupant.
And that's that! You can enjoy the satisfaction of having made your way through one of life's most intimidating processes. Whether the condo was initially purchased as an investment or you're upgrading to a larger home, you'll likely have profited from the sale, and made the most of your asset. And don't be surprised if you find the process a bit addictive&mash;it's not uncommon for the first sale to be a gateway drug into becoming a serious real estate investor . . . .
Whether you're a first-time seller or an experienced real estate guru, everyone benefits from having the best representation in Chicago. Contact Terri McAuley to find out more about how best to sell your Chicago home!