What to Know About Selling a House in New York State
DISCLAIMER: As a friendly reminder, this blog post is meant to be used for educational purposes only, not legal or financial advice. If you need assistance navigating the tax implications, disclosures, or legalities of selling a house in New York State, HomeLight always encourages you to reach out to your own advisor.
Looking to sell a home in New York State? In a shifting housing market, the prospect of entering into a major real estate transaction can seem daunting — especially if you’re unsure about the steps involved. By learning as much as possible about the process and knowing what to expect, you’ll be much better positioned to have a smooth, successful New York State home-selling experience.
How should I price my New York home?
Obviously, every seller wants to get the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time — so what’s the best path to get there? If you’re selling on the open market in New York State, choosing the right price is one of the most important steps.
In the current shifting market, top real estate agent Sharon Quataert, who works with over 85% more single-family homes than the average area agent, says one of the biggest mistakes sellers can make is to overprice.
In her market — Monroe County in upstate New York — Quataert says they haven’t seen as much of a downturn as other areas. A single-family house in Monroe County was selling at a median price of $221,000 in June 2022, which was 9.1% more than the prior year. By the end of 2022, even after three additional interest rate hikes, the median listing price in the county was still trending up 3% year over year.
This may lead some sellers to assume they should escalate their asking price, but Quataert has seen that strategy backfire.
“Because there is still high demand and sellers assume that buyers expect to pay over list price, that may lead sellers to price too aggressively,” she explains. “But this can lead to a house taking too long to sell.” Instead, she says it’s best to price a home at the market value to attract more buyers, and then multiple bids could potentially drive up the ultimate sale price.
Top agents agree that it’s important for sellers to be realistic about their home’s value. Overpricing your home will make it harder to sell, while underpricing it could see you leaving money on the table. The best way to determine an accurate price is to partner with a real estate professional, such as an experienced agent or home appraiser. They will be able to give you a realistic idea of what your home is worth in the current market.
Dennis Shirshikov, a strategist at Awning.com, a real estate company for investors, says sellers are better off pricing a home a little lower and attracting some extra bids. “You’re not obligated to even accept, and the lower price does the marketing for you,” he points out. “On the other hand, if you overprice a property, it will get lost in the shuffle and you’ll get a bunch of people trying to lowball you for it.”
An experienced real estate agent can help you price your home through a comparative market analysis or CMA. This is a report that agents use to calculate the value of a home by evaluating its size, location, features, age, and other details in relation to similar nearby properties that have recently sold.
Curious about what your home might be worth right now? HomeLight’s online Home Value Estimator tool can provide you with a preliminary estimate of your home’s worth.
How much will I make selling my New York State home?
Once you’ve accepted an offer on your New York State home, you’ll have to deduct all of the expenses associated with the sale to arrive at your total proceeds. This state’s closing costs are some of the highest in the country. Sellers can expect to pay an average of 8% to 10% of the total sales price after combining all of the main costs that sellers must cover when selling a home in New York.
Estimated closing costs when selling a New York home
- Transfer taxes: For every $500 of the sale price, the seller will have to pay $2 in real estate transfer tax. That means for a $750,000 sale, the transfer tax will be $3,000. There is also an extra 1% tax added for homes that sell for $1 million or more.
- Attorney fees: Unlike some other states, New York law requires that real estate attorneys attend all closings, which means the seller must cover that cost. In New York, the typical range is $1,500 to $4,000 per transaction.
- Real estate commission: On average, sellers can expect to pay 6% for real estate commissions, which are split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents. That means if the sale price is $400,000, the total real estate commission payout would be $24,000.
- Escrow fees: In many cases, the seller is expected to cover some of the fees paid to the third-party escrow company that is holding the buyer’s earnest money between contract and closing. This is typically 1%-2% of the sale price, and is negotiable between the buyer and seller.
- Home inspection fees: The average cost of a home inspection in New York ranges from $300-$400.
- Appraisal fees: The seller usually covers the cost of getting a professional appraisal to determine the home’s value. The average cost for an appraisal is between $313-$421.
- Repair, renovation, and staging costs: These will vary widely based on the condition of the property. For an older home that’s had less maintenance, it can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get it ready to list and show. A home that’s been regularly maintained may entail much less investment in this area.
- Seller concessions: Depending on whether issues are found during the home inspection process, the seller may have to come up with funds at closing to cover any necessary repairs.
HomeLight’s Net Proceeds Calculator can help you estimate the cost of selling your home and the net proceeds you might earn from the sale.
What do I have to disclose when selling a house in New York State?
According to N.Y. Real Prop. Law §§ 460-467, home sellers in the state are legally required to disclose any property defects of which they are aware. The disclosure statement must be provided to the buyer at least 10 days before the contract is signed.
The Property Condition Disclosure Statement (PCDS) is required by law to be provided to potential buyers for all properties containing a dwelling unit that is being offered for sale in New York State. The PCDS must contain information about the property’s current condition, including any known or suspected defects or problems. “This disclosure can help buyers protect themselves from any potential problems with the property,” explains Shaun Martin, a real estate investor and investment advisor based in Denver, Colorado, who has recently expanded his business to buy and sell properties in New York.
If the seller does not wish to complete the disclosure, they also have the option to pay a credit of $500 to the homebuyer at closing, per New York Real Property Law – RPP § 465. While many sellers typically opt to skip the disclosure and opt for the more convenient $500 payout, Quataert is seeing more buyers assuming the increased responsibility of completing disclosures in the competitive market.
What documents do I need to sell a home in New York State?
Anyone selling a home in New York State is required to submit the following documents:
- Disclosure form (in New York, per the Property Condition Disclosure Act, sellers must either fill out a disclosure form or pay a $500 credit to the buyer)
- Final purchase agreement
- Signed deed
- Bill of sale
- Affidavit of title
- Closing statement
- Most recent tax statement
- Two forms of ID
How should I prepare my New York home for sale?
The condition of the property is a significant factor for buyers in New York. Buyers often prefer properties that are in good condition and do not need significant repairs or renovations. Properties that require significant work may sell for a lower price than those that are in better condition.
Quataert sees this trend in her New York market, particularly among younger buyers “Millennials are looking for homes that have been updated, and don’t want to have to invest in improvements.”
That said, you likely don’t want to spend too much time and money on extensive renovations. There are three levels of prep that buyers can pursue:
- Level 1 – Select improvements: Some needed repairs, but not everything
- Level 2 – Turnkey: Completely repaired or remodeled from top to bottom, move-in ready
- Level 3 – “As is”: Minimal improvements (if any), which is reflected in the price
In most cases, sellers will opt for Level 1 or Level 3. “There’s no need to overdo it with repairs,” says Shirshikov. “Instead, give people the space to make an assessment and communicate your flexibility to complete certain repairs for a higher price commitment.”
What to do before selling:
- Clean and declutter
- Deep-clean or replace the carpet
- Remediate any water damage
- Make sure appliances are in working order
- Deep-clean and spruce up bathrooms
- Freshen up paint or repaint with neutral colors
- Spruce up curb appeal
- Stage the property
- Make sure all driveways and walkways are clear of snow
- Make repairs that are required by law
What not to do before selling:
- Fix driveway or walkway cracks
- Replace appliances that are older but are still in working order
- Make small cosmetic upgrades that won’t have a big impact
- Replace a roof
- Repair foundation cracks
Learn more: See our HomeLight’s resource page: Prepare Your Home for Sale
Preparing for the home appraisal
Most New York lenders will require a home appraisal to be completed before approving a mortgage. Sellers can increase the chances of a smooth appraisal by following this convenient checklist:
- Understand the role of appraisers and what they’re looking for
- Research your home’s value ahead of time
- Prepare a list of upgrades you’ve made to your home
- Gather all relevant paperwork (tax receipts, HOA documents, school report cards, and nearby attractions like parks and shopping centers)
- Make sure the appraiser can easily access areas like the basement, crawl space, and attic
- Clean and declutter the home, and secure any pets
Learn more: See HomeLight’s seller resource page: Home Appraisals
Preparing for the home inspection
Most buyers will want to have a professional inspection done before finalizing the purchase of a home to ensure that there are no hidden problems that could potentially cost a lot of money to fix. As the seller, you can choose to have the inspection done before listing the home. This way, you can make any necessary repairs and avoid any potential issues that could arise during the sale.
To help ensure that the inspection goes as smoothly as possible, sellers can complete any necessary repairs that emerged during the pre-listing inspection. They should also ensure that the inspector can access key areas like the basement, attic, electrical panels, fireplaces, HVAC, plumbing, and exterior buildings.
Learn more: See HomeLight post: How To Prepare for a Home Inspection
What if my New York home needs repairs I can’t afford?
An experienced agent will know how to help you find a solution to any selling situation, even a home that needs repairs you don’t think you can afford. Top agents often know and work with local contractors, have connections with cash investors, or may have knowledge of bridge programs to help you repair your home and sell it for a higher price, allowing you to repay the funds after the sale.
You can also request a no-obligation quote from a platform like HomeLight’s Simple Sale, which will let you compare an all-cash purchase offer with what a top agent in your market might be able to get for your home. We’ll share details about cash offers and other selling options later in this post.
What are some tips to market my house for sale in New York?
To set your house apart from others on the market, it’s a good practice to highlight the features that are in demand among New York buyers, including:
- Pools: Quataert points out that inground pools are currently selling at an increased premium in her upstate New York market.
- Extra space: “Since COVID, younger families are looking for more space,” explains Quataert. “They are spending more time at home and want larger yards, outside of congested suburbia.”
- Central air: In Shirshikov’s experience, central air conditioning is now a major premium in New York, especially in older homes that are much more difficult to retrofit.
- Proximity to public transportation: This is a highly sought-after feature among buyers in New York State. Properties located near subway lines or bus routes are often more desirable and may sell for a higher price than those that are not as conveniently located.
- Proximity to amenities: Buyers in New York State also tend to prefer properties that are close to amenities like restaurants, shopping, and parks.
- Size of the property: Another factor that is often considered when buyers are looking at properties in New York State is the size of the home or apartment. Many buyers prefer larger homes or apartments, but there are also some buyers who prefer smaller, more intimate spaces.
Shirshikov also points out that although many marketing strategies are effective across all states, there is the additional opportunity in New York to list a property in newspapers. “At price points over $1 million, this kind of advertising starts to make sense,” he says.
When is the best time to sell my house in New York?
While Quataert maintains that there’s never a bad time to sell, the general consensus is that properties sell the fastest in New York during the summer months. According to the New York State Association of Realtors, the average number of days on market (DOM) in those months was considerably less than the remainder of 2022:
- December 2022: 55 days
- November 2022: 48 days
- October 2022: 46 days
- September 2022: 42 days
- August 2022: 40 days
- July 2022: 41 days
- June 2022: 46 days
- May 2022: 62 days
- April 2022: 70 days
- March 2022: 66 days
- February 2022: 64 days
- January 2022: 57 days
For a custom recommendation on the best and worst months to sell your specific property, enter your information into HomeLight’s Best Time to Sell Calculator.
What are my home-selling options in New York?
The main options to sell a house in New York include:
List with the help of a real estate agent
A great real estate agent will provide guidance and expert advice throughout the process of listing and selling your home. An experienced agent can help you set an appropriate selling price, provide preparation and presentation tips, will know the best marketing strategies for your market, and will work to find the best buyers. A top agent can help reduce hassles and headaches, and save you time and money.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), about 90% of home sellers work with a real estate agent.
Sell by owner (FSBO)
This option, called “for sale by owner” or “FSBO,” is less common. Only about 10% of sellers take this route, according to NAR. Of those, 50% already knew the buyer of the home.
Most FSBO sellers are looking to avoid paying a commission to a seller’s agent, also called a listing agent. The total commission for a home sale normally falls between 5%-6% of the sale price, which the listing agent will split (typically around 50-50) with the buyer’s agent. FSBO sellers still need to pay the buyers’ agent, meaning they save about 3% of their sales price overall.
Statistically, properties sold FSBO sell for less than agent-listed homes. According to a recent NAR report, FSBO homes sold for a median price of $225,000 compared to a median price of $345,000 for agent-assisted sales.
Sell directly to a cash buyer
If you need to sell your home fast, or just need a low-stress transaction — perhaps to sell an inherited home or a distressed property — another option is to work directly with a property investor or house-buying company rather than list on the open market.
Some examples of cash buyers include:
- iBuyers: Instant buyers, known as iBuyers, are real estate technology companies that buy homes. These companies, such as Opendoor and Offerpad, have front-facing websites where customers can request near-instant virtual offers on their homes. iBuyers allow sellers to skip repairs and showings and tend to provide cash offers that are closer to market value than other types of home investors and flippers.
- Simple Sale: Simple Sale is a HomeLight platform that provides a cash offer to buy your home, which allows you to skip repair costs, showings, and agent commissions. Simply provide a few details about your property and you’ll receive a no-obligation all-cash offer in as few as 72 hours. If you accept a Simple Sale cash offer, you can close in as little as 10 days. It’s one of the fastest, most convenient ways to sell a home in New York.
- We Buy Houses investor groups: We Buy Houses operations typically buy homes at a discounted rate and generally seek out homes in need of significant repairs. These companies can help sellers cash out quickly and many will cover a seller’s closing costs.
If you are considering a cash offer from an investor group, vet the company thoroughly. The level of experience, integrity, and customer service you experience can vary. Some are established franchises that strive to maintain consistent standards. Others are small groups or individuals that may not have a proven track record. Check reviews, read testimonials, and research the company’s presence and performance in the market.
And, of course, read any buying agreement carefully before signing.
How can I find a top-performing real estate agent in New York?
HomeLight can connect you to the top-performing agents in your New York market. This free tool analyzes over 27 million transactions and thousands of reviews to determine which agent is best for you based on your needs.
Our data shows that the top 5% of real estate agents across the U.S. sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average real estate agent.
More insider tips to sell your New York home
With so much to consider when selling a house in New York, expert insights can be your most valuable tool. We collected a few more insider tips from agents and investors who have bought and sold in the state:
- In New York, all real estate contracts must be in writing, per the Statute of Frauds. This means that any verbal agreements made between the buyer and seller are not legally binding.
- One key aspect of selling a home in New York State is understanding the different types of real estate contracts that are commonly used. The most common contract used when selling a home in NYS is called an “as is” contract. This type of contract specifies that the seller is selling the property “as is,” which means the buyer will be responsible for any necessary repairs or renovations.
- It may be worthwhile to get a pre-listing inspection to rule out any major issues. Some common problems in New York that can delay or derail deals include termite activity, faulty electrical wiring, old windows that are inefficient or don’t close properly, broken or missing roof shingles, and leaky pipes or faucets.
Ready to sell your house in New York?
Regardless of region, selling a home inevitably involves countless details and considerations, but there are also some special considerations when it comes to New York real estate transactions.
Armed with the right information and an expert in your corner, you’ll be equipped to take the next step with confidence. HomeLight can connect you with top-performing agents in New York who have the local experience and market knowledge to successfully guide you through every step of the home-selling journey.
Header Image Source: (Jermaine Ee / Unsplash)