By Mandy Sleight

Though many dream of owning a home, not everyone wants to handle the maintenance of a single-family property. For these homebuyers, a condo can be an attractive option, since the homeowners association handles much of the maintenance (and security and other perks). If you already own a condo, here’s what to expect when it comes time to sell and how to increase your odds of selling it quickly and for the most money.

How to sell a condo in five steps

1. Understand HOA considerations and limitations

While not all single-family homes are part of a homeowners association (HOA), all condos have one. As part of the HOA, you are bound by the contract between the association and you as the owner. There might be considerations or limitations to selling your condo, so read the contract carefully before going further. The contract can outline how and when you can show the condo and property amenities. If you live in a community with age or other restrictions, like a 55-and-over community, you’re restricted to selling to that demographic only.

Though it’s not common, some HOAs might also have a right of first refusal in the contract. This clause allows the association the right to make an offer and negotiate the contract first, before any other buyers. With this limitation, some mortgage lenders could shy away from offering a loan to a potential buyer.

2. Know the local condo market

Before you put your condo up for sale, research the competition, especially if there are other condos in your complex on the market. Take a look at the condo layout and features. How does your condo compare? If yours is dated and needs upgrades or repairs, it might be challenging to sell, or you might have to accept a lower offer. Consider making improvements, like upgrading kitchen appliances, if needed. If your condo is more up-to-date, make sure to highlight these qualities when it’s listed.

In addition, compare the maintenance fees and amenities with other condos on the market that aren’t in your complex. Finally, call out your community’s strengths in your listing to help your condo outshine the competition.

3. Work with an experienced real estate agent

Just like competitor research, check out local real estate agents and, ideally, find one who specializes in condo sales. The right real estate agent — one who understands the market and location — can make all the difference in garnering a quick sale at or above your asking price. A skilled agent can also help your condo stand out from other for-sale condos in the same community.

4. Time the sale

Though spring is usually one of the better times of year to sell a home, the right time to sell a condo varies by location and market demand. For example, homebuyers looking to relocate to a hotter climate will usually look during the winter and early spring months to get away from the cold. Those looking to move to a colder climate will most likely look in the summer so they can be settled in time to enjoy the snowy weather.

5. Prepare for sale

Work with your real estate agent on a marketing and pricing strategy to prepare for sale. The right price is a price that isn’t so high it limits potential buyers from looking or so low that it prevents you from making a decent return on your investment. 

Complete any upgrades before listing pictures are taken. You should also decide if home staging is worth the investment, or if the less costly virtual staging is a better choice. (With more buyers purchasing homes sight unseen, virtual staging may be the right choice for a quick sale.) The Profile of Home Staging report from the National Association of Realtors found that 23 percent of staged homes saw higher offers of 1 percent to 5 percent over the asking price.

Condo sale FAQ

Are condos easier or harder to sell?

Whether condos are easier or harder to sell comes down to homebuyer preferences and the HOA. If there are high monthly maintenance fees that don’t translate to a high value, for example, that could deter buyers. If the buyer needs a mortgage, the HOA’s savings reserves are taken into consideration, which could make finding a buyer more challenging if the HOA’s finances aren’t in sound shape.

Can you sell a condo with tenants?

Yes, you can sell a condo with tenants, as long as the homebuyer agrees to the existing terms in the tenant’s contract. You’ll likely have to give notice to the renters, letting them know the condo is being sold. If the buyer doesn’t want to be a landlord, you might have to offer a buyout to the tenant, which could be expensive.

How long does it take to sell a condo?

How long it takes to sell a condo depends on the location and housing demand in the area. If priced well and in a competitive market, a condo could sell in a few weeks. Though condos usually sell faster than single-family homes in a slow market, it could still take several months to sell.

This article is also posted on Bankrate here.