Tips for Selling Your NYC Apartment or Condo


Before you show your apartment to any realtor or potential buyer optimize its sales appeal by effective staging. Effective staging can add at least 6% to your sales price and perhaps much more, according to professionals.  

If you have a flair for decorating, you can stage stage your apartment yourself by following the advice below. Alternatively you can hire a professional to do part or all of the staging.

Trullia contributors indicates the average cost of a professional stager is 1 % of the sales price but this can be higher in NYC depending upon the services required.

Regardless of how you decide to divvy up the tasks it's important that you understand what must be done. This knowledge should help make the staging process more effective for you.

The following is advice that we have  gleaned from individuals who have been successful in selling their housing rapidly in good markets and bad.


In summary you are going to:

  • De-clutter your apartment removing and storing accessories, magazines, books, most counter top items , extra clothes from your closets, excess artwork, personal items and older technology.
  • Arrange for a storage unit and advice.  You can call Sofia Storage Center at 212 873-3600 where for instance, a private oversized locker that will store 21 bankers boxes will run about $85/per month.
  • Once your apartment is rid of clutter, survey it for needed repair and upgrades.
  • Clean, repair, replace, repaint and remodel as necessary.
  • Invite decorating- conscious friends who will give frank opinions and then follow good advice.
  • Keep peace with your partner throughout this process.
  • Invite the top realtor in your area to view your apartment.


1. De-clutter!!!  Getting rid of clutter is first on every stager's list. Your goal here is to make your apartment look like an expensive hotel suite. Start by removing all but a few accessories from the tops of furniture.

Buyers want to be able to picture the room with their own things in it. Leave 1, 3 or max 5 accessories per room preferably arranged in an odd-numbered group. Odd number groupings of accessories have been shown by studies to be most eye appealing.  In this process, remove anything personal including family pictures, pipe collections, most of your art collection,  most books and all magazines, toothbrushes, soaps and shampoos from the shower etc.

Clean & Clear Counter Tops. Counter tops in the kitchen and bathroom and dresser tops in the bedrooms should again either be completely empty  or have 3 decorative accessories arranged in a group. Pack up old pots and pans and leave only a few new looking ones in your kitchen cabinets along with only one set of good dishes and glassware. Clear out the refrigerator and pantry leaving only a few attractive looking food items. Remove magnets, notes and pictures from the refrigerator door.

Bath & Closets. Have only one or two colors of coordinating towels in the bathroom.  Remove as much as possible from your medicine cabinet - buyers do look! Closet space is at a premium in New York and has been the decision point  on more than one apartment . Your clothes closets should be no more than half full. Pack the remainder in wardrobe boxes available from Sofia Storage Centers or other box sales stores.

Pack-up Now. Pack everything else in clean moving boxes.  Eat, give away or throw away excess food items. The mistake many busy New Yorkers make is trying to sell their Manhattan apartment with a lived-in look ..... it can be done but it will negatively effect the sales price.

Inventory for Storage. Once you know how many boxes of packed accessories you have, take an inventory of your furniture. Unless your apartment is already sparsely furnished, you are trying to identify between 1/4 and 1/3 of the furniture that you are going to temporarily store. A properly staged condo appears to have much more space than a truly lived in apartment. 

If you have a dining room or dining area list all but two or four dining room chairs for removal. If you have a china closet or breakfront either list it for removal or if possible, have the top section removed and leave the bottom section as a server. If you have two dressers in a bedroom, consider putting one on the list along with the coffee table in the living room.

If any or all of your furniture is in disrepair, remove it even if you have to rent a replacement.

Storing Art Work

Art Work. If you haven't taken down excess art work, do it now and pack it in a storage center art carton designed for size of the particular  painting, print or work of art.

Technology. Its best to use this an opportunity to get rid of all old technology in your apartment including old TV's and stereo systems, especially ugly wiring. It's okay to display flat screen TV's, laptops and e-pads but try to take a minimalist approach.

2. Arrange for a Storage Unit. Check if there is one available on a short term (3 month) basis in the basement of your building. If not, visit a storage center in your neighborhood with a list of the number of boxes you have packed for storage along with your list of furniture you will be storing. At Sofia Storage Centers, our storage specialist will help you choose just the right sized boxes, storage locker or room for your temporarily stored items. Call Sofia Storage Center at 212 873-3600.


3. Survey the Apartment You are Selling. Now that you have removed the clutter, take a survey of your condo or co-op's bones. You should first do this yourself and then get at least a second opinion - from a frank friend with a good sense of decorating. Even if your sensitive, getting constructive criticism can be the most important step in this process. Advice from three or four friends or associates can be even better but bring one in at a time.

Start by clearing your mind and look at the space as if you were seeing it for the first time. Ask you friend to do the same. Try to do this in an organized way starting with the floors and slowly working your way to the ceiling and writing down everything that needs to be corrected: 

  • Does the wooden floor have worn spots or large scratches?
  • Are vinyl or composite floors shining clean
  • Are both the tiles and the grout spotless in the bathroom and kitchen ?
  • Are all rugs and carpets clean?
  • Are floor vents clean and new looking?  
  • Are baseboards newly painted ?
  • Are heating and cooling units and their covers freshly painted or new looking?
  • Do the walls have cracks or need to be patched
  • Are the walls dirty? 
  • Are the windows and blinds/shades/drapes clean?
  • Are the doors clean ?
  • What do the ceilings look like ?
  • Are both the kitchen and bathroom(s) updated?
  • Is there still too much clutter or too many personal items out or in cabinets or closets?

4. Clean, Repaint, Repair, Replace and Remodel to compete in the New York Condo/Co-op or Loft Market.  As we said earlier,  of the major tasks needed to be done to stage your apartment,  you can either do them yourself or hire a professional to do them for you.

  • Remodel,  if the kitchen and/or baths need to be updated, do this first as it has the potential to create a great deal of dirt and dust. Some kitchen & bath remodelers provide free design services which can save substantial sums or you may prefer to use a designer or staging professional to help you through this project.


  • One word of caution. It is best to replace outdated appliance, cabinets and bathroom fixtures with the level of quality that your condo or co-op commands. For most in Manhattan this means higher end replacements. If you cannot afford remodeling, it is better to clean up existing appliances rather than installing cheap replacements. In this case, and only if your kitchen and baths are outdated,  you may want to replace just the sink and toilet and upgrade bath accessories adding quality toilet paper holder, towel bars and wall or chandelier lighting. Even in New York you should be able to do all this for between $1,500 and $3,000 using quality fixtures. Pendant lighting can make a big statement when placed over the kitchen counter. Only if absolutely necessary, replace the refrigerator, stove, microwave, dishwasher and faucet with new quality appliances.


  • Repair walls and ceilings as necessary, patching and painting. Nothing makes a difference like a fresh coat of paint. Consider painting the baseboards and ceiling moldings off-white and walls in neutral tones. Again you are looking to appeal to the broadest possible market and neutral colors will make a major contribution in that direction.  If you need to hide imperfections in walls and ceilings, flat paint is the best but is very difficult to clean. Generally  egg shell or semi-gloss are the best for living and bedrooms as they reflect more light, making the rooms appear larger, and can be washed.  Doors, baseboards and kitchens are areas that get dirty easily and are usually painted with high-gloss but if you are staging, you can also use egg shell or semi-gloss to cut down on the appearance of imperfections.  Selecting paint color can be tricky. The easiest way to stay safe is to pick a color card with 3 to 5 shades of a single neutral color, like beige, and then use the two or three lightest shades. 


  • Clean drapes and rugs if necessary. Even if they are clean, have a friend check for odors. Spray with an  upholstery "freshener" if there is the slightest hint of an odor.


  • Room odors. Since opening windows to air out New York City apartments is not an option, use a plug-in air freshener in each room. Do not cook smelly foods even if it means eating out or ordering take-out more often.


  • Clean Windows and blinds . New York City windows get filthy fast. Washing windows usually tops the most hated household task list. Give yourself permission to pay someone to clean your windows or if you are ambitious, do it yourself. Make sure your windows are cleaned at least once every three months that you have the apartment on the market. Hopefully you will only have to do this task once. At the same time clean blinds and shades and replace the latter if grungy.


  • Replace or repaint dirty, rusty heating and cooling vents and radiator covers.


  • Clean and repair floors. Hardwood floors are a desirable feature found in many older Manhattan condos and co-ops. If they show wear, they should be refinished. A 14'x22' living room should cost in the hundreds of dollars to be properly professionally refinished- sanded and stained with two coats of polyurethane .


  • Tile or natural stone floors can be cleaned with the proper commercial products as can grout. Vinyl or laminate flooring should be replaced if worn.  


  • Flowers are inexpensive in Manhattan but provide natural brightening to any room. As a     minimum, place a new floral arrangement in your living room once a week.


  • Have your decorating-savvy friend or friends give you a last critique and make final changes.

5. Realtor. Now find a great realtor to help you sell your apartment. Our sources have found that it pays to use a realtor who is a top seller in your neighborhood. Invite the realtor in to your staged apartment and ask them for any final staging advice.

6. Keeping Peace. If you have a spouse, partner, or a room mate, make sure you both understand and acknowledge that moving is ranked by psychologists as one of the most stress-inducing experiences in life. While you are both still relatively calm, stop and talk over the coming challenges - you'll get through them better if they are acknowledged rather than ignored until they hit you. When you do sell, do not engage in recrimination such as "We could have gotten more if you didn't leave your smelly socks around." Virtually everyone is affected to some degree by buyers and sellers remorse.  Beat this feeling by letting go and celebrating with that special somebody.

7. If you are so inclined, call Sofia Storage Centers at 212 873-3600 and tell us how your staging and sale went. For 103 years we have been accumulating anecdotes and information on storage related activities that we can share with our customers and neighbors.   


July 09, 2015

Having Sofia Storage in the neighborhood has proved time and time again to be an enormous asset to living in a small apartment in NYC. The space and facilities are always clean, well lit, and easily accessible. Friendly and welcoming staff is always available to help if needed. Highly recommend whether you're on the upper west side or anywhere in the city!

-Linda Coley

- Linda Bloom-Coley
June 02, 2015

I would like to comment on my experience using Sofia Storage at 83rd and Amsterdam Ave. in NYC. The entire staff; especially Medina, Francis, and Bob, were most helpful and courteous. It is refreshing to still find people in the business community with high integrity and a great smile. We will be recommending Sofia to all of our friends...

- Jim Wharton
April 23, 2015

It has been a very good place for storing personal items. Clean and easy access. Only downside was the walking distance from 72nd Street. We got a storage space in our building otherwise we would have stayed at Sofia Storage.

- Bernard Ryding
January 21, 2015

 It has been a truly pleasurable experience storing at Sofia Storage over the past 10 years. The facility is the cleanest facility I’ve ever rented from. The cost is very competitive, but the impeccable service is priceless and unparallelled. The staff was on hand to help move in and out, as well as any time I needed access to my unit...

- Sal Fichera
November 25, 2014

Best customer service ever!! The staff has been more than just helpful. They have gone above and beyond! Definitely a pleasant experience. Excellent in professionalism and courtesy. The facility is maintained in a very clean manner, with a very roomy and comfortable climate condition...

- Yamini Rastogi
November 18, 2014

Sofia has been great! Great staff. great service, great place. Thank you!

- S. Day

- Selim Day
November 11, 2014

Sofia Management was easy to work with and responsive to my requests. The premises were always well kept, and they are a very nice organization to work with.

- Erik Chiprich
October 01, 2014

I so appreciated the friendly and professional service that Sofia Brothers Storage has provided. Every person I've dealt with is attentive and happy to help, a pleasant surprise in a world of declining customer service.

- Jody Austin
July 02, 2014

A wonderful resource to have in the neighborhood. Courteous, safe, friendly - and most of all, a secure place to keep things one cannot part with.

- Stephen Pascal
April 29, 2014

I have had a storage locker at Sofia Storage on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan for more than sixteen years during which time I have not had a single problem or issue of concern regarding the staff or the facility. Indeed every one of the Sofia staff has been consistently professional, friendly and helpful...

- Chris Proctor
March 20, 2014

We have stored at Sofia Storage for four years. It seems unbelievable to say that going to your storage unit is a “pleasure” but it was! It is a place which is not only efficient and clean, but full of pride and accomplishment.  It is place where everybody from the bosses to everyone else employed there is not only courteous, but kind and pleasant to be with...

- Gay & Charles Lord
March 11, 2014

Very professional group of people. They accommodated my requests for help and were always gracious and understanding of my situation (moving & shipping stuff). There were no issues when I signed up and no issues now that I am ending my storage needs. It's great to have Sofia Storage in the neighborhood!

- Sally Albarado
February 28, 2014

I had the best storage experience with Sofia Storage. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful. Francis the elevator operator is a very special man, always helpful and a joy to be around. He became a neighborhood friend who I always enjoyed seeing and talking to, even if I wasn’t using the facility and was just passing by...

- Valentine Sheldon
February 27, 2014

Thank you! I cannot express this enough to the staff at Sofia Storage, especially Robert! Robert worked with me so professionally and patiently - a very nice man! The storage center is very well lit, extremely clean, and very safe. Sofia Storage is the best storage facility if you need a space!

- Louise Santos
February 25, 2014

I have never experienced such great service as I have with Sofia Storage Center. I have been a tenant here for 6.5 years and I have felt like I have known the people here all my life. Francis, Ron, and Mike were a huge help and made my everyday work experience easy and enjoyable. Being a family owned business really makes a difference and Sofia makes you feel like you are part of the family...

- Michael Libraty
January 27, 2014

I highly recommend Sofia Storage. Everyone was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. They provided easy access to the space and were always friendly.

-Brooke Derian

- Brooke Derian
January 01, 2014

Sofia Storage on W. 83rd & Amsterdam is a great facility.  The staff is helpful, nice & friendly.  We never questioned the safety of our belongings.  I only can say positive things about our experience there.

- Rachel Richardson
December 17, 2013

Great Customer Service !

Staff was great, especially warehouse staff. Friendly and very accomodating.

Overall, a great experience.


- Neil Peyroux
October 28, 2013

I have been storing my belongings at Sofia Storage since 1981!  For more than 30 years, I have experienced, without exception, nothing but courteousness, professionalism, and helpfulness. This is an unusually high level of customer service--rarely seen in any branch. The facilities are impeccably clean, organized, and secured, and the staff goes out of its way to create a personal and accommodating environment...

- Richard Goldstein
October 21, 2013

Sofia has been a great storage company. All the staff, including Francis and Harry, have always been helpful and polite.

Thank you!
Eric Schneck

- Eric Schneck