The Importance of a Real Estate Agent When Selling Your Manhattan Townhouse

The importance of a real estate agent when selling your townhouse - The Sussilleaux Team

The Critical Role Of Your Real Estate Agent When Selling Your Manhattan Townhouse

Selling your Manhattan townhouse can be both an exciting and daunting experience. With unique market dynamics and competitive pricing, navigating the complex world of Manhattan real estate can prove challenging. This is where the expertise of an experienced real estate agent comes in. This article will explore the importance of hiring a skilled real estate agent when selling your Manhattan townhouse and the various benefits they bring to the table.

Understanding the Manhattan Townhouse Market

The unique dynamics of Manhattan’s real estate

Manhattan is known for its distinct real estate market, characterized by high demand, limited inventory, and fluctuating prices. There are several factors that contribute to this unique landscape:

Population density and demand

Manhattan’s high population density results in a constant demand for housing, driving up prices and competition. Prospective buyers are willing to pay a premium for a piece of this bustling metropolis, and townhouses present the unique possibility of owning an entire building, either as a single-family home or multi-family dwelling. 

Architectural diversity

Manhattan townhouses come in various architectural styles, from classic brownstones to modern masterpieces. This diversity appeals to a wide range of buyers and contributes to the market’s complexity.  There is a constant demand for virtually all of the limited number of townhouses on the island of Manhattan.  They’re not making any more of them.

Historical value

Many townhouses in Manhattan have historical significance, further increasing their value and appeal to potential buyers. This factor can play a crucial role in determining the final selling price.

Market trends and pricing

Understanding current market trends and pricing is essential to maximizing the sale of your townhouse. Here are some key factors to consider:

Recent sales data

Recent sales data can provide valuable insight into the current market climate, allowing you to gauge the potential value of your townhouse.

Local neighborhood factors

Manhattan is divided into numerous neighborhoods, each with its own unique characteristics and appeal. The neighborhood where your townhouse is located can significantly impact its market value.

Seasonal considerations

Real estate sales typically follow seasonal patterns, with certain times of the year being more favorable for sellers. Being aware of these trends can help you plan your sale strategically.

The Critical Role of a Real Estate Agent in Selling Your Townhouse

Real estate agents play a central role in the selling process, offering expertise and guidance in various areas:

Local market expertise

Experienced real estate agents possess extensive knowledge of the local market, including:

Pricing strategies

Agents can help you determine an optimal listing price for your townhouse, factoring in current market trends, recent sales, unique property features, and an understanding of what buyers are looking and what they value the most.

Neighborhood-specific knowledge

A real estate agent familiar with your neighborhood can provide insight into local amenities, schools, and other factors that may influence buyer interest.  More importantly, having physically set foot in a large number of townhouses, experienced brokers, are able to determine where your property fits in compared to all the other unique townhouse properties in the area. 

Insight into buyer preferences

Agents are aware of buyer preferences and can suggest improvements or adjustments that will make your townhouse more appealing to potential buyers. 

Marketing and exposure

Effective marketing is crucial to attracting qualified buyers. This is where the myth of the “boutique broker” breaks down.  Boutique firms simply do not have the resources or talent to market your property to the fullest.  Large, well established firms have fully staffed and funded marketing departments to maximize the exposure of your property. 

Great marketing includes:

Professional photography

High-quality photos are essential for showcasing your townhouse in its best light. Agents work with professional photographers to ensure your listing stands out. 

Listing optimization

Agents can optimize your listing by crafting a compelling description, highlighting key features, and ensuring that it is visible on popular real estate websites.  This also includes advanced search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to bring your listing to the top of mind. 

Networking and buyer outreach

Experienced real estate agents have extensive networks, enabling them to connect with potential buyers and other agents who may have interested clients.

Negotiation skills

Veteran real estate agents are skilled negotiators, helping you navigate the often-complex process of:

Assessing offers

Your broker will provide guidance on whether to accept, reject, or counter an offer based on its terms and conditions.

Counteroffers and contingencies

Your broker will help you craft a strategic counteroffer and navigate contingencies, such as financing and inspection requirements.

Closing the deal

Agents facilitate the closing process, working hand in hand with your attorney, ensuring a smooth and timely transaction for both parties.

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent for Your Manhattan Townhouse

Selecting the right agent is a crucial step in the selling process. Here are some factors to consider:

Evaluating agent credentials

Before hiring an agent, it’s essential to examine their credentials, including:

Track record of success

Look for an agent with a history of successfully selling townhouses and potentially other high-end properties.  It’s important that your agent be comfortable dealing with the players at this higher price point.

Client testimonials

Read client reviews and testimonials to gauge an agent’s reputation and level of satisfaction among past clients.

Professional experience

Selling your townhouse is no place for a junior agent to start their career.  Perhaps everything will go smoothly with the sales process, but when there are wrinkles, that’s where experience shines. 

Assessing marketing strategies

Examine an agent’s marketing approach, focusing on aspects like:

Online presence and visibility

Ensure the agent, and their company, has a strong online presence, including a professional website and active social media accounts.  Importantly, above and beyond a professional website, you want to ensure that their website gets significant traffic.  Over 90% of searches are online, and the number keeps growing. 

Advertising and promotional efforts

Inquire about the agent’s advertising strategy, including the use of online advertising and direct mail campaigns.  Marketing is what brings people through the door. 

Open houses and showings

Ask about the agent’s approach to open houses and showings, as well as their plan for attracting qualified buyers.

Communication and rapport

Effective communication is key to a successful partnership with your agent. Consider the following:

Availability and responsiveness

Choose an agent who is readily available and quick to respond to your inquiries.  While it’s important that you choose a broker with a healthy business, you don’t want to be one of fifty current listings, and be unable to get the attention your property deserves. 

Who will you be working with?

Many of principals of the largest real estate teams will meet with you on a listing presentation, and this is the last your will see of them.  Their “job” is to get listings, and then they hand them off to junior agents on the team.  With the Sussilleaux Team, you will get Michael and Dina on your listing – we don’t hand off responsibility. 

Understanding of client goals

Ensure that your real estate agent understands your goals and priorities and is committed to helping you achieve them.  While it’s obvious that every seller wants the most money possible, every seller has unique constraints and requirements.  Make sure a prospective agent shows an active interest in what’s important to you. 

Trustworthiness and integrity

Select an agent who demonstrates honesty, transparency, and integrity throughout the selling process.  There are many opportunities for some brokers to cut corners in order to move the deal forward, but this can backfire and expose you, the seller, to harm. 

Preparing Your Townhouse for Sale with a Real Estate Agent

Once you’ve chosen an agent, it’s time to prepare your townhouse for sale. Your agent will assist you with:

Property assessment and recommendations

An agent will assess your townhouse and offer recommendations to maximize its appeal, including:

Repairs and improvements

Your broker can suggest necessary repairs or improvements to enhance your townhouse’s value and appeal to buyers.

Staging and presentation

Staging your townhouse effectively can create a lasting impression on potential buyers. Your agent may recommend a professional stager or provide tips for showcasing your home.

Pricing strategy and timeline

Your agent will help you develop a pricing strategy based on market conditions, your property’s unique features, and your desired timeline.

Legal and financial considerations

Navigating the legal and financial aspects of selling your townhouse is crucial. Your agent can assist with:

Disclosures and inspections

Your agent will guide you through required disclosures and coordinate any necessary inspections.  (Potential buyers will almost certainly want a professional home inspection, and you as the seller should be prepared for this.)

Financial pre-qualification of buyers

Your agent has a fiduciary duty to you to help ensure that buyers are financially qualified, reducing the likelihood of delays or complications.

Closing process

Your agent in conjunction with your attorney will manage the pre-closing phase, ensuring a smooth and timely closing.


In summary, hiring the right real estate agent when selling your Manhattan townhouse is essential for navigating the complex local market, effectively marketing your property, negotiating the best deal, and ensuring a smooth transaction. By choosing an experienced and knowledgeable agent, you’ll be better positioned to achieve your goals and maximize the value of your townhouse.

Further Reading

You can return to The Complete Guide to Manhattan Townhouses, or go to the preceding article: Negotiating and Closing the Deal: A Guide for Manhattan Townhouse Sellers , or move on to the first article in the Renovating and Maintaining Your Townhouse secton: Manhattan Townhouse Renovation: Ideas and Inspirations

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it typically take to sell a Manhattan townhouse?

The timeframe for selling a Manhattan townhouse can vary, depending on factors such as market conditions, pricing, and the property’s appeal. On average, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to many months to sell a townhouse in Manhattan.

What are the pros and cons of using a “boutique” real estate firm?

Boutique real estate firms claim to offer personalized, high-quality service along with “unique insights” into the local market. However, they have fewer resources than larger firms, which will adversely impact marketing efforts and property exposure.  While using a boutique broker as a buyer’s agent when looking to purchase may work, engaging a boutique real estate firm is doing a disservice to you as a seller. 

How can I determine if a real estate agent has enough experience selling Manhattan townhouses?

Find out how many years they’ve been in the business.  Review an agent’s track record of success on their website, including the number of townhouses they have sold and their experience with properties within your price range. Client testimonials can also provide valuable insights into an agent’s expertise.  Finally, speak with the agent in person and judge for yourself if this person displays the professionalism, experience, expertise, and integrity to best represent your property. 

What is the role of a real estate agent during the closing process?

During the closing process, a real estate agent coordinates and manages various tasks, including ensuring the completion of required disclosures and inspections, coordinating with your attorney, and facilitating communication between all parties involved.

Can I sell my Manhattan townhouse without a real estate agent, and what are the potential drawbacks?

It is possible to sell your Manhattan townhouse without a real estate agent, known as a “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) transaction. However, there are several drawbacks, including the need to navigate complex market conditions, handle marketing efforts, negotiate with buyers, and manage legal and financial aspects of the sale. Additionally, FSBO transactions invariably result in a lower sale price compared to working with a knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent.  The failure of FSBO sellers arises from three main factors: 

1.  Buyers of multimillion dollar properties are not stupid.  They know that you are attempting to save the commission for yourself.  Buyers will discount what they will pay accordingly.

2.  You do not have the resources available to a large real estate firm to properly market your property to the largest pool of qualified buyers possible.  You will be fishing in a very small pond. 

3.  You lack the years of experience pricing and negotiating real estate, and are at a severe negotiating disadvantage, even if you’re experienced in business negotiations.  Buyers – and their agents – know this, and that is why over 85% of FSBO sellers eventually hire a real estate agent to sell their property.

Michael Sussilleaux

Michael Sussilleaux

Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker

M: 917.647.1464

Dina Sussilleaux

Dina Sussilleaux

Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker

M 917.324.6158