image of NYC apartments

As a buyer, you’ll likely never find out why a seller put their NYC apartment on the market.

Given the difficulties of acquiring homes in this city, you may wonder why NYC owners ever sell their apartments. There are many different factors that lead to such a decision. While sellers’ motivations may never become perfectly apparent, as a buyer, it’s good to understand some of the factors driving the decision to list a home. Let’s explore some of the main reasons an apartment owner might want to sell their pad.

Moving Out of the City

Maybe the owner has had it with cold winters and is moving to Los Angeles, or pursuing greener pastures in the suburbs. Owners wanting to get out of NYC, whether it be for a change of scenery, job, or family, is a common way properties arrive on the market. If the move is imminent, motivation to get the apartment into contract as soon as possible will be high. Obviously, the owner can move in advance of the apartment selling, but they will not want to carry the property’s monthly costs too long after they move.

Looking to Upsize

Perhaps the apartment owner has put in their time into the property, watching it appreciate while they saved money. Now, they’re looking to sell and move into something bigger. Whether going from a studio to a 1-bedroom, or a 1-bedroom to a 2-bedroom, upsizing is a core component of climbing the property ladder. If owners never sold, they’d never get something larger.

Buying an Apartment Together

An apartment owner may have been single for quite some time. Now that they’ve met their other half, they have dreams of buying an apartment together. That’s a big step in a relationship, likely the biggest financial decision a new couple will make. In the meantime, the old apartment needs to get sold.

A Growing Family

When a family is expecting, they’ll often look for a new space. Sometimes it isn’t immediately necessary, but as a child grows up, an apartment owner will usually begin to seek out that extra bedroom — and list their apartment for sale. Of course, this reason can be intertwined with the reasons above, such as moving to the suburbs or upsizing. A family may also get smaller because of a divorce or a child moving out, also resulting in a sale listing.

Change in Employment

Some job changes are good news, while others are not so good. If an apartment owner has been promoted, received a great bonus, or changed jobs to a higher-paying position, they may reward themselves with a new home. Maybe now they can afford that neighborhood they love, or something more convenient to their new job. On the flip side, an apartment owner may have had a recent loss in employment and be looking for some financial liquidity. Either of these reasons will result in a new sale listing.


These are all common reasons for an apartment owner to sell, but people in these situations may also choose to rent out their apartment and become landlords. And of course, this list isn’t exhaustive — many other circumstances could lead someone to sell their property. As a potential buyer, you may be interested to know why an owner is selling, but don’t expect to find out the details.

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