Ohio’s booming capital may seem like a seller’s dream, but if you want to sell your house fast in Columbus, you need to know these tricks. —-
If you’re looking to sell your house in Columbus fast, you’ve timed your home sale perfectly. Columbus grew by 10,000 residents between 2018 and 2019 alone, landing it on the Census Bureau’s list of the fastest-growing American cities. More residents translate to more homebuyers — far more than the housing inventory can keep up with. The city’s strong buyer demand and low-inventory have created a seller’s market for six years running that has encouraged homes to appreciate by 57% on average since 2015.
But there’s a catch to all this seller-friendly news: Columbus buyers are notorious for having high and, at times, even unrealistic expectations.
“The people moving to Columbus are often moving from an apartment. With an apartment, everything is nice, clean, and ready-to-go. So that’s what they expect of a house,” shares Lori Lynn, a top real estate agent who sells homes 45% faster than the average agent in Columbus.
If you want to sell your house fast, you’ll need to spruce it up and price it perfectly to attract these bougie buyers’ high-bidding offers. We spoke with local real estate experts and analyzed market data to provide you with the best tips and tricks for speeding up your home sale.
What sellers should know about the Columbus real estate market
With low inventory paired with steadily increasing demand for housing, local real estate experts report that the Columbus housing market has favored sellers for more than six years running. As recently as July 2020, the number of houses for sale in the city sunk to a supply of just under one month, far below a balanced six-month range. Columbus’s median home price continues to rise with an increase of nearly 10% between 2018 and 2019. As recently as summer 2020, the average sale price exceeded the asking price during the summer of 2020, with homes selling 11.4% higher year-over-year. So, if you want to sell your house fast, it’s safe to say that Columbus’s market is on your side.
Underbuilding has also contributed to the 6-year-long seller’s market
Like many U.S. cities, Columbus’s inventory shortage is partly due to underbuilding since the 2008 housing market crash. The Columbus Dispatch reports that homebuilders only completed 1.7 homes per 1,000 Columbus-area residents in the last decade compared to the 4.7 homes built for every 1,000 residents from 1985 to 2000. With few new homes on the market, as a seller, your home is competing primarily with resale homes rather than new builds.
Properties near Ohio State sell at a premium
Ohio State University, Central Ohio’s largest employer, has over 33,000 employees and over 60,000 students. Between OSU homebuyers and property investors, homes near campus are in high demand and sell at a premium. For instance, property values have doubled on average in the neighborhood around the university’s East Hospital since 2010 when OSU launched Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT), a pledge to invest at least $10 million in the neighborhood in exchange for an up to $35 million jobs creation incentive.
If you own a home close to campus, attract these buyers with:
- A listing description that highlights the short commute to campus
- Durable, rental-friendly features such as laminate flooring, single-surface countertops, and low-maintenance landscaping
- Bedrooms staged with desks to accommodate students
Columbus homes range in age and architectural style
Founded in 1812, Columbus boasts diverse properties ranging in architectural style and age, with over 2,500 homes built before 1940. Whether you own a Victorian, Cape Cod, New Colonial, craftsman, or ranch home, play up your house’s unique architectural features to draw in buyers looking for a unique property to call home:
- Include the architectural style and build year in the home listing to capture buyers searching for your home design.
- Highlight your home’s recent upgrades and retrofitted features in the listing and during showings.
- Stage your home with furniture and decor that compliments your architecture (for example, Mid-century modern interior suits a ranch home, while transitional style pairs well with a Victorian or Colonial home).
Instantly update your home following these three steps
With only 15% of Columbus homes built after 2000, there’s a good chance you’ll need to refresh your interior to encourage a fast sale. “The most important things are walls and floors. The next is maintenance,” Lynn advises, sharing that three aspects of your home’s condition have the greatest impact on buyers.
Refresh interior walls with a neutral shade
Regardless of your home’s architectural style, Lynn says that light and bright walls are the way to go. Choose a white or light gray paint color like Sherwin-Williams’s Reflection, Olympus White, or Silver Strand. If your rooms include chair rail molding, you can opt for a two-toned look and incorporate a second, darker shade like Morning Fog, African Gray, or Polished Concrete under the molding. According to Painting Columbus, interior rooms cost $450 on average to paint — a relatively small price to pay to make a great impression with buyers.
Replace dingy carpet with low-maintenance flooring
Every time you rush inside to escape a winter blizzard and spring shower, your carpet takes a hit. If it’s looking shabby (or ‘70s shaggy), upgrade to a more durable flooring option such as hardwood, faux-wood laminate, or luxury vinyl tile. According to the National Association of Realtors, 54% of homebuyers are willing to pay a premium for hardwood floors, and that 87% of buyers in the $100,000 to $150,000 price range prefer hardwood.
Take care of maintenance issues before you list
In HomeLight’s recent Top Agent Insights Report, agents report that home maintenance issues are the leading cause of home sale delays. For this reason, it’s wise to perform a pre-listing home inspection and take care of any maintenance issues before you go to market. According to Lynn, these are the most commonly needed repairs flagged in Columbus home inspections:
- Replace air filters: Between hot, humid summers and cold winters, Columbus homeowners run their heating and cooling systems year-round. Dirty air filters lead to reduced airflow that stresses the system and can lead to premature failure. You can expect to pay $75 to $195 on average to replace your air filters.
- Re-seal your windows: Damaged and missing weather stripping lets cold air seep into your home and can result in 20% higher energy bills, according to Energy.gov. Replace warped and damaged weather stripping before you go to market.
- Replace rotted wood: Decades of rain and snow can take a hit on your home’s wooden features such as exterior doors, window frames and sills, and siding. Wood rot is a serious issue that will be flagged in the home inspection, as well as in the home appraisal, so you’ll want to proactively tackle this repair to protect your home sale earnings.
Stage a spacious interior to show off your home’s potential
To learn more about the best interior design choices for staging a home for sale, we consulted with Rhonda Blue, a local interior designer with nearly 15 years of experience and the winner of the NARI Achievement in Consumer Excellence Award for six years running. Blue stresses that sellers should accentuate their home’s spaciousness and showcase rooms’ flexibility with clever staging.
“People want spaces that are open and flowing,” she advises. “If you’ve got several bedrooms, maybe one could become an office or a playroom.”
Remove excess furniture and personal possessions throughout the home to create a clean slate for buyers’ imaginations to run wild with possibilities. Stage extra rooms such as spare bedrooms, bonus rooms, and finished attics with minimal, contemporary furnishings. For instance, in a small room you may just include a pair of armchairs joined by an end table or a desk and small bookcase — perfect for remote workers.
Get the perfect Columbus curb appeal with a trim and tidy look
Columbus homebuyers want a low-maintenance exterior that stands up to the city’s four-season climate. “Clean may seem like a boring word, but it’s important,” Lynn comments.
Not only does great curb appeal attract buyers to your home, it also adds value. In HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report, 94% of agents agree that amazing curb appeal adds to a seller’s bottom line. Here are our top tips for nailing Columbus curb appeal:
Opt for low-maintenance landscaping
When it comes to landscaping in the warmer months, keep it simple. Maintain a well-manicured lawn adorned with wind-resistant plants and flowers. The average lawn care service in Ohio ranges between $50 to $75 on average. Border your property with ornamental grasses and shrubs that can withstand summer storms, such as:
- Little Bluestem: A native grass with a light blue-green color in the summer that transforms into a rust color in the autumn.
- Korean Feather Grass: A soft, feather-reed grass that blows romantically in the wind.
- Beautyberry: A shrub with royal purple berries that bloom in late summer before the plant transitions into a yellow or chartreuse color in the fall.
Remove dead leaves and snow in the colder months
In the colder months, remove dead leaves and debris from your front yard. Keep your driveway and walkway clear of snow so buyers can see the condition of these features. If your curb appeal needs a touch of cheer, add a pair of potted evergreens to your entry. Alternatively, you can hang a winter wreath to welcome buyers inside.
Paint the trim to highlight your home’s architecture
Apply a fresh coat of white, black, or charcoal paint to your trim, shutters, and front door to instantly refresh your home’s exterior. This easy upgrade makes a big impact, especially if you own a craftsman, Cape Cod, or Victorian house.
List your home in June to catch Columbus’s peak selling season
According to HomeLight’s analysis of housing transaction data, homes in Columbus sell the fastest in September when they fly off the market 21 days quicker than the yearly average. Since it typically takes three months from list to close, you should list your home in June to increase your odds of a fast sale.
June is an ideal month to list to catch buyers looking to close their home sale before the school year begins; this includes families with young children and homebuyers involved in one of Columbus’s 52 accredited colleges (think students, faculty, staff, and property investors running student rentals).
A quick sale starts with finding a top Columbus real estate agent
Beyond preparing your home for sale, you’ll need to pinpoint the perfect price and marketing strategy to ensure a fast sale. For these tasks, you’ll want to partner with a top real estate agent who intimately understands Columbus’s dynamic housing market. Our data shows that Columbus’s top 3% of real estate agents help clients sell their homes twice as fast as the average agent.
These same top-performing agents typically help sellers win a sale price 9% higher than their peers and, in some scenarios, win their clients even more. For instance, in October 2020, home prices spiked an unheard of 17% year-over-year due to pent-up buyer demand. Top agents closely watching the market may have secured their clients $35,000 more than those who priced too conservatively.
If you’re ready to sell your home fast in Columbus, kick-off your home sale journey by finding a top real estate agent. HomeLight’s Agent Finder matches you with the three top-performing agents for your home based on transaction data, including average days on market, average list-to-sale ratio, and client reviews. Once you screen your matches, hire an agent whose experience you trust and personality you gel with — they’ll be by your side through the thick and thin of your home sale.
Header Image Source: (Jason Mowry / Unsplash)
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