If you’re a Baltimore homeowner looking to sell, you’ve picked an opportune time as the historic port city attracts more buyers than ever. Baltimore has always been renowned for its local culture, hometown sports, excellent school systems, world class hospitals, and lively inner harbor.
But with an array of homes to choose from, Baltimore buyers, especially millennial buyers, are seeking turnkey homes that are up to date and move-in ready. So how can you make sure your home makes the cut and outshines the competition for a quick sale?
Follow these tips from a top-selling local agent and Baltimore-area expert home staging designer—and you’re sure to see results.
Jobs trends and home prices: The state of the Baltimore real estate market
Today, the city grows increasingly popular for prospective buyers as forgotten neighborhoods transform into hipster havens and a steady increase of jobs continue to boost the economy.
A recent report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistic reveals there are 110,900 more jobs in Maryland compared to this time last year. With many of these jobs based in the state’s financial center, more buyers are entering the market to lay down roots in the city or upgrade their home in surrounding suburbs.
Over the past year, approximately 8,425 new and existing single family homes sold in Baltimore with home sales seeing an average of 12% annual increase over the past 6 years. That’s a 76% increase from the average homes sold annually between 2009 and 2012.
Not only has there been a long trending increase in the number of home sales, but also a corresponding increase to the average sales price they are closing at with homes selling for an average of 5% more annually over the past 6 years.
If you’re ready to sell your home, you can rejoice because these stats reveal the market is in your favor. However, keep in mind that the market is in every seller’s favor so the competition is fierce—and so are the buyers.
Price your Baltimore home at or just below market value to attract the most buyers
One of the most important factors in selling a house fast in Baltimore is to list at or below market value.
“We recently put a home up on the market and we had 68 showings in a week and a half and it sold for $20,000 more than the actual listing price,” shares Jeremy Walsh, a top-selling real estate agent in Baltimore. “The seller decided to price it at or below market value. That’s one of the most critical things about selling a home.”
Listing your home above market value does not pay with digitally savvy buyers who can easily access online resources with real sales data. In fact, overpricing is likely to leave your home stagnant on the market.
“You can’t try for a price, you have to look at the comparable data,” says Walsh. The best way to set a listing price is to look at what homes comparable to yours sold for and position your home at or below these prices.
Look at sale prices, not listing prices as these do not reveal the true amounts homes are selling for and can mislead you to over price your home. To illustrate this point, the median listing price in Baltimore last year was $190,000 while the median sale price was $145,000. That’s a big difference.
Setting your house at or below market price based on sale price data will draw attention from buyers and at times even inspire them to drive the price up in competition. To nail the right price, be sure to work with a top real estate agent like Walsh who understands the Baltimore market and sells over 68% more properties than the average agent.
Play all four of Baltimore’s seasons to your favor
The time of year you list your house greatly affects the probability of how fast it will sell and the price it will close at.
While home sales generally hit their lowest point in winter and highest point in spring and early summer across the U.S., it is particularly dramatic in states that have truly distinct seasons like Maryland.
Housing transaction data proves June is the best month to sell your home in Baltimore. Since it generally takes about 4 months to close on your home, it is estimated that if you list your Baltimore home in March you could sell it for 14.02% more than the yearly average.
If you have a need to list sooner, then take the approach of beating the spring competition by attracting early bird buyers.
“The buyers that are looking in November, December and January are real buyers,” says Walsh. “They have a need to move, they’re not just lookers.”
While there are fewer buyers looking in the winter months, there are also fewer houses listed, giving your home an opportunity to shine in a desaturated market.
Showcase your Baltimore home at its best
Whether you’re selling a row house or a five-bedroom family home in Baltimore, bring the property up to date and impress buyers with beautiful design and immaculate cleanliness.
For the interior, staging is a must. A professional stager can help you balance contemporary elements with classic East Coast style to attract Baltimore’s diverse buyers.
Clover Oak Co is a boutique consulting, staging and redesign design firm in Severna Park that offers staging for occupied and vacant homes, with a particular focus on homes in the Baltimore metro.
“We give the home sellers a comprehensive list of things to do such as declutter, paint, replace fixtures, etc. Once all those items have been cared for we then stage the home using their items,” explains White.
Both White and Walsh stress the importance of neutrality when redesigning your space to sell.
“Our goal is to appeal to the most buyers while showing the space and functionality of each room that in turn leads to a prompt sale at the highest price,” says White. “We want buyers to feel connected to the rooms we stage so that they can envision themselves living there.”
Opt for a neutral color palette, choosing creams, beiges, or grays for your furniture. Bring color into the room with pillows, throws, and wall decor. For a classic feel, Sarah recommends navy, “we love navy! We use navy a lot.”
Bold accent pillows like this Ink + Crosshatch Pillow Cover Set from West Elm for $70 and a white knit throw found at Target for $26 will add character and texture to the space. Create a focal with a nautical wall print from Pottery Barn, paying homage to Baltimore’s long history as a port city.
Finish off the room by painting the walls a light, neutral grey. Walsh shares that the most popular color trending Baltimore is the Sherman William’s shade, Repose Gray, admitting that even he has painted his living room this shade: “It’s a crisp and clean look that creates that neutral feel and also makes things look a lot sharper and clean by just adding fresh paint on some of the walls.”
And if you’re not into grays, Walsh recommends Euro Linen, a Behr Paint. You can preview these paint colors on their respective brands’ websites before breaking out the buckets. Behr’s website even allows you to upload a photo of your room to digitally paint.
Lastly, don’t forget the importance of curb appeal. Make sure your home is the best on the block with improvements such as mulching and planting seasonal flowers. Maryland Grown Flowers provides a great list of seasonal flowers to choose from, as well as a directory of local flower farms in Baltimore to buy them from.
Black Eyed Susans, Maryland’s own state flower, is a sure fire way to brighten your lawn in the summer and fall while evergreens and tulips are excellent options for the winter and spring.
If you’re one of Baltimore’s many owners of a traditional brick home, make sure that brick looks its best. Pressure wash the front of the home’s exterior and add a fresh coat of paint to window frames and shutters.
For an added touch of character, get into the colored door trend. Red is a classic, welcoming color to pair with brick. For a complementary look, medium to dark cool tones such as navy, teal, and olive green will pop against the warmth of the exterior.
Give Baltimore buyers a great first impression online
Once your house looks its best, bring in a professional photographer to take beautiful, high-quality photos for the online listing.
Walsh reminds us, “in today’s world, we have to wow the buyers online because that’s where they’re looking initially and if we don’t do that, they’re not going to come.”
With so many homes on the market, buyers in Baltimore narrow their search down online to create a short list for viewings, so make sure your home’s open house makes the cut. “We’ve identified that listing our properties on Wednesday is the best day because it allows us to feed into all of the websites by Friday which creates the buzz for the weekend,” Walsh adds.
Pull it all off by partnering with a top agent in Baltimore
As you can see, a lot has to come together to sell your house for the price you want at the speed you require. The best way to pull it off is to bring a top real estate agent to support you in your home sale journey.
Real estate agents have years of experience analyzing the market data, a network of photographers, stagers, and landscapers to bring your home up to date, and the negotiation skills necessary to secure a sale.
Not all agents are the same though, so choose wisely. Of the 8,750 active real estate agents in Baltimore, the top 3% of agents sell homes in 55 days compared to the average agents leaving homes on the market for 106 days. The same top agents who facilitate a quick sale are also making their clients 7% more dollars on their homes.
Ready to get started? Find a top real estate agent in Baltimore and see just how fast you can sell.