Winston Churchill called Cincinnati “the most beautiful of the inland cities of the union,” and the city’s residents agree. Cincinnatians love their town much like they love their hapless Bengals; fiercely, loyally, and unconditionally.
A rich art scene and mouth-watering culinary offerings make Cincinnati one of the most culturally underrated cities in America. Art Deco and Victorian architecture bring regal beauty to a city skyline that also features the headquarters of major corporations like Proctor and Gamble, General Electric, and Johnson and Johnson.
The presence of these mega-corporations is one of the major factors that make Cincinnati thrive economically. The city recently celebrated its lowest unemployment rates in 17 years, and job growth continues to be on the rise. This has resulted in a sizzling hot Cincinnati real estate market—according to the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors, the average sale price of a home hit a record $205,881 as of April 2018.
However, selling a Cincinnati home doesn’t come without its challenges. Buyers in this area tend to be incredibly picky when choosing a new home, and may be turned off by tiny details that can make the difference between falling in love and walking away.
We’ve conducted hours of research on the area’s market trends and chatted with some top-selling local real estate professionals to get the skinny on everything you need to know to sell your house fast in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati’s real estate market: Low inventory drives a hot seller’s market
Before you dive into the Cincinnati real estate pool, you’ll need to know what the waters are like.
Cincinnati is in the midst of a red hot seller’s market. As of October 2018, Cincinnati’s housing market had a 2.60 month supply of single-family homes and condos, meaning that, in a vacuum, the city’s current supply of houses would be exhausted in just under two months. In stark contrast, a supply of six months is the benchmark by which experts determine whether a real estate market is balanced.
According to HUD estimates from 2017, there should be sufficient demand for 12,175 homes in the area to be sold by 2020. Cincinnati homes priced between $300,000 and $349,999 are projected to garner the most attention from prospective buyers.
So, who will be buying these homes?
Throughout most of the city, the typical Cincinnati home buyer is likely to fall into one of two profiles. The most common type of homebuyer is in their late 20s or early 30s. They’re typically a couple purchasing their first home, and they’ve saved enough for a modest down payment of about 10%.
Alternately, prospective homebuyers are also frequently empty nesters looking to downsize their current living space. These buyers are more likely to be in the market for a condo or a ranch style home.
According to Jennifer Murtland, one of the top-selling real estate agents in the Cincinnati area, the type of buyer your home attracts can depend largely on location, down to the neighborhood.
Established areas like Oakley and Hyde Park may attract a different kind of buyer than an up-and-coming neighborhood like North Side, Madisonville, or Price Hill. In addition, a lot of homebuyers who are relocating to Cincinnati end up settling down in one of the towns located just north of the city, like Mason or Liberty Township.
If your home isn’t in any of these areas, don’t worry. A top real estate agent can help you to sell your house fast in Cincinnati wherever it’s located.
Modern Cincinnati homebuyers love modern interior looks
There are some specific design trends dominating the Cincinnati housing market. Most buyers won’t accept anything but the best, and to them, that often means the polished looks they see on their TV screens every day.
“Right now, grays are still in,” Murtland told us. “Clean, sleek, modern looks are still in. White cabinets are still in.”
If your walls need a pre-listing pick me up (and they probably do), more conservative sellers might consider a neutral shade like Benjamin Moore’s Horizon Gray or a softer hue like Behr’s Fashion Gray. For a more dramatic look, consider a darker slate shade like Sherwin Williams’ Software.
Along with gray walls and white accents, hardwood flooring is a feature high on the wish lists of most Cincinnati homebuyers. In most cases, lower cost wood substitutes like laminate or vinyl will also pass muster, as long as they’re made of high quality materials and installed properly.
For most Cincinnati buyers, the ideal house is contemporary in style but still low maintenance.
These buyers know what they’re looking for, and they’re willing to hold off on making an offer until they find that “love at first sight” home of their dreams. They want an open floor plan, upgraded materials like tile and wood—even details like door fixtures are important to most Cincinnati home buyers (for the record, they prefer elongated door handles like these Schlage Accent Levers from Home Depot.).
When it comes To landscaping a Cincinnati home, less is more
In a market filled with discerning buyers, it’s not a surprise that curb appeal matters. Sellers who take high quality, attractive photographs of their home’s exterior are much more likely to get attention from people looking to buy a new Cincinnati home.
“We have found that the buyer decides whether they want to buy the house before they get to the house,” said Murtland. “They like simple, they like clean—maybe a little color, but not a lot of maintenance.”
Sellers focused on speed in Cincinnati should remember that buyers are looking for less work upon move in. Your property’s zen garden or exotic flowering trees may look great in photographs, but when it comes down to it, buyers don’t want to commit to the work involved with upkeep.
That being said, there are a few low-maintenance things you can do to increase curb appeal that won’t require a huge commitment from future owners.
- Tip #1: Give your front door a pop of color. Choose a bold shade, that complements the rest of your home’s exterior without overpowering it. Paint it robin’s egg, turquoise, pumpkin, lilac, buttercup—your front door can be any color you dream up. But remember, don’t go overboard: A little bit of color can go a long way.
- Tip #2: Spruce up your mailbox. Paint it, decorate it, or replace it entirely; just make sure you’ve got something inviting at the end of your driveway. It’s one of the first things buyers will see, and you’ll want to make a good first impression. Any of these modern mailboxes between $20-$100, featured as shopping list item #5 on our curb appeal budget guide, will do the trick!
- Tip #3: Touch up your trim. If you’ve got shutters, give them a fresh coat of paint. Make sure nothing about the outside of your home gives off a shabby, don’t-care vibe. A little effort—and a can of exterior paint—can make a huge difference in curb appeal.
In Cincinnati, you have exactly one chance to make a first impression on buyers
Even if your home looks gorgeous on the inside and the outside, Cincinnati home buyers aren’t likely to make a purchase as weighty as a new home unless everything—and we mean everything—is perfect.
So pull out all the stops to make sure the entire property is in tip-top shape. According to Murtland, this means tending to smaller details that seem like no big deal to you, but could mean a great deal to buyers. Even something as seemingly minor as a rescheduled viewing can be viewed as a bad omen by a buyer going into such a major purchase.
“If a buyer comes back two or more times, they are actually more unlikely to buy your house,” Murtland said. “The more questions they ask, the least likely they are to buy your house. Because buying a house is about falling in love, and if you remember any time you’ve fallen in love, you’ve never asked any questions.”
Because buyers in Cincinnati want their new home to be 100% move-in ready, you’ll want to be sure to cross off any items that may be piling on the “honey-do” list. Even the tiniest of necessary repairs can leave a buyer uneasy about the condition of the rest of the house.
In the buyer’s mind, if a seller doesn’t take the time to fix even minor cosmetic issues, it could indicate a lack of proper maintenance throughout the rest of the house.
That means it’s up to you to tackle quick pre-sale fixes like:
- Replacing broken windows and torn screens
- Tightening leaky faucets
- Patching holes in the walls
- Update lighting fixtures
- Remove wallpaper
- Repair any leaky areas in the roof
- Clean or replace dirty grout
- Repair faulty wiring
- Unclog rain gutters
- Check for draining issues
- HVAC or heating repairs
- Apply WD-40 to squeaky hinges
- Replace old stained carpets or give them a professional cleaning
Another incentive to take care of those pesky projects? You’ll pocket more cash.
According to Murtland, homes that are sold in as-is condition end up selling for significantly less than the move-in ready homes currently dominating the Cincinnati real estate market. Both buyers and sellers often overestimate the time and money they’ll have to sink into a particular project, which can mean a lower offer than a house in turnkey condition will receive.
The key to selling a house fast in Cincinnati: Work with a top real estate agent
With so many moving parts in play, even the most market-savvy sellers can quickly find themselves overwhelmed when trying to sell a house fast in Cincinnati. A well-established real estate agent can help you navigate the stressful parts of selling a home.
For example, consider making the decision of when to sell your home. The numbers show that homes put on the market in June or July tend to sell faster and for a higher sum than houses listed at other times in the year. However, winter months may be less competitive for sellers, and buyers may be more motivated to move. A realtor can help sellers balance statistics and strategy.
Pricing is another area where sellers may especially benefit from hiring one of Cincinnati’s top real estate agents.
“If you price the home correctly, in our market today, you can get between 98% and 100% of what you’re asking,” explained Murtland. “It will be on the market for less than 30 days, probably less than a week. If you price the home incorrectly, it will sit on the market for over six months, nine months, a year—and you’ll only get 88% of what you’re asking.”
That’s a big difference, especially for sellers who may be paying two mortgages.
“The rule of thumb for sellers is within about 10 days to two weeks, if you have not had an offer or around 10 showings, you’re priced wrong.”
The numbers don’t lie: houses sold by top real estate agents in Cincinnati sell an average of 59.14 days faster than other agents, for 31.7% more money.
Don’t waste your time or money waiting for the right buyer; make it happen. Hire a top real estate agent in Cincinnati to sell your house—you’ll be glad you did.