If you’re a Cleveland homeowner looking to sell your home fast, strike while the iron is hot! Once dominated by industry, Cleveland is developing into the next hipster hub, attracting millennial homebuyers who want city living for an affordable price. Just look at the shores of Lake Erie where old railroad tracks, factories, and warehouses have transformed into trendy restaurants, shops, and breweries.
A fast home sale in Cleveland often hinges on attracting millennial buyers — no easy task. You’ll need to update your interior to appeal to young professionals and families and boost your home’s resistance to winter’s annual onslaught of snow.
Lucky for you, we conducted research and crunched local transaction data to bring you eight tips to sell your Cleveland home fast. We also spoke with Lisa Sisko, a top-selling local agent who works with 72% more single-family homes than the average agent, for expert insight on features Cleveland buyers love.
1. Attract Millennials to sell your Cleveland home fast
Hot take: If you want to sell your house fast, market to millennials. Cleveland is ranked among the top ten U.S. cities for population growth from college-educated millennials. Millennials account for 63% of Cleveland’s Downtown population and 23.7% of the city’s total population.
“Cleveland is an affordable but also very culturally diverse city. There are a lot of headquartered corporations, and the medical community is renowned nationally because of the Cleveland Clinic and university hospitals,” says Sisko, listing the city’s big draws for young professionals. Forbes even rated the city’s metropolitan area as one of the highest in the nation for business and career growth.
When selling your home, draw in this demographic with these tips:
- Highlight your home’s proximity to downtown, trendy restaurants, and popular shopping centers.
- Update your home’s interior with contemporary furniture and finishes that appeal to younger generations.
- Stage a spare bedroom as a home office with a desk, bookcase, and colorful reading chair.
- Mention family-friendly features in the listing description, such as nearby parks with playgrounds and highly-rated schools.
2. Creatively stage your traditional floor plan
Sisko shares that most Cleveland buyers want a home with an open floor plan:
“Millennials are more about life experience than large homes. Openness of floor plans is huge for them, as well as all target markets, including empty-nesters. The more open, the better.”
If your home has more of a traditional floor plan, don’t fret — you’re actually in the majority. The median home age in Cleveland is 78 years old, compared to the national average of 48 years, which means many homeowners have older homes with distinct architectural styles.
You can still create a spacious interior with clever staging. For example, Sisko’s team once displayed two boards at the start of a home tour that presented the four different floor plans a buyer could achieve depending on how they arrange the furniture. “We helped people walking into the home visualize where furniture placement could go so that it would appeal to a plethora of different buyers. It worked very well,” she shares.
Staging costs $1,500 on average, though some real estate agents provide complimentary staging. Either way, staging is worth the cost if you want to sell your house fast in Cleveland. 83% of agents we surveyed say that a staged home will sell faster than an unstaged home.
3. Complete a minor kitchen remodel to attract more buyers
For a fast sale, light remodeling goes a long way. Sisko recommends focusing your remodeling dollars on the kitchen, living room, and main bedroom since these are your home’s biggest selling points. If you’re tight for time (or budget), focus on refreshing the kitchen. Here are our top tips for making your kitchen shine:
Replace outdated kitchen cabinets with white shaker doors
“If your kitchen looks like it’s from the 1970s, it won’t be attractive to buyers,” shares Tom Walback, the founder of Nieu Cabinet Doors, who has over 20 years of experience designing and installing cabinets in the Cleveland area.
Instead of ripping out your oak cabinets, paint them white and swap in new shaker doors. Walback shares that 75% of his customers opt for white shaker doors, so it’s the safest bet for resale.
Select materials with MDF construction
When remodeling, Clevelanders should use medium-density fiberboard (MDF) material since it functions great in the city’s unique climate. Unlike wood, the material will not warp with the changing seasons. Your buyers can rest easy knowing the new kitchen island will stay pristine, even with extreme changes in humidity and temperature.
Embrace a rustic, neutral color palette
When revamping your walls, Sisko recommends staying away from dark or vibrant paint colors. Whites and greys appeal to most homebuyers, so paint your walls a shade like Gray Owl or Chantilly Lace from Benjamin Moore. As for floors, Sisko suggests luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring with a rustic finish since it’s an affordable yet stylish flooring option. On average, LVP costs between $4 to $6 per square foot (including installation).
4. Insulate your home from Cleveland’s lake-effect snow
Lake Erie is responsible for Cleveland’s lake-snow effect, which produces much higher than average snowfall in a concentrated area southeast of the lake. If you’re selling your home during the fall or winter, take steps to reduce drafts before showings.
Add draft stoppers to doors and spray foam cracks in the attic and basement to stop frigid air from entering your home. If you have a particularly drafty window, replace it with a fiberglass model that’s more resistant to temperature fluctuations during the snow season. These windows typically come with a 20-year warranty against seal failure.
5. Market your home’s proximity to Cleveland’s best features
According to Sisko, Cleveland’s most sought after neighborhoods include Westlake, Chagrin Falls, Pepper Pike, and Beachwood. The downtown area is also in high-demand, and Sisko notes a decent influx to suburbs like North Royalton and Avon Lake.
If your home is in one of these trending areas, sell your home’s lifestyle with a killer listing description. Include the specific location and community features, such as parks, proximity to the lake, and buzz-worthy restaurants. If your home is close to Lake Erie, include photos of any lake views or an aerie shot highlighting your home’s proximity.
6. Boost curb appeal plants native to Cleveland
First impressions are everything when you’re selling your house, so give your front yard some TLC. “If buyers can’t see the house and aren’t enticed enough by the curb appeal to click on the first image, we’re dead in the water, and we’re not going to be exposed to the full range of the buyer pool,” says Sisko.
Trim back overgrown bushes and large trees. Then plant some of Ohio’s native perennial flowers, such as Bee Balm, Blue False Indigo, and Black-eyed Susans for vibrant color from spring to fall. Top off your garden beds with fresh mulch to complete the look.
If you’re selling your home in the winter, focus on removing dead leaves and debris. Clear your driveway and walkways for the listing photos and before every home showing so buyers can see the condition of these features.
7. List in June to sell your house fast in Cleveland
Increase the odds of a fast sale and list your home during the peak buying season. Based on HomeLight’s market analysis, September is the best month to sell your home in Cleveland for a fast sale. Homes sold in September sell 12 days faster than average. Since it usually takes about three months to close on your home, list your home in June to capitalize on this selling window.
Since Cleveland is typically buried in snow from December until March, Sisko says it’s best to avoid listing your home during these winter months. There are fewer buyers in the market during this time of year compared to the spring and summer.
8. Hire a top real estate agent to speed up the selling process
If you need a fast sale, don’t go in alone — partner with a top real estate agent who knows how to move homes faster than their peers. HomeLight’s data reveals that Cleveland’s top 3% of real estate agents sell homes 32.6 days faster than the average agent.
“We consider ourselves local economists. We help set expectations correctly so that a buyer or seller knows what is coming. That can wind up saving a seller thousands of dollars,” Sisko adds.
Find a top agent for your home sale with HomeLight’s Agent Finder. We’ll match you with the three best real estate agents for your home based on transaction data, including the agents’ average days on market, list to sale price, and client reviews.
Header Image Source: (Stephen Leonardi / Unsplash)