Need to sell your home fast in Kansas City, Missouri? You’ve picked a good time. According to Census data, between 2010 and 2017, 120,000 residents moved to the metro area (a 6% increase!) in part due to new job opportunities brought by the startup and tech industries’ growing interest in the Midwest.
Combine a strong economy with an affordable cost of living, renowned jazz culture, world-famous barbecue, and more fountains than almost any other city in the world, and it’s clear to see why WalletHub named Kansas City the 29th best city in the country for home buyers. That’s not to mention the 15 blocks of pure shopping to enjoy along Country Club Plaza.
But before you sit back, relax, and assume your house will sell itself, know that Kansas City buyers prefer newer houses with a reasonable amount of square footage (hence why the suburbs have historically been so popular) so a fast sale could require some preparations and sweat equity.
Let’s dig into the modern styles and trends local buyers gush over and insights into current real estate market dynamics that will help make sure your home moves from “For Sale” to “Sold” quickly.
Kansas City’s real estate market is shifting. What’s that mean for sellers?
Kansas City’s real estate market is still going strong, with only about 2.2 months of inventory available in the greater metro. That number represents how long it would take for all the current homes on the market to sell based on the current pace of sales (anything less than 6 months of supply generally puts market conditions in seller’s favor and is considered an inventory shortage).
Since June of 2018, that’s slowed down a bit—but many home sellers didn’t get the memo.
“Sellers are still assuming that every home put on the market sells in 48 hours, and that’s just not true,” says Ron Henderson, a top-selling agent in Kansas City who sells 79% more homes in the region than his peers. “The average time on the market is closer to 60 days now.”
Of course, there are ways you can help cut that timeline down.
Kansas City buyers want new, move-in ready homes
Some towns are filled with buyers who want a low-priced fixer-upper to make their very own.
Kansas City is not that town.
“The number one mistake I see sellers making is not making enough repairs and updates to their home before they put it on the market,” Henderson says. “Buyers will pay a premium for an updated, move-in ready house. They will compete against other buyers to get it, and they’ll pay more for it. We’ve been through many multiple-offer situations, and the ones that get the multiple offers are the move-in ready homes.”
Part of the reason for this is Kansas City’s fairly conservative, straightforward culture.
Many buyers in the region are looking for comfort and modernity, rather than character or quirkiness, when it comes to the home they want. In general, homes that are between 15 years old or newer are the ones that move quickly.
“There are certainly pockets near Country Club Plaza, or downtown Liberty, downtown Parkville where we have older, turn-of-the-century Victorian homes,” Henderson says. “But in general we do tend to like newer homes in Kansas City.”
That doesn’t mean that if your home is older than 15 years, you won’t be able to sell it. It does mean, however, that you’ll need to invest some time and money in updates—before you put it on the market.
“They want the kitchen updated, with newer appliances,” Henderson says. “Countertops don’t have to be granite, but that does definitely help sell it quicker. They want contemporary paint colors. They want hardwood floors, and at least some upgrades throughout the home.”
The following are a few minor upgrades Kansas City sellers can focus on to get the home in selling shape without spending too much money or energy:
- Upgrade the light fixtures:
The popular home design site Hayneedle lists geometric chandeliers and clear pendants among the hottest lighting trends for 2019, but you can never go wrong with classic looks like ring lighting and contemporary wall sconces.
- Invest in modern plumbing fixtures:
A pull-down spray faucet, like the ones you can find on Overstock, will instantly improve your kitchen’s look. Likewise, simple updates to your bathroom fixtures can change the feel of your entire bathroom. Opt for simple, classic, yet modern selections, like the Benchwright Collection or Sussex Collection from Pottery Barn.
- Replace any old appliances:
Priorities? The dishwasher and refrigerator. Choose Energy Star-certified appliances if possible.
- Repair any visible damage or wear and tear:
Scuffed baseboards and wood rot on your porch or deck are a big no-no. You can repair baseboards yourself fairly easily using all-purpose joint compound and a drywall taping knife, though you’ll likely want to hire a pro to handle wood rot.
- Rip out worn or frayed carpet:
HomeAdvisor reports that carpet installation for a standard-sized room will typically run between $300 and $750, although that number will go higher for high-end carpeting.
- Give hardwood flooring some TLC:
Redoing your home’s hardwoods can be an intensive, expensive project, so experts often recommend refinishing your floors to cut down on costs.
- Apply a fresh coat of cool, neutral colored paint to interior walls:
Elephant’s Breath by Farrow Ball is a versatile mid-gray, while Dunn-Edwards’ Swiss Coffee is a light, clean white.
Invest in the basics: put your dollars into the kitchen, bathrooms, and living spaces
When you evaluate your home for necessary repairs and smart upgrades, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Maybe your yard leaves something to be desired, or your master bath doesn’t have a deep soaking tub.
Here’s the good news, according to Henderson: those things rarely matter as much as buyers say they do.
“Here’s what people say is important to them, but really isn’t: a big formal dining room, a jetted tub, and a backyard,” Henderson says. “What they really want are spaces for family. If the house has a nice family or living room, and the kitchen and bathrooms are fairly updated, those are the main focal points that will drive buyers to buy quicker.”
So focus your attention on how to make those family spaces feel warm and inviting:
- Place live, leafy green plants in planters in the corners of the room. Bromeliads, rubber plants, and philodendron are all low-maintenance varieties.
- Add a soft throw or two, like one of these soft throw blankets from Target.
- Soften harsh lines and right angles by placing round rugs on the floor and a round throw pillow or two on your seating.
You and your real estate agent will doubtless discuss what you can do yourself to improve your home’s appeal to buyers.
However, investing in professional home staging services can be a very smart choice—whether or not your home is vacant while it’s on the market.
Award-winning home stager and stylist Helen Bartlett of Refined Interiors stages luxury homes throughout the Kansas City metro area, and has seen firsthand just how effective home staging can be for sellers.
“The biggest advantage is it will sell your home faster and for more money,” she says. “I had one client who ended up getting $60,000 over her asking price, with three offers.”
When it comes to staging trends, Bartlett says the “modern farmhouse” look is still at the top of the list. This means rustic, country-inspired pieces in warm tones coupled with a minimalist aesthetic. Natural materials like wood and cork complete the look.
The color white is also highly popular in Kansas City homes. “White walls, white trim, and white plank wood flooring are all getting a lot of attention. Gray is finally moving on, but it’s still seen in many homes,” Bartlett says. Black windows are also popular as a way to complete the look of an all-white home.
Henderson encourages all his clients to work with a professional home stager, which he often coordinates (along with professional photography) for his sellers.
List your home in April to sell your house 10 days sooner in Kansas City
HomeLight data shows that homes listed in April can sell 10 days faster than if you list it in any other month.
This is consistent with Henderson’s experience, which has proven spring to be a good time to list a Kansas City home.
Families, especially, often like to move during the summer, when kids are out of school—and there are lots of families moving to the Kansas City area for jobs these days.
Work a top-selling agent to price your Kansas City home
Kansas City has 5,762 real estate agents, but a top-selling Kansas City real estate agent will sell your home 44 days faster, make you 5.8% more dollars, and sell 1.8 times more homes per year than the average agent, according to HomeLight data.
Top-selling agents also know how to price your home correctly. You may be tempted to start high. After all, that’s a strategy that worked for many sellers when the market was white-hot in 2017 and 2018.
But in slower times, overpricing your home will lead to lower interest and a longer time to sell.
“We’ve hit this price peak where buyers are cautious about getting into a bidding war and overpaying for a house,” Henderson says. “Now more than ever, it’s absolutely critical to be right on your price when you put it on the market.”
If you’re ready to sell your Kansas City home fast, we’re here to help. Use our data-backed tools to get matched with the perfect top-selling agent for your home.
Article Image Source: (Charvex/ Wikimedia Commons)