Between its historic Blues clubs on Beale Street, World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Great River Run, Memphis has captured the eye of many culture lovers over the years. Throw in a downtown rejuvenated by Fortune 500 employers set against the gorgeous Mississippi river, and what’s not to love about this mid-south charmer of a city?
Memphis has become a hot spot for real estate, and home sellers have a lot to look forward to! The addition of new jobs combined with traditionally cheaper housing prices has caused the Memphis real estate market to boom. So, whether you’ve decided to list your house tomorrow, or you’ve been mulling over the idea for a few months now, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve researched the local market, drilled down to the data, and chatted up Memphis real estate agent Juan Brooks, who sells local homes at a 69% faster rate than his peers. Together, we bring you a go-to-guide with the latest tips and tricks on how to sell your house fast and get the best bang for your buck in the Blues capital of the nation.
Who’s buying homes in Memphis?
When you’re getting ready to sell your house, you need to first understand who you’re selling to. Just like you wouldn’t sell a ketchup popsicle to a lady in white gloves, you wouldn’t want to market your downtown condo to a family of five and their pet dog.
Buyers are moving to two distinct areas in Memphis right now and knowing who you’re selling to will make your job so much easier.
- The i-240 loop
This is where the young folk are heading to! With the “green” revitalization of Memphis proper, and the Memphis bridge and Mississippi river so close, young working professionals are flocking to hip areas like Downtown, Midtown, and Cooper Young to enjoy the fast-paced lifestyle.
- The Memphis Suburbs
The suburbs are where the families are going. These are the towns of Germantown, Collierville, Cordova, Lakeland, and the like. The popular Tennessee and Mississippi border is also a top target for these buyers, with areas like Olive Branch, South Haven, and Horn Lake having the space, price, and school districts that call out to these seasoned buyers.
Get your Memphis house ready for buyer scrutiny
Your buyer is you, 5 or 10 years ago when you bought your house.
Remember when you first walked through your halls and your eyes lit up with wonder as the sunlight streamed in through those massive patio windows? Your new countertops gleamed and sparkled, and the paint smelled fresh. Everything from your kitchen sink to your bathroom tile exhilarated you, and you knew that this was going to be your next home.
Your buyers are looking for that same magic and wonder too. But, as you’re walking through your home now, you’re probably realizing that your house might be a little low on the ‘wow’ factor. Years of wear and tear and accumulated belongings have taken away its new-ness.
Having sold over 77% more properties than the average Memphis Agent, Brooks recommends, from experience, three rules that are a must for sprucing up your home:
Depersonalize and declutter your Memphis house.
Buyers are trying to picture themselves in your house. They don’t want to see how you live—they need to envision how they might be able to make the space their own. To depersonalize the house, tackle the worst offenders, including personal collections, busy wallpaper, loud accent walls, furniture of a specific taste, family photos, and kitschy outdoor decorations. For example, strip that original wallpaper that your house came with and instead paint a neutral tone such as “Skimming Stone” from FarrowBall or “Sea Salt” from Sherwin-Williams for your kitchen and bathroom.
For neutralizing your home, focus on the three taboos: hunting, religion, and sports. For example, take down your Memphis Tigers memorabilia from those college days and replace it with a neutral piece of wall art like this modern and neutral canvas from Wayfair.
Leaving as little as possible around and getting down to the bare minimum will really help the buyer see your house in its best light. We recommend a top notch local self-storage company to help clear some space and save your belongings! Our picks:
Make minor repairs to get your Memphis house ready for showings
Homes in Memphis are around 70 years old—most were constructed between 1940-1969. They’ve been lived in and loved. That dent on your garage door came from teaching your son how to ride a bike in 1st grade, but your prospective buyer won’t share the same emotional connection.
Brooks recommends walking around the inside and outside of your house and looking for those minor bumps and bruises that will need retouching.
Touch up chipped paint that leaves your exterior siding vulnerable to damage.
Head to Memphis Paints, bring in a small sampling of your exterior paint, find a matching swatch, and grab the tools you need (paint scraper, putty, paint brush) to complete the job.
Fix any flooring issues that could leave a buyer concerned about water damage or weak support.
While DIY floor repairs are an option, we recommend contacting a professional handyman to thoroughly check out and fix any issues.
Replace any missing roof shingles to protect your home from the forces of mother nature.
Home Depot has an entire roofing section! Check there first, and if additional work is required, reach to your agent or a hire a contractor.
Fixing these lived-in reminders will truly elevate your home in the eyes of a buyer. When in doubt, find a reputable contractor who meets your needs (Hint: Start with your agent’s local connections)!
Amp up your Memphis home’s curb appeal.
Fresh mulch, flowers cut, grass cut, and hedges trimmed will all make your home seem warm to a new buyer. Check out these Memphis-specific tips that will let your house make its best impression.
- Add an eco-friendly irrigation system.
The Mid-South’s scorching summers can leave grass and delicate plants in a bit of a dilemma. Your solution is a timed irrigation system that will ensure that your yard will get the care it needs, without all the extra work on your end!
- Plant seasonal flowers for pops of color.
Memphis is very seasonal, with hot summers and mild winters. As the weather heats up, replace cool-weather flowers, such as snapdragons, with heat lovers, such as coleus, marigolds, and petunias. As the cooler season sets in, pot up cool-loving annuals like pansies, kale, violas, snapdragons, and calendulas.
- Appeal to your buyers’ health conscience with a luscious vegetable garden. Certain crops thrive in the Memphis climate. Vegetables like peppers, broccoli, and spinach, and fruits like tomatoes, melons, strawberries, and lemons grow great in the summer. In the winter, switch to kale and other leafy vegetables.
These three tips will set your home up on par with the rest of your friendly neighborhood competition.
Play up the top highlights and features of your Memphis home
While all buyers are unique, Memphis buyers typically love certain features in their homes. As a seller, your takeaways from this section are simple. On one hand, if your home already has one or more of these features, make sure you highlight them with words or pictures in your listing.
On the other hand, if you feel like your home could benefit from some of these features, start thinking about renovating. Maybe you’ve wanted to rip out your carpet for hardwood floors or change your kitchen backsplash for ages, but you never got around to it? This might be the perfect opportunity to finish those pending projects and lock in a strong resale value.
For the ‘Downtown Dreamer’:
If you are selling a home in the Downtown/Midtown area, you are most likely going to be selling to a younger crowd. These buyers have moved to Memphis for work and are eager to get the most out of the entertainment that the city has to offer. Often, your condo or loft is going to be their first home, so space is not a primary factor here. Instead, you want to focus on any highlights including:
- Energy efficient upgrades
These buyers love updated designs and amenities, and an overall feeling of efficiency. Add efficiency upgrades like Glacier Bay dual flush water-saving toilet, Window World energy-efficient windows, and GE space-saving laundry units that the millennial Memphis buyer seeks.
- Lifestyle perks
These buyers are also looking for greenery and views! If your house is near parks or bike trails, make sure you highlight that in your listing. And if your house happens to have that coveted view of the bridge, river, or city skyline, our only advice is to take tons of pictures—perhaps by using a real estate photographer like Mark Yates Photography (Top Thumbtack Pro). Also check out our guide on how to take the best real estate photos to sell your house faster!
For the ‘Settled Suburbanite’:
These buyers are not your rookie house hunters. Buyers who purchase houses in suburban cities, slightly on the outskirts of Memphis proper, are usually second or third time buyers, and are looking to fit a growing family. As a result, what they really want is space, space… and more space! But apart from the sprawling leg room, here are a few other things that entice these types of buyers:
- Brick Homes
Memphis buyers are primarily looking for solid brick homes. Because of the constant sun and muggy weather in Memphis, vinyl siding tends to get brittle and easier to break, and wood siding tends to rot or decay (thank you, humidity!).Brick, on the other hand, has proven to be low maintenance and doesn’t require the same level of upkeep as the other two. While it’s not necessarily cost effective to install brick siding from scratch, make sure whatever siding you do have is in shipshape by replacing any broken or rotting materials and giving it a good cleaning.
- Covered or screened in porches/patios
Covered porches are strong on the buyer wish list in Memphis. According to Brooks, it is a highly sought-after item among his customers, along with revitalized old Victorian homes. If you already have a screened-in porch, we recommend highlighting it in your listing description! If you don’t and are looking to make the addition, check out Maclin Security Doors for all your custom screen needs.
- Contemporary interior design aesthetic
Memphis buyers want open floor plans and neutral earth tone colors. Light porcelain tiles, wood or bamboo flooring, and granite or quartz countertops are extremely popular these days. They especially want updated kitchens and updated bathrooms with new showers and vanities. Pro tip: If you still have carpet, you might want to consider replacing it with tile or wood flooring options (the neutral wood floor linked above is especially popular)!
Find out what your Memphis house is worth
You’ve almost made it to the finish line. You understand your buyer, you know what they are looking for, and the updated features in your home will surely have prospective buyers gathering around your house in no time.
Now it’s time to play a little ‘Price is Right.’
Memphis is known for its affordability. “Housing prices are cheaper in Memphis than in other metropolitan cities,” says Brooks. According to reputed real estate information company Chandler Reports, the average Memphis home sale price in May was $192,883, compared to the national average of $309,700. This is a 14% increase from home prices last year, so while housing is cheaper in Memphis, the market is definitely on fire, too.
That being said, finding the right price is hard. It involves a lot of factors (neighborhood comps and home condition to name a few), so your best bet is to work with a real estate agent in the area who will help you compile a thorough comparative market analysis to price your home accurately the first time.
Ready, set, sell! Get your Memphis home on the market at just the right time
In real estate, timing is key, and Brooks says, “it’s a buyers’ market and a sellers’ market right now” in the Memphis area.
Inside the i-240 loop is a buyer’s market. Since only a few areas here are really appealing to buyers, there is a large inventory of homes to buy from. The rental market is strong in Memphis and investors and buyers alike are on the lookout for discounted properties to either buy and flip, rent, or own. With these many options, buyers can often name their price. But don’t worry, if you implement some of the tips above, you should still be able to get your money’s worth.
The suburban cities, on the other hand, have a sellers’ market. Homeownership is strong here, and since many home buyers are gravitating to these neighborhoods, you have a good chance of commanding a higher price point.
Sheldon Rosengarten, a top agent in Memphis who sells 68% more properties than his peers says, “the inventory is low, buyers are involved with multiple offers, there are bidding wars on properties throughout the different areas in the city and the county and it’s just a crazy market right now.”
According to our research, the best time to sell a house in Memphis is between the months of March-August because that’s when the most number of people are out looking for homes.
Based on our housing transaction data for Memphis, if you are looking to get the highest price for your house, you want to close in June. It generally takes about 3 months to close on your home, so we estimate that if you list your home in April you could sell your house for 14% more than the yearly average! On the flip side, January is the worst month to sell your home—you might be settling for 14% less than the yearly average. Yikes!
This doesn’t mean that you can’t sell your house at any other time of the year. Just be aware that you may not be getting the best bang for your buck.
Partner up with a top real estate agent in Memphis
Memphis has over 2,540 active real estate agents. Some are fantastic, while others are not so great.
The average agents only work with 53 properties while the top 3% of agents work with 278 properties, getting homes off the market in 51 days and sell for $9,039 more than the average.
With homes in Memphis usually sitting on the market for around 99 days, you want a good agent who can help you price your home right, and give you tips on making the best sale. They’ll even bring a team of stagers and photographers to create the updated look your home deserves!
Ready to sell your home? Get started with a top Memphis real estate agent today and get ready to sell fast!