As a Mobile homeowner, you remember why you first fell for this charming Southern city. Rich with history dating back to 1702, Mobile celebrates the best of the old and the new, with impeccably preserved historical homes and new hipster hotspots along Dauphin Street. The people here are beyond friendly, the seafood is top-notch, and the hospitality is unmatched — and that’s judging by Southern standards.
With time, the honeymoon period has faded away, leaving you itching to sell your home so that you can start a new romance with an upgraded neighborhood or new town entirely. Wherever you’re heading next, you’ll need to pour some attention into your home before you snag a fast sale in this city.
Reflecting the culture of the city itself, Mobile buyers seek homes that marry vintage details with modern comforts. As a seller, you’ll need to piece out which features to upgrade and which to preserve to make the most of your pre-listing budget.
Lucky for you, HomeLight is here to help. We analyzed area market trends and spoke with local real estate experts to craft a nice little guide to selling your house fast in Mobile. Follow this playbook and you’ll sell your house fast without compromising on the sale price.
Mobile’s real estate market: Low inventory drives a hot market
David Lucas, President of the Birmingham Association of Realtors, reported to AL.com that Alabama’s home inventory is down to a “historic level” of about 20%. He further comments that “at the same time, housing affordability in the state declined 5.3% quarter-over-quarter, as tight inventory and low-interest rates make it a seller’s market.”
A recent real estate study by the University of South Alabama highlights a drastic shift in inventory and buyer demand in Mobile County in the past year in particular. In June 2019, “not even 300 existing homes sold,” but in June 2020, “there were more than 708 taken off the market,” showing a 136% increase in sales.
With an abundance of buyers competing for a limited supply of homes, sellers can expect to sell their home quickly for asking price in most cases. Top real estate agent Emily Tidwell shares that it’s common for a Mobile listing to get some nibbles, and even some serious offers, within hours of hitting the market:
“If a house comes on the market, [I] have to show it that day,” she remarks, noting that buyers will often make offers on the home sight unseen to beat their competition. Most of her recent listings received six to eight offers in less than 24 hours, many of which are for the full listing price. As one of Mobile’s top-selling agents, Tidwell boasts a 102% list-to-sale price on average.
In addition to historically low-interest rates, Tidwell attributes the hot market to various financial programs available to buyers, such as zero down payment USDA home loans that bring many first-time homebuyers to the market. Other experts observe that the coronavirus pandemic has increased Mobile’s buyer pool, with work-from-home flexibility encouraging Alabama natives to return to their home state to settle down.
Price your house in Mobile, AL to sell
According to HomeLight’s database of home sales transaction data, the median selling price of homes in Mobile, AL rose from $110,500 to $148,000 from 2015-2019, marking a 34% increase in property values.
Biggest price gains in Mobile
Data from NeighborhoodScout shows that the top five highest appreciating Mobile neighborhoods include:
- N Joachim St / Beauregard St.
- U of South Alabama / Old Shell Rd
- Old Shell Rd / N Sage Ave
- Spring Hill Ave / Stanton Rd.
If your home is located in one of these areas, it’s likely that your home has experienced higher than average price gains for the city of Mobile. However, home prices in Mobile on average can range as low as $17,000 up to $520,000.
Get a home value estimate
To narrow in on your home’s asking price, start by using a tool like our Home Value Estimator. We’ll pair Mobile, AL housing market data from multiple trusted sources with unique details about your home that you tell us through a simple questionnaire. Got gorgeous custom features and a grand entrance? Let us know, and we’ll factor it in!
From there, a great Mobile real estate agent can help you adjust your price and pricing strategy to perfection.
Understand ‘Value Range Pricing’
One detail you might notice across many property listings in Mobile is the use of what’s called “value range pricing” (VRM). When you see a listing that says “seller will entertain offers between…$X and $Y” — that’s VRM.
Tidwell explains the strategy using an example of a single-family home valued at around $205,000 or $210,000:
“With VRM, you have a list price of $199,000 to $219,000, and it shows up in the MLS as $199,219, so it looks like it costs around $199,000. However, in your very first sentence, all agents are required to put ‘seller will entertain offers between 199,000 and 219,000,’” she shares.
The benefit of the strategy? “You are capturing buyers who are looking for less than $200,000 but could be approved for more than $200,000,” says Tidwell.
Talk to your agent about whether to use VRM to price your listing or whether you should stick with a static number.
Take remodeling notes from a Mobile, AL house flipper
Sellers all want buyers to walk into their home and immediately feel that “wow factor” — that reaction doesn’t just happen by chance. Richard Latimer, the owner of Veritas Home Buyers, has purchased and remodeled dozens of homes in Alabama, including Mobile, and is an expert on staging homes buyers love at first look. Here are his top tips for making a great first impression:
1. Add farmhouse details to make buyers swoon.
Mobile buyers go crazy for homes that mix rustic and contemporary details. Wherever possible, sellers stage their home with farmhouse accents à la Joanna Gaines.
Here are a few ways you can get the farmhouse look:
- Expose raw wood and support beams wherever possible.
- Accessorize with rustic home decor from Magnolia.
- Paint the front door an inviting color, such as yellow.
- Integrate shiplap behind a bed frame in the master bedroom.
- Redo your backsplash with subway tile.
- Stage your porch with rocking chairs, hanging ferns, and a eucalyptus wreath.
- Tidy your flower beds with pine straw for a “finished” look.
2. Focus on increasing your home’s usable space.
“With more people working from home, everyone is wanting more space,” Latimer remarks. “People want houses with a den or an extra bedroom that can be converted to an office space. With everyone spending more time at home, parents are wanting a big backyard for their kids.”
When staging your home, remove bulky and unnecessary furniture to increase the appearance of room size. Stage an extra bedroom or your playroom as an office space with a small desk and a unique lamp to appeal to remote workers seeking a designated work area.
If you don’t have an open floor plan, consider knocking down a wall to modernize your home. If the wall between your kitchen and living area is non-load-bearing, this project is relatively easy and inexpensive, costing $300 to $1,000 on average.
“People sometimes forget that a majority of the population growth in Mobile happens between the mid-1940s to 1980s, when the county population grew by around 200,000 to over 350,000 people,” Latimer shares. “The houses during this period were built for a different era where people felt that every room needed a wall to create separation. The top renovation we see is that houses need more open layouts to take advantage of all the space.”
Before you break out the jackhammer, ask your agent if the project will help your home sell faster.
3. Upgrade your kitchen with new appliances and fresh finishes.
For a fast sale, focus on remodeling the heart of your home: the kitchen. A well-appointed kitchen is one of the top five reasons buyers choose a house, especially now that families spend more time dining at home in light of the pandemic. It’s a trend that will likely continue.
“Families want to enjoy the sanctuary that is their home, and most importantly, they want to enjoy their kitchen. I recommend sellers think about their kitchen as central to the sales strategy,” Latimer explains.
“I follow the philosophy that anything that is exposed and metal should be modernized,” Latimer adds.
If your budget permits, consider adding these most-wanted features:
- Add a farmhouse sink.
- Build a walk-in pantry.
- Install a double oven.
- Upgrade to stainless steel appliances.
- Swap out kitchen hardware with brushed brass accents for a vintage vibe.
- Update the sink faucet, matching the finish to your hardware.
Avoid these common Mobile, AL home inspection pitfalls
In addition to modernizing the home’s appearance, sellers should preemptively take care of typical inspection issues, so they don’t slow down the closing process. Tidwell recommends the following upgrades to save time and money in the inspection phase:
Update to GFCI outlets
If not everywhere, Tidwell recommends updating your home with GFCI outlets in the “wet areas” such as bathrooms and kitchens. These are places where residents often experience the circuit breaker flipping, interrupting their cooking or hair drying with a power cut.
Clean your air conditioner and check the system for mildew
A dirty air conditioner attracts immediate attention and not in a good way. According to Fixr, the average cost to clean and repair an air conditioner ranges from $200 to $250.
Check for termite damage
Tidwell calls Mobile “termite central” and encourages her sellers to proactively check for termites before the buyer sees your home. A termite inspection costs around $100 on average, while termite treatments range from $220 and $911.
Replace polybutylene piping
Polybutylene (PB) is a plastic that was used as home plumbing piping between 1978 and 1996 until scores of homeowners reported PB pipe ruptures leading to significant property damage. Check the stamp on your piping to ensure you don’t have it: PB pipes are usually marked “PB2110.” Otherwise, you may want to shell out a few thousand dollars to upgrade the system.
“Buyers will freak out every time they see that,” Tidwell comments, suggesting sellers replace PB pipes before they list if they’re looking to secure a quick sale.
List your home in the spring for a quick sale
Like many U.S. markets, the best time to sell a house in Mobile is between late spring and mid-summer (May through July), but, surprisingly, home sales peak again in December. January tends to be the worst time, so if you find yourself looking to list then, it may be better to wait until spring rolls around again. Sellers in June only had their home on the market an average of 11 days, compared to 19 in January.
The key to selling a house quickly in Mobile: Work with a top real estate agent
To sell your house fast in Mobile, you’ll want to hire a real estate agent who knows the market deeply. While any agent can sell homes in a low inventory environment, only highly qualified agents can help you strategically position your home, so it not only sells quickly but also for the highest sale price possible. The top 3% of real estate agents in Mobile sell homes 42.43 days faster than the average agent, selling properties for $9,680 more than their peers.
Discover the top real estate agents in Mobile with HomeLight’s Agent Finder. We crunch transaction data and thousands of reviews to match you with the three best agents for selling your home. Once you match with these top agents, we recommend you interview each candidate before making your final decision.
To choose the best match for your home, choose the agent who:
- Appears to be the most knowledgeable about the market and provides valuable insight on how to sell homes quickly
- Listens to your opinions and ideas, but also provides recommendations based on comps and data when it comes to choosing a list price
- Gives concrete recommendations for preparing your house to sell
- Communicates clearly and responds promptly to your communications
Tick these boxes to sell your Mobile home fast
The key to selling your home fast in Mobile is to work with a top of the line agent who knows the ins and outs of this hot market. Once you partner up, tackle home staging, small renovations, and necessary home repairs to keep buyers intrigued. With some teamwork and TLC, you’ll sell your Mobile, AL home in no time.
Header Image Source: (Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock)