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Pressed for Time? 8 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast in Riverside

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

Need to sell your house fast in Riverside? You’re in luck: Riverside is one of the fastest-growing counties in the country, with homebuyers relocating from Los Angeles and nearby coastal cities inland to purchase more affordable homes. The increase in buyer demand has led to an average annual home appreciation rate of 4.76% — nearly a percentage higher than the national average of 3.8%.

Still, even in this hot market, selling your house fast is not guaranteed. Your home is up against hundreds of comparable properties, all fighting for buyers’ attention with freshly remodeled interiors and enticing swimming pools. If you want to sell fast in this suburban oasis, you’ll need to make strategic upgrades and market your home effectively to stand out from the competition.

But don’t worry — HomeLight’s got your back. We spent hours digging into market data and interviewed two local real estate experts to bring you these expert tips proven to sell your house fast.

A house for sale in Riverside.
Source: (Taylor Simpson / Unsplash)

1. Market your college-adjacent home to Riverside’s property investors

Riverside is home to four colleges: University of California, Riverside (UCR), California Baptist University, La Sierra University, and Riverside City College. According to a study by UCR, proximity to a university has a significant positive impact on the price of two-bedroom homes. Researchers indicate that investors tend to compete to purchase properties near universities to rent them to students, which influences home values in these areas to rise.

If you’re selling a home near one of Riverside’s colleges, here’s how you can market your house to attract property investors:

  • Include travel-time to the closest university in your listing and advertise your home around the local college campuses.
  • Stage all legal bedrooms with beds and desks to accommodate students.
  • If there are two levels, consider adding a kitchenette to the second level to create an in-law unit; the appraised value of the properties with in-law suits is 7.2% to 9.8% higher on average, according to a study in Appraisal Journal.
  • Upgrade your home with durable “student-proof”  features such as laminate flooring, which costs around $3.80 to $4.80 per square foot.

2. Boost curb appeal with drought-resistant plants and artificial turf

Riverside is located in a desert with an average rainfall of just 11 inches per year compared to the national average of 38 inches. With the desert climate, California’s long-standing drought, and occasional water restrictions, you’ll score big points with Riverside buyers if your front yard is low-maintenance and requires minimal watering.

Beautify your curb appeal with these desert-friendly elements:

  • Replace your yellowing lawn with artificial grass: Artificial grass is less maintenance and only requires water for the occasional rinse to refresh its appearance.
  • Incorporate large rocks and gravel: Rocks and gravel add color and texture to your front yard and complement your home’s exterior.
  • Create a xeriscape: Drought-tolerant doesn’t mean green-free. Add greenery to your curb appeal with native desert plants such as palm trees, succulents, and cacti that require minimal water to thrive. Xeriscaping a 1,200 square foot yard with drought-tolerant plants, micro-spray irrigation, and a walkway costs an average of $17,000 and $6,000 on the low end.

That said, if your front yard has a real grass lawn — don’t sweat it. Marni Jimenez, a top real estate agent in Riverside who consistently ranks in the top 1% of local agents, shares that buyers still appreciate a traditional lawn:

“[Sellers] can get away with green grass or drought-tolerant landscaping. The buyers out here really don’t care as long as it looks nice,” she comments.

A patio outside a house for sale in Riverside.
Source: (Arcwind / Unsplash)

3. Create a shaded backyard oasis for those hot Riverside days

Given the average temperature in summer months soars above 90 degrees, Riverside buyers want a shaded backyard rich with outdoor entertaining amenities. Jimenez notes that buyers care about outdoor living spaces now more than ever after spending more time in their backyards during the Coronavirus pandemic.

If you don’t have a backyard patio, consider building one to attract more buyers to your home. According to HomeLight’s Top Agent Report for Q2 2020, on average, a new patio costs $5,868 to build and recoups 85% of the project cost. That’s a $4,994 value add, plus a big boost in marketability to bring in more offers faster.

Keep the outdoor living area cool with a gazebo, sunshade, or at least an outdoor umbrella. At the cheapest, these shades cost under $100 — a small price to pay to help buyers envision a more comfortable space.

Once you’ve established a covered patio, enhance your backyard with these outdoor features:

If you have a pool, keep it clean and free of surface debris throughout the selling period. Professional pool cleaners charge between $75 to $150 per month for weekly cleanings. Repair any system issues before you list. Common pool repairs and services range from $100 to north of $1,000.

4. Service your air-conditioning unit before you go to market

Given the high temperatures in Riverside, every buyer has a functioning air conditioner on their must-have list. Service your AC for an average cost between $125 to $459, depending on necessary repairs. If your home lacks air-conditioning, install an AC unit for an average cost of $3,350 to $5,912 to ensure you don’t miss out on early offers.

5. Enhance and show-off your home’s energy efficiency

Enjoying 277 sunny days per year, Riverside buyers appreciate green home features such as solar panels and Energy-Star appliances that reduce annual utility costs. In fact, Riverside is a national leader in solar energy, supplying a total of 45.3 megawatts of solar power. If your home runs off solar energy, mention the benefits of solar in your home listing and at in-person showings:

You can also attract buyers with new Energy Star appliances. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), nearly 90% of moderate-income homebuyers desire homes with Energy Star appliances. When choosing a style, our research proves that stainless steel is still king, with 75% of top agents agreeing stainless steel is buyers’ favorite finish.

A GFCI outlet in a Riverside house for sale.
Source: (Taylor Simpson / Shutterstock)

6. Conduct a pre-listing home inspection to speed up your home sale

According to NAR, home inspection issues account for 16% of closing delays. To speed up your home sale, conduct a pre-listing home inspection so you can address any necessary repairs before buyers even see your home. If you provide buyers with the inspection findings upfront, they may also be more likely to submit their offer faster if they know the property is in good condition.

Jeff Bissonnette, co-owner of Riverside’s JBD Home Inspectors, shares that plumbing and electrical are two of the most common home inspection issues in Riverside. Here’s an overview of common repair costs:

  • Plumbing repairs: On average, plumbing repairs cost $125 to $350 for smaller jobs such as fixing a leaky faucet. More extensive repairs, such as replacing a pipe, cost between $500 and $800 on average. When hiring a plumber, Bissonnette reminds sellers to ask their network for referrals and to read online reviews; thoroughly vetting your professionals upfront can save you time and money in the repair process.
  • Electrical repairs: Jimenez shares that home inspections often flag old outlets that won’t hold plugs anymore. Replace any problematic outlets with new GFCI outlets for an average cost of $141 to $419. Larger electrical repairs are more costly and range on average between $1,100 to $6,000. Even so, you’ll want to handle these repairs before the buyer is involved to avoid related delays in the negotiation period.

7. List your home in April to catch Riverside’s peak selling season

If you want to sell your house fast in Riverside, timing is everything. Our data reveals that July is the best month to sell to secure a fast sell, with homes selling six days faster than the yearly average. Since it typically takes three months from list to close, list your home in April to capitalize on the peak season. For the highest sale price possible, consider listing in June to sell your home in September, when homes sell for 1.99% more than the yearly average.

A person using a computer to sell a house in Riverside.
Source: (Anthony Riera / Unsplash)

8. Partner with one of Riverside’s top real estate agents to sell your house fast

One of the most surefire ways to sell your house fast in Riverside is to work with a top real estate agent. In Riverside, the top 3% of agents buy and sell in just 37 days compared to the 76 days it takes the average agent. The same top agents net their clients 5.8% more on their home sales than the average agent.

Top agents understand the nuances of the Riverside market like how much more a home near a university can fetch than the average property. They’ll guide you through every step of the home sale process to ensure you only spend money on home repairs and renovations proven to recoup their project costs and help your home sell faster.

To find the best real estate agents for your home sale, plug your property details into HomeLight’s Agent Finder. We’ll match you with the top three agents for your home based on transaction data, including average days on market, average list to sale price, and client reviews. Once you meet your matches, hire the agent whose experience you trust the most and whose personality you connect with to lead a home sale that’s as smooth as it is fast.

Header Image Source: (Tim Gray / Shutterstock)