Henry Flagler’s mansion isn’t the only piece of real estate drawing interest in “The Island” anymore. Your own house could be a hot commodity thanks to a flurry of homebuying activity from the North descending on South Florida. This presents a perfect window to sell your home fast in West Palm Beach.
On top of the 8.22 million tourists who come to Palm Beach County for the smooth-sand beaches in a year, professionals with renewed flexibility to telecommute post-COVID-19 are saying: “Life’s a beach. Why shouldn’t I work there?” In turn, West Palm Beach saw median home prices rise 16% in Q3 2020 YoY as closed sales surged 22.8% over the same period, according to a market report from Douglas Elliman.
With a 36.3% drop in inventory since 2019, your home will attract hordes of attention if you heed local buyer wish lists. But in Florida’s second-most expensive city, buyers have high expectations. Our guide to selling your house fast in West Palm Beach will give you the inside track on how to compete with the pristine landscaping of your neighbors, address hurricane concerns, and play up any amazing views for a quick sale.
Play up your stellar West Palm views
Buyers don’t just flock to this tropical community for its historic architecture, designer shops, and lush country clubs — although all those amenities are nice! They come for the view: white sandy beaches and palm trees, soaked in sunshine year-round.
“Real estate is view-dependent,” comments Jeff Lichtenstein, a top West Palm Beach real estate agent who sells 72% more single-family homes than his peers.
Simply put, the better the view, the higher the value of the home. And while this intracoastal city lacks oceanfront real estate, its properties have incredible views of rolling golf courses, blue lakes, and bending waterways.
If your home has a stunning view:
- Arrange low-profile furniture and remove any window treatments such as valances or drapes that only serve to obstruct it.
- Deep clean any balconies with a pressure washer — these outdoor living spaces are key to selling the West Palm Beach fantasy.
- Stage the balcony with the best view with a pair of chairs or an outdoor sofa along with an umbrella.
- Set up a mini outdoor office with a balcony table and chair to charm remote workers relocating from colder states.
If the current view isn’t spectacular, upgrade it by turning your yard into a personal oasis, complete with lush landscaping and a fire pit or water feature. Additionally, choose the angles of your listing photos wisely to best showcase the property’s surroundings. For instance, Lichtenstein likes to use aerial photos to highlight the scale of the home in relation to the yard and pool.
Invest in curb appeal to secure a fast sale
In addition to showcasing your home’s views, consider how you can improve buyers’ view of your home itself. Curb appeal is critical, especially in West Palm Beach where buyers expect lush, elaborate landscaping.
“People here don’t like a cookie-cutter, ‘builder’ landscapes that look newly installed,” comments Luc Limbourgh, owner of Green Team Solutions LLC. “Buyers like to see properly maintained yards.”
Professional landscaping costs between $1,373 – $5,469 on average but brings sellers a strong return on investment, according to Lichtenstein. To transform your yard into a blooming jungle, layer a variety of native plants and top the soil with red mulch for a pop of color. You can also add color with red and green royal poinciana and magnolia trees.
Beyond benefiting curb appeal, trees help shade your property and keep your yard and home cooler throughout the day, a major perk when summer temperatures soar past 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If your home is blessed with mature trees, mention their benefits in the listing description. Otherwise, you may consider adding a tree to elevate your yard’s appearance, block unsightly views, and suppress noise.
While mature trees give more bang for the buck, they can be budget-busters. For instance, a mature live oak — one of the most popular shade trees in West Palm — can cost as much as $10,000. A more economical alternative might include planting banana trees, bamboo, or a hedge to improve your home’s views and level of shade.
Embrace tropical modernism when staging your West Palm Beach home
In HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report, 83% of top agents say that a staged home will sell faster than an unstaged home, with 67% of agents agreeing that staging increases the final sale price.
“Staging makes a big difference, psychologically,” states Jimi Lyn Ross, certified stager and owner of InStyle Home Staging. Staging homes for clients in Palm Beach and Broward County, Ross has won the Best of Houzz award for excellent customer service for three years running.
Concurring with HomeLight’s data, Ross adds that staging can increase a property’s sale price by 3% and shorten the negotiation period. A well-staged home heightens a buyer’s emotional connection to the property and sparks a desire to close the deal quickly before the competition makes a move.
If you’re an Autec Complex Navy Base family relocating before your home sells, it’s especially critical to stage your vacant home before it hits the market. Ross notes:
“Buyers need to be able to visualize where they’d place their own furnishings, but it’s hard to imagine in a vacant home with an open floor plan.”
When staging your home, aim for tropical modernism, a home design trend that pairs the minimalism of modern design with tropical accents, including pops of color and organic materials like teak. West Palm homebuyers love staying ahead of the design curve, so you’ll score big points by embracing these trends:
Lighten up your kitchen
“Granite is out,” Lichtenstein insists. “That brown/black granite from the 2000s is today’s Formica.”
Decorate a neutral base with rich jewel tones
Jewel tones like deep blue, emerald green, and amethyst remind buyers of the tropical scenery they love so much in West Palm. Make a statement by incorporating these vivid colors in rugs, pillows, and even cabinets for a pop of color against neutral-colored walls (which Ross insists should remain a light shade of beige or greige).
Add life to every room with organic details
Known as the Orchid City, West Palm Beach attracts residents who love nature and, by extension, appreciate home design that replicates the local ecology. The Daily News reports that sophisticated, bold, and bright floral wallpaper is making a comeback in West Palm. For a dash of trend, add peel-and-stick wallpaper to a powder room or at the back of your cabinets or bookcases.
Upgrade to patterned wood flooring
The latest flooring trend is patterned hardwood, often in a chevron pattern. Distressed wood that reveals the natural grain is also in vogue, contributing to the biophilic theme. Lichtenstein also recommends grey wood plank tile, a West Palm favorite that is more affordable and easier to maintain than wood flooring.
Install smart home features
West Palm buyers appreciate high-tech, eco-friendly homes. Dazzle them with smart refrigerators, motion-activated faucets, and mold zappers for the air conditioning unit. What’s more to love: Smart home features save energy, add security and convenience, and can increase the sale price of your home by up to 5%, according to Consumer Reports.
Play up West Palm Beach buyers’ most desired features
If you’ve got them, flaunt them. Showcase your home’s best features to attract more West Palm buyers and sell your home faster.
Emphasize high ceilings
Accentuate your home’s high ceilings to make rooms feel even grander. Hang artwork high on the wall, add architectural details such as crown molding, and mount window coverings near the ceiling to draw the eye up.
Get your swimming pool ready for summer
West Palm buyers love swimming pools, as Lichtenstein comments: “it’s part of the fantasy.”
If your yard includes a swimming pool, clean it up and keep it full of water throughout the listing period. Accessorize the surrounding deck with contemporary outdoor chairs and lanterns to complete the look. Most importantly, include photos of your pool in your listing. Don’t forget to turn on the waterfall for the listing photoshoot, as well as for home showings.
Create a backyard haven
Pool or no pool, all West Palm buyers love a backyard entertaining space, especially Baby Boomers and Millennials with dogs, Lichtenstein says. According to HomeLight’s recent Top Agent Insights Report, well-maintained decks and patios help homes sell faster and recoup 75% of the project costs in added home value. Buyers will also pay more for a well-appointed outdoor kitchen and an outdoor living room with a pergola. If you’re on a budget, you can stage an affordable outdoor living space by simply adding some chairs around a freestanding fire pit.
Score bonus points with work-from-home buyers by staging the dream outdoor office space. Set up a table with chairs near an outdoor outlet and boost the internet connection with an outdoor WiFi extender. Keep the space shaded and cool with an awning and mounted outdoor fan.
Highlight your hurricane protection
West Palm buyers are acutely aware that they’re moving into hurricane territory. Turn buyers’ attention to your home’s weather-proofing features such as accordion shutters or, even better, impact glass windows that withstand hurricane-force winds.
Check off the honey-do list for your West Palm listing
Checking items off the fix-it list can encourage higher offers with fewer cancellations. Conduct a pre-listing home inspection and address any findings before you go to market.
A few of the big-ticket items to take care of include:
- HVAC: A functioning air conditioner is essential in the West Palm Beach climate. Red flags that your unit needs maintenance include a malfunctioning thermostat, the heating or cooling running constantly, a noisy system, a furnace pilot light that goes out, and a cracked heat exchanger or chimney liner. Typical repair costs run between $165 to $651.
- Roofing: Salt whipped up from tropical storms can prematurely wear your roof. Missing, curled, or brittle shingles, as well as cracked or missing flashing can lead to leaks. Expect to pay $300 to $1,100 for a roof repair.
- Foundation: Look for diagonal cracking, crumbling mortar, or sinking due to dry or expanding soil. A professional can patch minor cracks for as little as $500, but extensive foundation repairs run between $4,000 to $10,000.
- Mold: Mold spreads rapidly in West Palm Beach homes since the annual average humidity levels around 72%. Test for mold before listing your home. Remove small patches of mold in bathrooms and around window sills with bleach. For widespread mold, you’ll want to call a professional. Remediation may run from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands, depending on the severity.
Don’t neglect these smaller repairs
Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes, starting with the all-important entry. Stand in front of your home and assess what needs sprucing up. You can easily tackle smaller repairs, such as:
- Adjust sliding doors, especially those out to the patio or pool.
- Update outside lighting with contemporary fixtures.
- Upgrade the doorbell.
- Purchase a new doormat.
- Clean door handles of rust with a rust removal spray.
- Replace the mailbox with a sleeker model.
Provide documents relevant to your home’s repair history
The more details on your home’s condition you can provide buyers with, the better. Gather invoices and warranties from home repairs and renovations such as roof upgrades and HVAC services before you list to prevent closing delays.
Sell the West Palm Beach lifestyle in your property listing
West Palm Beach buyers are looking for a certain lifestyle as much as they are a home. To capture buyers’ attention online, you’ll need to craft an enticing listing that convinces them your home is their first step to living the life of their dreams.
Location, location, location
WPB is a barrier island connected to the mainland by three bridges, so easy access to one of the bridges is desirable. Highlight your home’s proximity to the closest bridge, as well as the distance to downtown West Palm. You can also include a brief mention of some local restaurants, shops, and downtown attractions in walking distance.
Highlight landscaping in the photos
Spend money to get good photos, Lichtenstein says. It’s the first impression buyers will have of your home, so make it count. The first photos in the listing description should show off your home’s well-landscaped exterior along with any stellar views of nearby waterways or golf course greens.
Creative descriptions sell homes
Speaking of first impressions, Lichtenstein says the first sentence of the listing is key: “It needs to be sexy and tell a complete story.” Buyers may not read past the first sentence if it doesn’t get their attention immediately. He suggests skipping the basics, such as listing bedrooms and baths, since that information is already displayed elsewhere on the listing. Instead, add details that aren’t searchable in the MLS, like “unmatched and spectacular lake views” or “remodeled open floor plan with modern kitchen, privately situated on a cul-de-sac.”
Local attractions draw in out-of-area buyers
In addition to West Palm’s beaches, buyers enjoy the community’s outdoor recreation options, such as parks, golf courses, horseback riding, and hiking. Include mentions of your home’s proximity to these activities, along with entertainment hot spots in the listing description to provide some local highlights to out-of-area buyers.
Music lovers will appreciate SunFest, the state’s largest annual waterfront music and art festival, while shoppers will die for WPB’s four retail districts: Clematis Street, Rosemary Square, Northwood Village, and Antique Row, featuring bars, boutique shops, and organic produce stores.
Buying season at the “Beach” starts in the winter
West Palm Beach has a very defined buying season that spans from January to early July. According to Lichtenstein, buyers start looking in January after the holidays when many snowbirds begin house hunting in Florida for a permanent roost. The buying season continues through spring until mid-summer with most families looking to purchase a home before the Fourth of July.
Good news for sellers: Lichtenstein shares that single-family homes in Palm Beach County are selling in “an unheard of 27 days versus 46 days a year ago. Townhomes and condos take slightly longer at 35 days, versus 59 days a year ago.”
For the fastest sale possible, list your home in July to close your home sale in October. HomeLight’s data reveals that sellers who close in October sell their homes on average four days faster than any other month.
If your number one priority is to maximum profit, then you’ll want to close in August, when sellers earn 7.30% more on average. Factoring in closing time, to hit that jackpot, you should list your home in May.
Team up with a top agent for the fastest sale in West Palm
“Most sellers just want [their house] sold quickly,” Lichtenstein realizes, but he says the smart seller understands the value a top agent brings to help them meet this goal without compromising on sale price.
Top agents in West Palm Beach close deals 50 days faster than the average agent, selling homes in just 62 days — this is almost a full month less than the median timeline. Beyond speed, top agents help their sellers net an extra 9.3%.
To secure your fastest sale possible, find a top real estate agent who knows exactly what it takes to sell properties in this paradise.
Header Image Source: (Richard Sagredo / Unsplash)