When in Vegas: Don’t Bet the House, Just Sell It Fast

You might think of Las Vegas as primarily a suitcase city, bustling with tourists flying in and out for a wild weekend. In reality, more and more people are calling this gambler’s paradise “home.”

It isn’t just world-class restaurants and entertainment, gorgeous mountain landscapes, and the 294 sunny days each year drawing in new residents. A growing tech sector and reputation for being “business-friendly” are making Las Vegas an attractive place to live (and stay awhile!)

You can see the impact of Sin City’s booming population reflected in its housing market. Forbes reports that home price growth in Las Vegas is currently outpacing the rest of the country almost twofold. With a limited number of homes for sale, homeowners who put their house on the market face very little competition, and buyer demand is high.

That should make selling your home in Las Vegas easy, right? Not so fast.

It turns out, Las Vegas home shoppers are as one-of-a-kind as the city they dwell in. They want to see the latest design trends in their new home, and they like their real estate as new and shiny as The Strip. You can use this information to save time and get the most possible money on your home sale.

We researched local trends and spoke with Bryan Lebo, principal of the Lebo Group and a real estate agent who ranks in the top 1% of local agents, to find out everything you need to know about selling your house fast in Las Vegas.

When it comes to your largest financial asset, you don’t want to roll the dice.

It's a great time to sell your home in Las Vegas.

Get the Timing Right if You Want to Sell a Home in Las Vegas

First things first, when should you put your home on the market if you’re planning to sell in Las Vegas?

According to HomeLight’s Best Time to Sell calculator, if you list your home in July in Las Vegas, you could sell at 4.18% above the yearly average.

Lebo adds that houses in Las Vegas appreciate at the fastest rate from April through August. These are the months families often find it the most convenient to move, particularly if they have children in school, making it an ideal time to put your house on the market.

On the other hand, the months between Thanksgiving and New Year’s tend to be the slowest as buyers hunker down for the holidays. But since the weather in Vegas remains dry throughout the year, the drop in activity is not nearly as drastic as it is in other areas of the country.

Still, you should list your home during peak selling season to give it the best chance of selling for the most money.

Want to Sell a House in Vegas? Make Sure The Price is Right

Right now, the Sin City housing market is as hot as the desert sun, with home prices surging 16.1% in April 2018 and the number of local homes for sale at rock-bottom lows. That’s thanks to a population boom and strong economy pushing up buyer demand.

But it wasn’t always that way. During the housing bust, Vegas real estate experienced the highest of highs, and lowest of lows.

Now, healthy rather than artificial forces (like loose lending standards) have made the market strong again, putting sellers in a good spot.

In any market, pricing your home right matters to your bottom line. According to our Top Agent Insights Survey, 51% of real estate agents selected “Pricing a Home for Sale” as the biggest area sellers can go wrong.

That’s because pricing a home too high can drag out your home sale, force you to drop the price lower than if you’d priced it right from the start, and encourage lowball offers down the line.

But if you price too low, you risk losing money that is rightfully yours.

The median home price in Las Vegas has grown to $280,000, according to data from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors. But every home is different: Your neighborhood, school district, square footage, the year your home was built, as well as the condition of your home will impact how much buyers are willing to pay for it.

Don’t gamble on this very first step. Work with a top real estate agent to nail down a price using comparable home sales in your area from the past two to three months.

What ‘Move-In Ready’ Means in Las Vegas Real Estate

Much of the city’s metro housing is built around achieving a luxury lifestyle. Developments that span thousands of acres and feature perks like parks, trails, shops and schools (called master-planned communities) are the crown jewel.

These high-end residential neighborhoods, some spanning upward of 2,500 acres, collapsed hard during the recession but started making a comeback around 2015.

“A lot of the rules are considerably different in Las Vegas than you would find in other areas,” says Lebo. “If a home was built in the ‘80s, most likely that neighborhood doesn’t quite represent what the newer neighborhoods are like. And not just because they’re new, but just because the newer neighborhoods are wrapped in the comforting blanket or that bubble of a master-planned community.”

Rendering of the las vegas downtown centennial plan.
Las Vegas Downtown Master Plan (LasVegasNevada.gov)

Yet even in coveted master-planned communities, design trends come and go. Like a high-stakes game of hot-or-not, Vegas buyers will decide whether a home is move-in ready based on aesthetic fads.

“What was highly coveted three years ago, four years ago, is now highly antiquated,” Lebo says.

Brace yourself for this news: The once-popular granite countertops, travertine tile, cherry or clear-maple stained cabinets, and earth-tone hues are officially out in Vegas.

Now local buyers will pay a pretty penny for quartz countertops, wood-look porcelain flooring and gray-and-white tones, a color trend that is now “full-blown” in this market, according to Lebo. Think: Sherwin Williams 7664 (Steely Gray) paired with 7005 (Pure White).

Gray and white tones are now a "full-blown trend" in Las Vegas real estate.

Even the shape of your fireplace matters in the eyes of a Vegas home shopper. Everyone now wants the rectangular, modern look when it comes to this family room centerpiece.

A home decked out with dated upgrades, though objectively beautiful, may actually be less desirable on the Vegas market than a crummy home with carpet and laminate, says Lebo. Buyers would rather pay less and remodel to their liking than shell out for an expensive style that’s no longer “en vogue.”

Hedge Your Bets On the Kitchen and Master Bath

A rough exterior can be a sign of a poorly maintained home, so peeling paint or overgrown landscaping will likely turn off buyers before they even step inside.

Beyond that, however, buyers in the Las Vegas area tend to focus on the interior of a home, according to Lebo.

So say you’re one of those sellers who has a beautifully remodeled home with a “dated” style, here’s what to do:

Concentrate your attention on the kitchen and master bathroom—the make-or-break spaces of a house.

Consider these pro tips:

While the staining step is fairly cheap and easy, the kitchen countertops are a bigger project but will still give you a huge return on your investment, says Lebo.

And here’s the thing: You don’t need to remodel your whole house.

In Vegas, most buyers aren’t coming to the table with a tremendous amount of capital. They typically will have money for a down payment (and not much else) and have to maximize their purchase.

That makes a half-remodel or partial remodel an attractive option.

Lebo puts it this way: “[Buyers] can essentially finance that remodel into the loan—it’s not money out of pocket.”

Work With A Top Las Vegas Real Estate Agent You Can Trust

Even in a market as hot as Las Vegas, “selling your home on your own could be a roll of the dice,” says Lebo.

“A good agent can predict what the pitfalls are going to be before they even occur, so they already have a plan. [A seller] also might not realize what legally needs to be disclosed and what doesn’t. Something could go awry and you could open yourself up to a lawsuit.”

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In addition, a top real estate agent will prepare a professional marketing plan to maximize exposure of your house online.

According to Lebo, the average buyer only clicks through the first two or three pictures of your listing before deciding if they are intrigued enough to learn more. This means that not only do your photographs need to be amazing and professional, but that the order of the photos matters a lot.

Vegas alone has 9,192 real estate agents to choose from, but the cream of the crop can sell your house 1.5x faster and get you 7.9% more for your home, according to data from HomeLight.

If you’re ready to put your home on the market, it’s time to find a top real estate agent in Las Vegas who will get you more money for your home in less time. That way, in the end, you can say you won big in Sin City.

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