You’ve created wonderful memories living in your Rocket City home, but you’re feeling the pressing winds of change. Perhaps you need to move closer to your grandchildren, buy a larger home, or it’s time to downsize after the kids have gone to college. Fortunately, it’s never been a better time to sell your house fast in Huntsville, but there are proven strategies savvy home sellers can apply to ensure a quick, smooth, and most profitable sale.
Most sellers want to move locally because they want to upsize or downsize. We’re seeing people with families who want to upsize, and then once the kids go off to college, we’re seeing downsizing happen.
- Amanda Howard Real Estate AgentCloseAmanda Howard Real Estate Agent at Amanda Howard Sotheby's International Realty Currently accepting new clients
- Years of Experience 24
- Transactions 94
- Average Price Point $228k
- Single Family Homes 92
Strike while the Huntsville market is hot
A thriving economy, low taxes, scenic mountain views, craft beer, and an arts and culture scene are drawing eager homebuyers to Huntsville, Alabama, ranked one of the best places to live and work in America. Home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the area also employs thousands of aerospace engineers, making Huntsville among one of the best cities in the country for hosting and attracting high-tech jobs.
Amanda Howard, an experienced agent who also owns a top real estate brokerage in Huntsville, says the Huntsville housing market is rapidly changing. “Homes are selling as soon as they hit the market.”
The median sales price for Huntsville homes in 2020 hit $240,000 compared to $179,000 in 2016 and it keeps increasing. “We’ve been able to get our sellers an average of $49,000 above asking price on a regular basis.”
The Huntsville companies responsible for the growth and bringing in “tens of thousands of people” from out of state include:
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Redstone Arsenal’s engineering firms
- Toyota Motor Manufacturing
Howard says she hasn’t seen many people move out of Huntsville once they move in.
“Most sellers want to move locally because they want to upsize or downsize,” Howard says.“We’re seeing people with families who want to upsize, and then once the kids go off to college, we’re seeing downsizing happen.”
Owning a home close to Interstate 565 in the desirable neighborhoods of Five Points, Hampton Cove, Madison, or Twickenham Historic District makes your property in demand because they’re centrally located.
“You can jump on the 565 and go anywhere in Huntsville and Madison,” says Howard. If you need to go to Athens, if you need to go to Nashville, if you need to go to Birmingham, it’s a quick, straight route –– and the Redstone Arsenal and Huntsville International Airport are right off 565.”
Knowing who these buyers are and what’s drawing them to Huntsville can help sellers put together a better sales strategy. But to get the best offer for your home and speed up the sale, you need to hit buyers’ wish lists and stay ahead of common Huntsville inspection issues. We’ve rounded up what you need to know and do to make that happen.
1. Amp up your curb appeal and remove that Alabama red clay
Your front yard is the first thing buyers see on your property, so ensure it makes a great first impression. 94% of agents agree that curb appeal not only makes the exterior look beautiful, but it motivates buyers to pay more for a home.
However, enhancing curb appeal doesn’t need to cost a fortune. A few small projects can make a big difference. For example, hiring a lawn care service can deliver a return on investment (ROI) of 352%, so a $500 landscaping investment could bring in an additional $1,760 when you sell your home. Other projects to boost curb appeal include:
- Laying fresh mulch: increases home value by 126%
- Painting the exterior: adds $4,228 to a home’s sale price and raises property values 2% to 5%
- Installing a new garage door: produces an average ROI of 76.9%
- Adding lighting: makes a difference for an outdoor living space to 41% of buyers
Pressure wash cement to remove Alabama red clay
If you live in Huntsville, you know that red clay soil clings to cement. You’ve likely seen the stains on sidewalks, driveways, and on the exterior of homes.
“As soon as we come to a home, we tell people to pressure wash the cement,” says Howard. It’s really important and something we have to do to almost every home.”
2. Design an indoor-outdoor living space to wow buyers
With pleasant year-round weather and more people working remotely from home, 31% of agents said a larger outdoor space was a big motivating factor in their markets. Buyers want homes with indoor-outdoor entertaining spaces. To appeal to buyers looking at your Huntsville home, consider updating outdoor spaces with:
- Outdoor kitchens
- Stone fireplaces
- Built-in grills
- Outdoor living rooms with weather-resistant furnishings, coffee tables, and area rugs
In a survey, 77% of agents cited that a firepit with a couch or bench is the no. 1 backyard entertainment feature. “People utilize that outdoor living space,” says Howard. “Firepits are always a big deal or stone fireplaces are just gorgeous here. That’s what I’ve seen have been the favorites.” The cost to add an outdoor firepit can range from $300 to $1,400.
3. Inspect for radon gas and foundation issues before you list your home
There’s nothing that delays a sale more than failing inspection issues. And in the South, the two big red flags are radon gas and your foundation. Radon is a radioactive gas that breaks down in rocks, soil, or groundwater. It can get trapped in foundations and seep into homes. The cost for radon remediation costs between $500 to $3,000, depending on its complexity.
Another common inspection issue in Huntsville occurs in foundations. Moisture from red clay soil can cause foundations to crack.
Howard recommends pre-testing for radon and inspecting your home’s foundation before you put it on the market so you’re not hit by a large bill that comes up after you’ve already negotiated a price you’re comfortable with.
4. Invest in these kitchen upgrades Huntsville buyers will love
Buyers seek turnkey homes that don’t need remodeling and renovation, especially when it comes to kitchen upgrades. According to our top agent survey, the favorite kitchen upgrades include:
- Kitchen islands
- Walk-in pantries
- Cabinet and drawer storage
- A pretty backsplash
- Smart appliances
When you don’t have a budget –– or the time to invest in a complete kitchen redo, Huntsville Interior Designer Caroline Payne and owner of Caroline’s Designs recommends adding a granite or quartz countertop and a backsplash.
“Backsplashes don’t cost a lot of money. It’s an inexpensive update that I honestly believe you would get the return on your money,” Payne says. “Something simple and understated can make a big difference in a kitchen. I see a lot more mosaic and subway tile backsplashes with designer texture elements in Huntsville that add interest.” The cost to install a kitchen backsplash typically ranges from $592 to $1,317.
In higher-end Huntsville luxury homes, I’ve seen butler pantries with wine fridges, wet bars, and ice machines,” says Payne. It’s really a matter of how much you’d like to spend.
5. Renew your bathroom’s appearance with new hardware and fixtures
An inexpensive update you can do to make your bathroom look as good as new is to swap out dated hardware and fixtures. Opt for matte black accent hardware, Huntsville’s newest decor trend that’s popular in modern and historical homes. “We’re seeing in interiors that people love the black matte finishes,” says Howard. For a cohesive look, consider installing these en vogue finishes throughout your home. As luck would have it, you can purchase most bathroom items, even faucet fixtures, below $100 as well as:
Rainshower and multi-jet shower systems can run you a little more at around $220, but the investment may be worth it since they’re a desirable hot ticket item in Rocket City homes, Payne says.
6. Create a warm ambiance for showings with these 5 staging trends and tips
According to top agent insights, staging your home increases property sales prices by 26.9% on average. Home staging is the process of preparing your home to sell to make it more appealing to potential buyers. And Payne says you don’t need to stage every room in your home.
Clean and declutter
The first thing you need to do is ensure your home is clean and free of clutter. “We all accumulate stuff over the years,” says Payne. “Take time to clean it out and go through stuff and purge.”
Create conversational spaces in the primary bedroom and living room
In bedrooms, arranging a sitting area by the window with two chairs and a small table gets noticed. Dress the bed with linens that appeal to any gender and add two nightstands with lamps.
In the living room, create a couple of conversational spaces. “Don’t be afraid to float your furniture away from the wall,” says Payne. Add a piece of artwork to pull together the colors in the room and design a simple reading nook with a chair and table to create an intimate space.
Punctuate your home with images of Rocket City’s history and attractions
Howard explained that Huntsville attracts many out-of-state buyers. One way to appeal to buyers relocating to Huntsville (while also making your home look inviting) is to tastefully and sparingly weave elements of the city’s history, landmarks, and natural landscape into your decor. Hang colorful photographs of Montesano Mountain, the Huntsville skyline, and vintage art prints of Rocket City on your walls, and display a coffee table book by the sofa detailing Huntsville’s photographic history that potential buyers can flip through for inspiration.
Paint walls in earth tone colors
Howard and Payne agree that they’re seeing homes with earth tone paint colors and black accent fixtures. Payne recommends the following greige and brown hues for living room walls and white shades for the trim.
- Agreeable Gray SW-78029
- Worldly Gray SW-7043
- Edgecomb Gray HC-173
- Revere Pewter HC-172
- Pure White SW-7005
- Alabaster SW-7008
Turn a formal dining room into a home office
Formal dining rooms are taking a backseat to open-concept layouts, which aren’t going away anytime soon. A new trend in Huntsville, says Payne, is turning the formal dining room into a home office. Just add a table, bookshelf, laptop, and chair.
7. Sell your house fast with a Huntsville top agent
According to the National Association of Realtors, 90% of home sellers work with a real estate agent to sell their home. Top Huntsville real estate agents sell homes in 46 days, which is less than half of the time it takes for an average Huntsville agent to sell a home.
Top local agents provide a variety of benefits to sellers, including:
- Local expertise
- Access to a network of industry connections you can’t find on your own
- Ability to prepare an in-depth market analysis of your home and neighborhood
- Marketing and advertising know-how
- Skill in the art of negotiation
- Access to talented photographers and videographers to make your home inviting before a buyer steps foot on your property
A top Huntsville agent can get you more money for your home and sell it faster. Simply input your property details into our Agent Match and HomeLight will match you with three top local agents based on your property’s criteria. The Agent Match service is 100% free and takes just two minutes to complete. Agents never pay to list with us.
8. Skip the repairs, prep work, and open houses with a cash offer
If unexpected or sudden changes in your life are making it necessary to sell your Huntsville home right away, HomeLight can provide you with an all-cash offer through our online Simple Sale platform. Tell us a bit of information and we’ll provide you with a no-obligation cash offer in as few as 48 hours. It’s quick, easy, and stress-free.
Header Source: (Madeleine Maguire/ Unsplash)