If you’re looking to sell your house fast in Lexington, you’ve got a winning local real estate market on your side. The Athens of the West continues to draw homebuyers thanks to a diverse job market nurtured by The University of Kentucky; Transylvania University; and several Fortune 500 hundred companies, including Amazon, Toyota, and Lexmark.
But don’t kick off your boots and expect offers to roll in. Lexington homebuyers want a house that strikes the perfect balance between urban offerings and country living, just like the city of Lexington itself. You’ll need to play up your home’s seasonal amenities and address any maintenance issues up front, or risk losing out to the more charming competition.
Inside the Lexington real estate market
The Lexington, KY real estate market favors sellers, and because of the Urban Service Boundary, it always has. Enacted in 1958, the first urban growth boundary limited new development to the Urban Service Area to curb the urban sprawl and protect the bluegrass and horse farms in the region. While the Urban Service Boundary accomplished its goals, it also has restricted the inventory in Lexington’s real estate market for decades, according to top-selling agent Bob Sophiea.
Moreover, according to the Lexington-Bluegrass Association of Realtors (LBAR), inventory levels continue to decline month after month, and are now dropping to historically low levels. As of September 2020, LBAR reported that there is currently a 41% decrease in available stock statewide from one year ago.
With interest rates sitting at an all-time low, buyers are diving into the market in record numbers. Those who would have otherwise waited are seizing the opportunity to strike while the iron is hot. On the flip side, with the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about the economy looming large, homeowners are anxious about the future. With many would-be sellers holding off on listing their homes, Lexington’s inventory crunch is more intensified than ever.
More good news for Lexington sellers: home prices are on the rise. The median selling price in Lexington increased from $101,000 in 2015 to $214,000 in 2019. In the last year alone, the median price rose by 6%, according to the LBAR. “Every location and every price point is hot at the moment. Even things that normally wouldn’t sell are selling right now,” says Sophiea.
Play up Lexington’s current home design trends
As you might have guessed, the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped buying decisions and wish lists across the country. Here are a few upgrades to help sell your house faster than average:
Create a home office space
With a marked increase in jobs that allow people to work from home, home offices have skyrocketed to the top of everyone’s checklist, as indicated by HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report for Q2 2020. In light of that, Lexington buyers are looking for properties that allow them to live and work at home while maintaining their productivity and some semblance of balance. Sophiea doesn’t expect this trend to die down anytime soon and suggests that homeowners stage a spare bedroom or flex space as a dedicated office space.
Rest assured: staging doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. The good news for you is that the farmhouse look is popular in Lexington, KY. And the pillars of this style are inexpensive, vintage, repurposed, and lived-in. Who knows, that old desk in your garage could be an essential piece of the puzzle to selling your Lexington home fast.
Style a breezy outdoor living area
According to Sophiea and HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report for Q3 2020, buyers are increasingly prioritizing homes with great outdoor spaces and backyards to garden, relax, and tackle DIY projects.
Since Lexington’s humid summers and frigid winters don’t exactly lend themselves to year-round outdoor entertaining, don’t sink a ton of money into an all-out renovation. Instead, focus on basic maintenance and staging to make space more welcoming:
- Pressure washing the patio or refinishing the deck for a fresh look.
- Add a dining table with a mix of chairs and bench seating for a touch of country.
- Decorate with a set of gingham pillows and a rustic lantern centerpiece.
- Replace old sconces with updated black fixtures that pop against your brick exterior.
- Install an outdoor fan to keep the space breezy on hot summer days.
If you’re selling during Ragweed season, remember to clean the outdoor furniture and deck before each showing — nothing spoils a picture of relaxation like a layer of pollen. In the winter, include a recent photo of the backyard blanketed in snow, as well as a photo of the yard taken in the summer to show buyers this space’s full potential.
When it comes to landscaping, border your yard with privacy boosting evergreens that love the Kentucky soil, such as Leyland Cypress Trees and American Pillar Arborvitaes. In the late spring and summer, decorate your planter beds with red plants like American Holly or Red Twig Dogwoods that thrive in Lexington spring through autumn.
Stage a spacious shared living area
With folks spending significantly more time in their homes these days, many are looking to move into spaces that offer a bit (read: a lot) more elbow room. Sophiea advises that large or even multiple family rooms have soared to the top of buyer’s must-haves.
Since you probably don’t want to take on a room addition or break down any walls before resale, your best bet lies in strategic staging to make the rooms appear larger. Use these tips to achieve illusion of a bigger space:
- Paint your home a lighter shade: Painting a room is an easy DIY project, and with the right color choices, the space will instantly appear larger. Lighten up your rooms with a light greige (Gray Mist by Benjamin Moore) or pale blue (Woodlawn Blue by Benjamin Moore), both neutral yet in line with the Farmhouse trend that Lexington buyers love.
- Declutter to enhance space: Excessive clutter eats into visual space, so be sure to give your home a good once over and remove anything that’s not critically important to the function or style of the rooms. You want buyers to see lots of clear flooring.
- Remove any unnecessary furniture: Pare down every room and leave only the essential furnishings. For example, remove that extra chair in the corner of your bedroom or a side table in the living room.
- Style primary living spaces: The ideal Lexington interior is casual for everyday living but elegant enough for a post-Keeneland cocktail party. Elevate your living room with a navy blue oriental rug and a pair of swoop wing chairs next to your sofa. Maintain a formal atmosphere in the dining room with a candle centerpiece. When it comes to accessories, don’t get carried away with an equestrian theme — include one horse statue or wall art max.
Give your Lexington home a spectacular web presence
“Be aware that the first showing of your home is going to be online” — a bit of advice that Sophiea finds himself dispensing more and more post-coronavirus. As of late, many buyers in Lexington are putting offers in “sight unseen” to snatch up desirable homes before the competition has a chance to arrange a showing.
Host a virtual tour
To catch eager buyers’ attention, host a virtual tour around lunchtime on one of the first weekdays your home is on the market. Considering that Lexington properties are largely resale properties, buyers will have their antennas up for potential issues that require maintenance. To address these concerns upfront, your agent should cover these key selling points during the tour:
- Highlight the condition of the HVAC system, showing buyers the system and primary vents throughout the home.
- Provide close-ups of recent upgrades in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Share the age of the roof and provide details on any recent repairs.
- Zoom in on the flooring, especially if your home has beautiful hardwood floors.
Sell the lifestyle in your property listing
Your listing description is another opportunity to ‘wow’ buyers right out of the gate. Focus on selling your home’s lifestyle, rather than merely listing property features. Describe your home’s cozy fireplace, fan-cooled sunroom, and proximity to walking trails, so buyers understand how the home will fit their needs year-round.
Beyond details on your home itself, highlight the short distance to the closest of Lexington’s top social hubs: Keeneland, Rupp Arena, and downtown. Since traffic is a growing problem in the city, you’ll score bonus points if your home is a short commute to the city center.
Lift your curb appeal to sell your house fast in Lexington
Luke Smith, founder of We Buy Property In Kentucky, tells us the simplest things that you can do to sell your house even faster than the competition: Elevate your curb appeal.
“Just planting some flowers or touching up paint to the front of your property will go a long way to help sell your home,” says Smith. “A buyer wants to move into a great space, not purchase a problem.”
Breathe some life to your front yard with seasonally appropriate foliage
When selling your home, maintain a freshly mowed lawn and low-maintenance landscape that buyers can feel confident maintaining throughout Lexington’s tumultuous seasons.
“Even if they garden as a pastime, they see that as work — work that they don’t want to do,” comments Smith. In order to sell quickly, sellers should make the front yard as turnkey as possible.
Just as with the backyard, evergreens are a beautiful, low-maintenance option that thrives all year round. In the autumn, try Oak Leaf Hydrangea and Fothergilla (witch-alder). Sky’s the limit in the springtime, though Begonias, Sunpatiens, or Angelonias particularly boost your home’s Southern charm.
Accentuate your brick exterior
If you own one of Lexington’s brick beauties, groom this sought-after material to perfection:
- Repair or replace damaged bricks as needed.
- Power wash your exterior with a pressure washer set to 3,000 psi.
- Paint your front door and shutters black or a primary color to complement the brick.
Avoid common Lexington house inspection pitfalls
Sophiea indicates that most home inspections pitfalls in Lexington are really just your standard-issue inspection problems that most homes have, including:
- Damaged HVAC system: A functioning air-conditioning system is essential to battle Lexington’s hot summers and pollen-ridden falls. Before you list your home, clean and replace dirty HVAC filters with HEPA filters, which remove 99% of Ragweed pollen. If your HVAC system is malfunctioning, call in a pro to repair the system; expect to shell out between $150 and $450 on average for a repair.
- Plumbing and water issues: Watch out for plumbing and water issues such as leaky pipes, dated water heaters, and water in crawl spaces. You can easily eliminate water in crawl spaces by adding downspouts for an average cost of $230.
- Worn windows: Window issues often include failing seals, windows that don’t operate properly, or broken panes. For a quick fix, replace window stripping DIY-style for less than $50.
That said, Sophiea points out one inspection issue that’s especially prevalent in Lexington properties: radon gas.
Homes in Kentucky are at an even higher risk for high radon levels since more than half the surface rock across the state is limestone. While locals attribute the region’s fantastic bourbon and horses to traces of limestone in water, the breakdown of limestone under properties leads to higher than normal radon levels.
Play it safe and hire a professional to check your home for radon. Radon mitigation costs between $780 and $1,177 on average.
Work with a top Lexington agent to sell your home fast
“To get the most you can possibly get, you have to create the perfect storm, which is condition, price, and marketing,” shares Sophiea.
For a quick overview of your home’s value, you can use a free online tool like HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator. Just remember that this estimation is only a starting point to listing price, accounting for basic home features such as square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, and market competition. To pinpoint your home’s true value, you’ll need to partner with a top real estate agent who can weigh in additional factors like your home’s condition, finishes, and floorplan.
A top real estate agent will harness their years of experience and local expertise to develop a nuanced pricing strategy to guarantee you a fast sale for a top price. Once you settle on a price, they’ll recommend key home improvements and marketing strategies to help your home stand out from the competition. Our data proves that top agents in the Lexington area sell homes 28 days quicker than average agents — that’s 1.7x faster.
Follow our tips to pull off a fast sale
Lexington, KY has plenty to offer, not the least of which is a robust real estate market. And while the local real estate market is clearly in the seller’s corner, there is still plenty of work to be done if you want a fast sale. On your own, you should tackle home repairs, improve your interior, and boost curb appeal to make your home more appealing to buyers. Beyond that, you should partner with a top real estate agent who knows how to reach Lexington buyers in person and online.
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