The days when Tacoma’s charms were eclipsed by Seattle, its sprawling cosmopolitan neighbor 34 miles north, are over. A growing number of homebuyers are discovering what locals like you already know — bigger isn’t always better. And this puts you in position to sell your Tacoma house fast.
“Buyers are realizing that Tacoma’s just as beautiful an area as Seattle,” says Kris Shook, a top selling real estate agent in Tacoma with 19 years of experience. “And you can get way more bang for the buck here than there.”
Situated on the shores of Washington’s South Puget Sound with Mount Rainier in its backyard, Tacoma’s stunning location does much of the heavy lifting when it comes to enticing buyers. The aptly nicknamed City of Destiny also boasts diverse neighborhoods and numerous cultural attractions.
Even in a city with so much to offer, you need to be realistic about your home’s imperfections. Many Tacoma houses are more than a half-century old. While this is a draw for some buyers, it can also translate into costly repairs or renovations that some may shy away from. To sell fast, you need to know which improvements are worth budgeting for — and which to skip.
Whether you’re downsizing your spacious Eastside empty nest for a taste of urban living in a hip Downtown Tacoma condo, upsizing to one of Northeast Tacoma’s planned communities to make room for a growing family, or dreaming of retiring in the Arizona desert, these tips will help you reach your next destination sooner.
1. Team up with a top Tacoma agent to sell your home faster
Tacoma homes appreciated 11.5% in the past decade. While the median value of a house in Tacoma is $390,000, the average price for a home in Dash Point/Brown’s Point, the city’s most expensive neighborhood, is $691,062.
Leading Tacoma real estate agents understand the nuances of their market. When you partner with one of the top 3% of Tacoma’ 8,244 active real estate agents, you can sell your home 28.08 days faster than the local average. Plus, you’ll earn $15,325 more on a sale when compared to the average agent.
According to Shook, clients selling homes with attractive features like a water view or generous corner lot in a popular North Tacoma neighborhood often receive offers ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 more than their listing price when they heed a savvy agent’s advice. No matter what neighborhood your home is located in, a top agent can help you move it quickly — and for the best price.
When it comes to finding your perfect Tacoma real estate agent, HomeLight can help. We’ll analyze transaction data, including average days on market, average list price, and client reviews, to match you with the top three agents for your home. Hire the one you click with and whose expertise you trust the most, and you’re on your way to a quick sale.
2. Complement your vintage home’s character with contemporary updates
If you’re selling a Victorian, Craftsman, Tudor, or other vintage home in a desirable historic neighborhood such as North Slope — one of the country’s largest historic districts — you’re in luck. These gems are in demand. To move your classic home faster and for the best price, highlight its rich period details while sprucing up dated features.
Flaunt hardwood floors
Got carpet hiding original hardwood floors? Rip it up and let their natural beauty shine. Vintage home fans swoon for the gleaming oak, mahogany, and pine floors these abodes are known for.
Polish them up or, if needed, refinish them. If your floors don’t require sanding and you’re a seasoned DIYer, save money by cleaning and refinishing them yourself. Complete the work in a day for around $200 by following this step-by-step plan from This Old House, a brand that dispenses advice to nearly 15 million readers each month. Otherwise, it’s worth paying an expert to do the job as you’ll likely make back 100 percent of your investment when you sell your home.
Refresh your kitchen
If your retro kitchen is stuck in the past, bring it into the present with a mini facelift. Replace a dreary backsplash with white subway tiles for a timeless yet contemporary look that works well in vintage homes. To brighten your kitchen while preserving its traditional character, paint dark cabinets white.
3. Create a warm, welcoming space to showcase your home’s assets
Research from HomeLight shows that 83% of top agents say a staged home sells faster than an unstaged home. In addition to deep cleaning and decluttering, local Tacoma home stager Elise Raphael-Hasse recommends the following easy steps to draw Tacoma buyers to your home’s best traits while detracting from flaws:
If your living room has a water or mountain view, make sure it’s the focal point by arranging a seating area to face it, advises Raphael-Hasse. “Take down those old curtains or bent-up blinds to show off the view and bring in more light,” she adds.
Go neutral, but don’t rule out pops of muted color
You can’t go wrong with a fresh coat of neutral paint, says Raphael-Hasse. Avoid stark whites and opt for a pale beige like Magnolia’s Soft Linen or Valspar’s Promenade, a warm white, to simultaneously brighten your space and bump up its cozy factor. Grey is another safe bet.
Try a soothing shade like Valspar’s Gallery Grey. Add subtle touches of color with throw pillows in muted greens and blues that nod to the natural beauty of Tacoma’s bay and forests.
Tone down bold accent walls
If you don’t want to paint over an accent wall, bring the drama down a notch with light-colored artwork such as this calming abstract landscape from Wayfair.
4. Sell Tacoma’s relaxed laws on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
Virtual and hybrid offices are here to stay, giving people who were once tied to a desk in Seattle or pricey California cities like San Francisco more freedom about where to live. Results of HomeLight Top Agent Insights Survey for Spring 2021 indicate 19.4% of the nation’s top agents say they’re seeing major employers embrace virtual offices permanently post-pandemic while 52.4% say employers in their market will combine working from home with on-site days. If you have a bonus room, market its virtual office potential.
Many homeowners who don’t have space for an office are building standalone ADUs. HomeLight data shows this trend is strongest in Pacific cities like Tacoma where adding ADUs to residential properties has surged by 70%. Be sure to play up Tacoma’s new relaxed restrictions on ADUS in your home listing. Passed in 2019, the current ADU law eliminates many of the hoops homeowners once had to jump through to build a new structure — or convert an existing one, such as a garage — into an office, rental unit or separate quarters for family members or guests.
5. Go green and clean to maximize curb appeal in Tacoma
Lure more potential buyers to your front door with a verdant, manicured lawn, advises Shook. For a splash of eye-catching color, consider adding a few low-maintenance perennials that thrive in Tacoma’s temperate climate. Think dahlias, lupines, or primroses.
Tacoma’s rainfall totals 41 inches per year, a bit more than the U.S. average of 38 inches. This extra moisture is ideal for healthy lawns and gardens, but it’s not so kind to roofs and exteriors. “Make sure your roof looks good and has been well-maintained, as well as your siding,” says Shook. “These are two of the things that get called out most often by buyers.”
Give your roof and exterior siding a thorough cleaning to eliminate mold, mildew and algae stains. Hire a professional power washer. Or make it a DIY project with a product like Wet & Forget roofing and siding cleaner, which you can attach directly to your hose.
6. Prepare for common home inspection snafus
The average Tacoma home is 52 years old, so inspections can uncover some ugly secrets due to wear-and -tear, lack of maintenance, and aging building materials. Tacoma’s wet winters and bayside location also contribute to problems that could derail a speedy sale. Here are three areas Shook says are particularly prone to problems in Tacoma, plus tips for handling them:
Know what’s lurking in your attic
Rodents, excess moisture, poor ventilation, and shoddy insulation are common problems inspectors see in Tacoma attics. Installing fans or a combination of intake and exhaust vents will help your attic breathe and stay dry to prevent mold and roof damage. Do-it-yourself fixes to keep uninvited furry tenants out of the attic include setting traps and sealing entry holes. Keep in mind mice can wriggle through a hole as tiny as a pencil eraser. You may want to budget for an inspection and repairs by a pest control professional.
Get real about your roof
Even motivated buyers can balk at the sight of a dilapidated roof. Knowing what you’re dealing with gives you negotiating power to help you stay on track for a fast sale. Just because a roof doesn’t leak when it’s raining doesn’t mean it couldn’t use some TLC. Avoid the pain and expense of major repairs or a brand-new roof by replacing shingles showing signs of damage or that blew off during a storm.
Go down under
Like attics, crawlspaces can be havens for rodents. Standing water is another worrisome find as it can cause mold and other problems. Make sure you know the source of your water woes so you can take appropriate steps to banish them. If poor ventilation is the culprit, installing a plastic vapor barrier on the floor can help keep your crawl space dry. Water seeping through the foundation is a more involved repair that requires professional help.
7. List your Tacoma home in late spring or summer for a fast sale
Using comprehensive real estate transaction data, HomeLight’s Best Time to Sell Calculator shows you when homes move fastest in your area, and for the best price. In Tacoma, our data indicates November is the best month to close on a house. Since most home sales take about three months, listing your place in August could help you sell your Tacoma home before that Thanksgiving feast for 6.26% more than the yearly average.
Shook also sees homes listed in April through June getting snatched up for end-of-summer sales. This is when military families affiliated with nearby Joint Base Lewis-McChord transfer to or from the area. Historically, it’s also a popular time for civilian families to purchase a home in Tacoma. “You get a lot of people making a move right towards the end of the school year,” explains Shook. “They want to be in their new home by late July or early August so they can get settled before the next school year.”
Header Image Source: (Wei Zeng / Unsplash)