You’re ready to trade your quirky French Quarter residence for the family vibes of East Carrollton or leave The Big Easy behind for something new: a job, a faster pace of life, or a spot closer to the beach. Whatever your motivation, you need to sell your New Orleans home — and you need to sell it fast.

Expect challenges ahead. New Orleans housing isn’t known for its cookie-cutter model homes, and Hurricane Katrina remains on people’s minds decades later. That means facing your home’s flaws and book-length inspection write-up head on. But follow this advice from local stagers and real estate experts, and you’ll make buyers fall for your home’s charm, character, and history — in other words, everything they already love about the city itself.

New Orleans, where you can sell your house fast.
Source: (Kool C / Unsplash)

NOLA appeal: Culture, jobs, and retirement

New Orleans attracts a wide variety of buyers who move to the city for its vibrant culture, economic opportunities, and relatively affordable cost of living. In 2019, more than 57% of people who moved to New Orleans came from outside of the state.

Young professionals and retirees merge

The city’s reputation as a top tech hub attracts programmers and engineers seeking jobs at Accruent, GE Digital, and dozens of startups. New Orleans was also recently named one of the best cities for baby boomers thanks to its healthcare quality, tax-friendliness, and growing population of older denizens.

The key to marketing your home to this diverse buyer pool is to keep your home’s interior as neutral as possible. Cristina Scurov, owner of local NOLA staging firm HOM Staging and a three-time Best of Houzz recipient, recommends sellers stage their home with neutral colors and add pops of color with accessories such as a tangerine accent rug and turquoise pillows for a dash of New Orleans spirit.

Investment property hub

According to the U.S. Census, 52.6% of the homes in New Orleans are renter occupied. If your house sits in a neighborhood with a high demand for rental housing, you’ll want to keep investors in mind when marketing your property.

Investors are more interested in dollar figures (i.e., how much the house will rent for vs. the cost of upkeep) than the color of the walls, so highlight your home’s superb maintenance history and durable features in the listing. Gather service and repair records on big-ticket items such as the air conditioning system, roof, and chimney, along with any contractor warranties still valid. Provide copies of these documents to investors interested in your property to seal the deal.

Swelling population

New Orleans’ population grew by 13.5% between 2010 and 2019, compared to the national average growth rate of 6.3%. Back in 2013, New Orleans was even named the fastest growing city in the United States. A growing population translates into the need for more housing — good news for New Orleans sellers. If you play your cards right, you can attract a pool of eager buyers to your property and maybe spark a bidding war.

Coats in a house in New Orleans that will sell fast.
Source: (Amanda Vick / Unsplash)

Play up qualities that sell houses faster in NOLA

In New Orleans, most homes have their quirks, from creaky hardwood floors to mismatched retro wallpaper. “Eclectic is very New Orleans,” Scurov comments.

The key to a swift sale, despite your home’s eccentricities, is to highlight the building’s most attractive features, thereby distracting buyers from its imperfections.

Charm and character

“Pay attention to the details,” advises Scurov, who shares that buyers can highlight their home’s historic charm by refreshing, not replacing, smaller accents. Refinish and paint decorative trim that looks a little shabby, including:

  • Doors
  • Window casings
  • Baseboards
  • Crown molding
  • Paneling

In a newer home, Scurov advises sellers to incorporate a vintage design piece, such as a salvaged antique fireplace mantel for a unique touch.

Sublime entertaining spaces

In this city, revelries don’t stop at the French Quarter. “Everyone has big parties,” says Scurov. “New Orleans is about good cuisine . . . And we like to cook.”

Help buyers visualize hosting their own crawfish boil by showcasing entertainment spaces. Scurov recommends adding extra seating to emphasize the dining room’s size. Sellers should also pay special attention to the kitchen so the room looks spacious and inviting. Declutter countertops, polish stainless steel appliances, and add a statement chandelier for a pièce de résistance.

Creative storage solutions, especially in smaller homes

If you’re selling an older home, you know that your short and narrow storage spaces are a far cry from the walk-in closets and spacious linen cabinets built into modern homes. You’ll need to get creative when staging rooms with tiny closets to show buyers easy storage solutions. For example, if the main bedroom closet is petite, stage a vintage armoire or clothing rack lined with swanky coats nearby.

Create the ideal New Orleans curb appeal

Not only will a great first impression get buyers in the door, but it’ll also influence them to offer more for your home. In a recent HomeLight survey, 95% of real estate agents agree that buyers are willing to shell out more cash for a house with great curb appeal. Besides basic cleanup, like sweeping your front porch and trimming back overgrown foliage, jazz up your exterior with these NOLA curb appeal tips.

Plant a rain garden

Rain gardens add both beauty and function to the front yard and create a welcoming, low maintenance landscape. When placed at the low point of the yard, a rain garden collects water runoff during stormy seasons. The rainwater then drains into a mixture of sand and soil while foliage and mulch soak up excess water.

To transform your front yard into a rain garden, select native plants that tolerate both wet and dry seasons, such as irises and milkweed. Incorporate large river rocks and hardwood mulch into your landscaping design to anchor young plants and add decorative interest.

Paint your front door black

Homeowners historically favored red doors, but black has become a popular choice with homebuyers who love its dark elegance and versatility. A black paint color such as Sherwin-Williams’s Inkwell or Glidden’s Deepest Black will make your door pop, especially when paired with a vibrant exterior color scheme characteristic of New Orleans homes. And black goes with just about any color, so you don’t have to worry about the door clashing with the creamy pastel of your stately Garden District mansion or your mossy green Marigny cottage.

Rethink your porch decor

When the summer heat fades, neighbors sprawl across their front stoops to nosh on po’boys and commiserate with passersby. Draw buyers in with New Orleans porch culture by adding inviting details to your own outdoor space:

  • Arrange rocking chairs side-by-side and toss an outdoor throw pillow on each seat for a comfortable lounge area.
  • Replace your outdated address sign with blue-and-white enamel house numbers, nodding to the city’s French influence.
  • Decorate your front porch with low-maintenance container plants. Choose neutral white flowers that are native to the area, such as gardenias or magnolias (Louisiana’s state flower), or add splashes of color with lilies or petunias.
A circuit breaker in a house that sold fast in New Orleans.
Source: (Troy Bridges / Unsplash)

Watch out for these inspection items in New Orleans

Historic homes in New Orleans are the rule, not the exception, with 40% percent of homes built before 1950. April Gongora Brown, a top New Orleans agent who sells 72% more homes than her peers, recommends sellers conduct a pre-listing home inspection to get ahead of inspection findings and avoid last-minute surprises during the negotiation period.

Electrical and plumbing issues

In New Orleans, plumbing and electrical system issues are some of the most common inspection findings.

Older homes with fuse boxes instead of modern electrical panels may require safety upgrades if the existing fuse box overloads when running modern appliances and technology.

Additionally, many fuse boxes aren’t compatible with ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), a safety measure required by most building codes for outlets in wet areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

When it comes to plumbing, Brown often recommends flushing the lines before putting a house on the market:

“When the buyer comes through to do their own video pipe inspection . . . not being able to get through the line starts to put a little fear in a buyer’s mind that perhaps there is a major issue. In reality, it just needs a good cleaning.”

Mold

Mold spores thrive in warm and wet climates like New Orleans. While a small amount of mold isn’t usually harmful, it can become a health hazard if left unchecked. Moreover, mold stained walls and caulking make your home look dingy and dated, turning off would-be buyers who begin to question your home’s maintenance history.

Clean mold from hard surfaces with soap and water while wearing protective eyewear, a mask, and rubber gloves. If mold persists, find a licensed contractor through a review-based website like Angie’s List or Thumbtack for a professional clean up. To prevent future mold growth, try to keep interior doors open, use fans to circulate air, and run the air conditioner regularly. If your home is particularly damp, use a dehumidifier during rainy and cold spells.

Pest infestation

Termites can significantly damage your house, making them the bane of New Orleans homeowners. The Formosan subterranean termite — the most common type in New Orleans — is particularly destructive, causing millions of dollars in damage to the city every year. If a single colony infests your house, you can have as many as one to four million termites chomping away at your home! Deter the tiny pests by repairing roof leaks right away and keeping vegetation at least 18 inches away from the building.

Transfer or set up a new termite contract to give buyers additional peace of mind. These agreements include a regular inspection of the house for evidence of active infestation.

Offer flood insurance to sweeten the deal

A recent study by First Street Foundation ranked New Orleans the city with the highest flood risk in the world with 98% of properties at risk. Since flooding can occur in New Orleans during any time of the year, many mortgage lenders require buyers to purchase flood insurance. If the property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area, then flood insurance may even be required by federal law.

To encourage a quick sale, offer to discount your buyer’s flood insurance costs by adjusting the purchase price or offering a credit at closing. According to Value Penguin, the average cost of flood insurance in New Orleans is $638 a year — a relatively small price to pay to speed up a deal.

Flowers in front of a New Orleans house that sold fast.
Source: (Christina Victoria Craft / Unsplash)

Partner with a top New Orleans agent to speed up your home sale

With more than 3,600 active real estate agents in New Orleans, finding an agent to work with is no problem. The challenge is finding an experienced agent who can sell your house fast, without compromising the sale price. According to HomeLight’s data, the top real estate agents in New Orleans sell homes 40 days faster than the average agent, winning their clients a 5% higher sale in the process.

Here are just a few ways partnering with a top real estate agent will help you speed up the selling process:

  • Get your house camera ready: Top agents craft strong digital marketing strategies to capture local and out-of-area buyers’ attention. It “makes all the difference in how fast we’re able to go into contract,” says Brown, who always hires professionals to photograph and shoot video tours for her clients.
  • Translate inspection reports: Brown describes home inspection reports for older homes as “novels” because of their length. A top agent helps sellers wade through inspection findings and points out what would be worthwhile to repair before listing a house.
  • Set the right price:  It’s critical to list your home at the right price for a fast sale. Set it too low and risk leaving money on the table, selling for less than your home’s worth. On the other hand, a high price slows down a sale. To pinpoint the perfect price, an elite listing agent creates a comparative market analysis (CMA), analyzing how your home stacks up to recently sold homes in the neighborhood.

When you’re ready to hire a top agent, plug your property details into HomeLight’s Agent Finder and let us do the work. We’ll match you with the three best agents for your needs based on transaction data, such as transaction volume, list to sale price, days on market, and average client reviews. Between guidance from a top agent and our expert selling tips, you’ll sell your New Orleans home in no time.

Header Image Source: (TordOlavNorway / Shutterstock)

If you want to sell your New Orleans home fast, accentuate your home’s unique features and mend its not-so-charming flaws.HomeLight Blog