The epicenter of Napa Valley, St. Helena, is known for luxury, sophistication, and some of the most gorgeous scenery in all of California. The modestly-sized town is considered one of the best places to live in Napa, thanks to its history, charm, endless outdoor activities, and wine.
Located between Yountville and Calistoga, St. Helena is the most famous wine town in Napa Valley. Referred to as “Napa Valley’s Main Street,” the city was first cultivated as Rancho Carne Humana. Charles Krug was bestowed a portion of the land, and Napa Valley was born. The innovator crushed his first grapes in 1858; in doing so, he founded Napa’s first commercial winery and orchestrated the ritual of the tasting process, which continues to bring droves of oenophiles to Northern California each year.
The pioneering spirit here is strong and goes beyond the vines. Home to the Culinary Institute of America and three Michelin-starred restaurants (Press, The Charter Oak, Farmstead), dining in St. Helena is the experience of a lifetime. Believe it or not, there’s more to do than indulge in Napa Valley’s favorite enclave. Hiking and sightseeing are favorite pastimes, and downtown has much to behold. Locally owned boutiques, artisan shops, mercantiles, and cheesemongers line the streets, part of a three-block radius listed as a National Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
St. Helena is an attractive draw with quintessential Napa Valley appeal and close proximity to San Francisco and the Bay Area. The town is highly rated as one of the best places to raise a family in California and touts top-rated schools. In short, St. Helena and your home are in demand. Let’s look at current trends to help you plan the best time to list your St. Helena home and make the most of the market.
Current market conditions
With a population of just over 6,000 residents, St. Helena is spacious and semi-rural. The housing market is small but highly attractive; while it is not ultra-competitive, buyers know what they’re looking for in Napa real estate and are willing to pay for it. The median sale price for a home in St. Helena is over $2 million. In 2021, the number of homes sold peaked in August, and volume peaked again in March 2022. August has been the best month to sell a house for over five years. Budget for a (generous) three months on the market, which means you can plan to list your home in May to close in August.
Prepare to list
Work with your realtor to put the pieces in place; once an estimated timetable is established, your real estate agent can help determine a roadmap for the entirety of the listing process.
Preparing to list and sell your home in the summer coincides perfectly with life in Napa. You’ll have all winter to declutter and make any small renovations or upgrades to prime your home for sale. Your realtor will set a date in the spring for a professional photographer and videographer to capture the best shots of your home when the trees are verdant and the flowers are in bloom.
Work with your realtor to determine an asking price that aligns with the market and your goals. A realtor with in-depth knowledge of Napa Valley and St. Helena real estate will assess the home's value and bring their detailed market research to the table to set pricing.
Stage and show
When it’s time to shine up the homefront and position it for potential buyers, your realtor will be able to evaluate your home’s standing and appearance and advise which improvements to make. Start with the basics: clean from chimney to baseboards, readying the residence for staging. Surfaces should be spotless; lighting should be consistent, warm, and inviting; all items should be in place. A realtor may recommend moving things into storage during the showcase period and will offer their services regarding staging the home.
Embrace a neutral, clean palette. Refresh any elements that do not require a significant overhaul. Add neutral accent pillows, update window treatments, and tidy the lawn and exterior of the home. Images are as critical as ever — buyers worldwide can get an in-depth look inside every room of the house with the swipe of a smartphone screen. Give them the best possible preview of your home before they schedule an appointment for a showing.
Hit the market
Now that you’ve spent the winter and spring preparing your property, it’s time to list your home and market it to eligible buyers. With a vast network and vital resources, a top real estate agent will position a home to the ideal audience, host open houses, navigate inspections, and speak the language of the Napa Valley real estate market. They’ll capture what makes the home and neighborhood special, share testimonials from the homeowner, and convey its unique appeal to interested buyers.
The timing couldn’t be better; August is the beginning of Napa Valley’s harvest and peak tourism season. By paying attention to the market trends and preparing to have your home sold by the end of the summer, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Cheers to that!
The time is now!
*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock