Best Time to List Your Home for Sale
Spring, summer, fall, or winter? This is your guide to maximizing your chances of a successful and profitable sale, year-round.
Choosing the best time to list a home for sale is an important decision for any seller. It may be the difference between a quick sale and a long wait in a slow market. Ultimately, the optimal time to list a home will depend on a unique combination of current market conditions, local economic conditions, mortgage rates, and the seller's personal goals. Some research and a knowledgeable real estate agent can provide insights to help determine the optimal time to list. In some markets, fall or winter may be advantageous due to less competition, while low mortgage rates could entice buyers to purchase during any season.
Late spring and early summer are the prime seasons for home sales. In contrast, fall and winter are found to be more challenging due to fewer buyers in the market. May is the best month to sell a house (followed by June and July), with homes sold in May netting a 12.6% seller premium.
Spring is often regarded as the best time to list a home as buyers are typically more active during this time of year. The longer, warmer days make it easier to view homes and the natural beauty of springtime can make a home more attractive to potential buyers. Longer daylight hours mean that there is more time for showings, which can increase the chances of a sale. Many buyers prefer to move during the summer months, which means that they are actively searching for homes in the spring.
As the school year comes to an end, families typically have more time to look for a new home. People also tend to have more money to spend at this time of year, as taxes have been filed and refunds are in hand. Finally, spring is a great time to show off outdoor features like decks, patios and landscaping. The natural beauty of the season can help buyers envision what life would be like living in the home.
Is your home missing that idyllic outdoor oasis? Read How to Plan the Perfect Patio.
One of the main risks of listing a home in the spring is that there is typically more competition from other sellers. The influx of listings can lead to buyers having more choices, which can drive down prices. Because it is a popular time for selling, it can also take longer to find a qualified buyer. Finally, spring weather can be unpredictable, which can make it difficult to schedule home showings. Rainy days can be a big deterrent for potential buyers, as can snow if the area has a late spring snow storm.
During the summer months, there will be more potential buyers and more competition for homes, resulting in higher prices. Homes that are listed during the summer also tend to sell faster, as buyers don't have to wait for the weather to cooperate before they can view properties. Seeing as most people take vacation during the summer, they have more free time to browse the market. The season is great for outdoor activities that increase your homes curb appeal, like gardening and landscaping. Sellers should take advantage of this by making improvements to their homes and yards.
Read Curb Appeal Matters to discover simple ways to make your home more attractive from the street view.
Finding an agent who has the time to dedicate to your sale could be difficult, since it’s such a busy season. Additionally, the competition for buyers may mean that there are fewer offers on a property, resulting in a lower sale price. For those who spend their summers in southern states, the humidity and heat could be uncomfortable or even deter potential buyers from touring a home.
Fall can be an ideal time to list your house for sale, as long as you’re aware of the potential risks. The biggest advantage of listing in the fall is the reduced competition. Many sellers may wait until the spring to list their home, so you may have fewer buyers to compete with. As a result, you might find yourself with more leverage when negotiating the price, thus leading to a quick sale.
In addition, the cooler weather of the fall season often brings out the best in a home. Buyers may appreciate the colorful foliage, crisp air, and cozy atmosphere associated with the fall season.
One of the main risks of listing your home in the fall is that there may be fewer potential buyers. Fall is typically when premiums start tapering off due to school starting and holidays coming up; October is the worst month to sell. Because of holidays, many people don’t have the time to look for a new home. On top of that, rain or snow could expose your home’s vulnerabilities if there are leaks or maintenance issues that arise. If you’re property isn’t in top notch condition, it quickly hinders potential buyers from seeing it as “move-in ready.”
Winter marks the transition period between the busy summer market and the quieter holiday season, which can be advantageous for sellers. Winter buyers tend to be serious home seekers, so there is less competition from other buyers in the market. Additionally, winter buyers may be more willing to negotiate on price or other concessions. If a home is priced correctly and is in good condition, there is still a possibility that it sells during the winter months.
Winter months are slower for real estate, so homes sit on the market for longer and get less attention. Icy roads or snow can make it difficult for buyers to get to listings, not to mention hard for them to visualize living there. Shorter days drive down the availability to view homes in natural light. All in all, there are fewer opportunities to sell a home in the winter months, so it’s best to avoid listing then unless absolutely necessary.
In conclusion, timing is everything when it comes to selling your home. By weighing the local market conditions, your unique circumstances, and the advice of a trusted real estate agent, you should be able to maximize your chances of a successful and profitable sale.
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