When Is The Best Time Of The Year To Sell A House?
By Kevin Graham
If you’re looking to sell your home, it’s good to be aware of the time of year that will get you the most foot traffic. More foot traffic will get you the most offers to sell your home in the least amount of time and for the highest possible price.
Conventional wisdom dictates that you sell your home in the spring because kids will be out of school soon and people are future planning at this time. However, that doesn’t necessarily hold true across the country. We thought we’d take a look at this in addition to some other patterns that might affect a well-timed home sale. Before we get there though, let’s make sure you’re ready!
Make Your Home A Showstopper
Whenever you’re selling your home, you want to make sure you’re showing all it has to offer. That means giving your home the TLC it needs. You’ll enjoy it for as long as you continue living there and your home will be more attractive to potential buyers.
While it’s recommended for home buyers to get a home inspection, this isn’t a bad idea for the seller either. For starters, this gives you the opportunity to make your best efforts to fix any problems and make your home more marketable.
Even if you can’t fix everything, a home inspection will give you a look at all the potential issues so there are no surprises. If fixing something is out of your personal budget, you could always discount the sales price so people can build that repair into their budget.
Once you’ve done repairs, spend some time focusing on curb appeal. Most people like flowers and a nice-looking lawn. If you’re in a warm climate, xeriscaping can work quite well. On the inside, it may be the little things (like adding new doorknobs or a fresh coat of paint in the kitchen) that can make all the difference.
Finally, you can pay some attention to how you stage your home. You want to have enough items in the home so it’s easier for someone to imagine living there but not so much furniture as to look crowded or cluttered. This could make your home feel smaller than it actually is.
If you feel you don’t have enough time to get your home ready for its big showcase, it might be better to push back your timeline a month rather than putting it on the market with problems that might send people to your competition.
Where Do You Live?
The reason conventional wisdom becomes conventionally wise is that there is usually a grain of truth to it. If you sell in the first two weeks of May, you sell roughly 6 days faster than usual and for $1,600 more than the typical price for an American home.
However, this doesn’t hold true everywhere. Depending on where you live, you might also want to consider the following factors.
Weather Makes A Difference
Just like you have to be really motivated to go to open houses in Michigan when there’s a 9 degree wind chill, most people in Arizona won’t want to go to open houses when the heat index is 110 degrees. Although you may not be able to predict Mother Nature’s moods on a day-to-day basis, there are predictable weather patterns for every area of the country, so pay attention to your local climate.
As an example, home buying season in the north may really kick into high gear a little bit later than many other places because you can’t guarantee nice, mostly dry weather until around Memorial Day.
Alternatively, the absolute highest demand in southern climates may actually be during the winter months because the weather is much more bearable and you don’t have to stay indoors all day. You also have a population of snowbirds who spend their winters in warmer climates.
Think About Seasonality In Your Economy
In addition to weather, it’s important to think about seasonality in your local economy. If you live in a place where people typically spend their summer or hit the slopes in the winter, you want to time your sale to when the most possible people will be in town. This same principle applies when you’re trying to sell a property where people might hunt.
These times of the year are also when the local economy is most active, which means the people who work there will be making the most money at that time of year. Psychologically, they may be more willing to spend more money on a house because their financial situation is stable.
The employment rate in your economy is a good thing to know about in general. If the economy is coming along and most people have steady jobs and rising incomes, that’s not a bad time to sell because more people have money to spend on a house.
How Are Sales In Your Area Going?
You should certainly take into account how homes comparable to yours are selling in your area. Are prices rising, stagnant or falling in your area? Are they selling quickly or spending a lot of time on the market?
You can get some idea of the market in your area by looking at real estate listings on sites like For Sale By Owner. Look not only at whether prices are going up or down, but also at any information regarding whether the price has recently changed or how long it’s been on the market.
If you live in a four-bedroom colonial and other four-bedroom colonials have experienced price drops after being on the market for several months, it might not be a good time to sell your home.
If you’re looking to downsize or you’ve outgrown your current home, one of the options you can take a look at is renting out your property when you move into your new home. Even if property values are going down in your area, your home could still be marketable to someone who’s looking to rent for a while.
By renting the property out and waiting for the market to go back up, you’ll have the money to cover the existing mortgage payment and possibly a little bit more each month. If you’re getting a nice passive income stream when the market goes back up, you can decide whether you want to sell the home or keep it as part of your real estate portfolio.
Another thing you should pay attention to is where mortgage rates are at. Essentially, the best time to sell is when rates are relatively low. If borrowing money is cheaper, people can afford to take out slightly bigger mortgages and pay more for your home.
The reverse occurs when rates are on the high side, so this is just another data point you can use to determine the type of market you’re in.
What’s The Best Day Of The Week To List Your Home?
Depending on where you look on the internet, the best day to list a property is either Thursday or Friday because people are planning their weekend around house hunting, so it’s at the front of their minds. Elizabeth Weintraub is a real estate agent in Sacramento, Calif. She purposely schedules her listings to go live at 12:01 a.m. on Friday. This is because the services that pull new real estate listings will often do so in the middle of the night when there’s more internet bandwidth available. Many real estate agents also automatically email their client base on Friday morning.
You don’t want to list too early in the week because Mondays are often when people are thinking about work and recovering from the weekend. In the middle of the week, agents might take time off work if they plan to be busy on the weekend. If you list on the weekend itself, banks are often closed.
Now that you know when to sell your house, go ahead and get it listed when you’re ready!