When Is The Best Time To Sell A House?
Rachel Burris9-Minute Read
July 23, 2020
Selling your house is a stressful process that begins with determining the best time to put it on the market. You must time the listing of your house appropriately because the last thing you want is to have your home linger on the market. The longer a home sits on the market, the harder it becomes to sell.
Why is that the case? Buyers are often suspicious of homes that haven’t garnered much interest. The general consensus is that if someone hasn’t purchased it already, there’s likely something wrong with the house. That’s why you should spend time carefully considering when to list your home.
The season you choose to list your house will have a bearing on not only how quickly it sells but also how much you ultimately earn from the sale. To help you decide the best time to sell your house, read about the benefits and drawbacks of each season, as well as the personal factors that should be taken into consideration.
Best Time Of Year To Sell A House Nationwide
Nationwide, the best time of year to sell a house is usually considered the beginning of May. Homes that are listed at the end of spring and beginning of summer not only tend to sell faster but also for higher prices. Real estate agents often try to have their listings hit the market on a Friday or Saturday between April and June, so they can schedule an open house for that same weekend and maximize the number of buyers who come to see it.
Buyers typically arrive at open houses in droves when the weather is nice, which is why the spring tends to be such a popular time of year to sell. However, not every state follows the same trends because the selling season, just like the weather, is dependent on the local climate.
Best Time To Sell A House In Your Area
Finding the peak time to sell really depends on where you live. For areas that experience all four seasons, spring is often considered optimal because people have been cooped up indoors throughout the winter and are anxious to explore new housing options as soon as the weather warms up. But typically, the best time to sell a house in your area will be the best time of year to enjoy it.
This general principle explains why seasonal homes follow different timetables. Since many people tend to flock south for the winter, November and December are often considered the best time to sell a house in Florida. In ski towns, the winter holidays are often the best time to sell homes because there’s an influx of interested visitors. On the other hand, the peak season for beach houses is usually right before or after the summer when buyers are just about to enjoy their summer holidays or about to return from them.
So, thinking about how buyers would best utilize your home will help you figure out the best time of year to sell it.
A Look At Selling In Each Season
Although spring is often considered the ultimate time to sell a house, each season brings its own advantages and disadvantages. To determine the best season for you, weigh the pros and cons against your circumstances. Let’s take a look at what each season has to offer sellers.
Selling A House In The Spring
As the weather turns warm, buyers are energized to begin touring houses. Blooming trees and plants enhance houses’ curb appeal and bright, sunny days bathe rooms in natural sunlight. So, houses tend to look their best in the spring, and buyers don’t have to contend with the lethargy that comes with boiling summer afternoons.
However, it isn’t merely the weather that makes spring an ideal time to sell a house. Spring is also considered the start of the residential sales season. Demand is at its highest during the spring, as there are more serious buyers looking to purchase homes. Since it typically takes a few months to close on a house, many families start looking in April or May. By buying a house in the spring, families can move over the summer and ensure their kids are ready for the new school year by the start of September.
With this increased demand, sellers receive more offers. Because of the heightened amount of competition, these offers roll in faster, and houses often end up selling for more money. However, since people generally are aware of the increased demand, more sellers decide to list their houses during spring.
Therefore, a drawback of selling your home in the spring is that there’s a lot of inventory. The supply balances out the demand, so sellers are forced to compete with each other as well. Since buyers have a greater selection to choose from, sellers must take steps to make their own homes stand out on the market. To do so, they must have a greater understanding of the current market. Meaning, sellers have to pay attention to comparable sales to ensure that their home is priced to sell. However, they must also review current listings to make sure that their homes are not in worse condition or priced higher than the other homes available.
Selling A House In The Summer
By June and July, many of the homes that were listed in the spring will have already sold. Therefore, there is slightly less competition for sellers in the summer. During summer, curb appeal is still high, and longer days make for more pleasant showings. Furthermore, families looking to purchase homes before the school year starts are usually more desperate and thus willing to make more serious offers and close quickly.
The homes leftover from the spring likely will have been overpriced and will no longer be of interest to remaining buyers, which gives summer sellers a leg up, as long as they price their homes competitively. And given all the sales that have taken place during the spring, pricing is more straightforward. More homes have sold recently, so there’s more data that sellers can use to ensure their pricing is based on what buyers were actually willing to pay for comparable homes.
But with the summer comes unbearable heat. Demand can drop, because buyers may be on vacation or less willing to journey to houses when it’s too hot outside. Sellers may have to spend more time and money making their houses presentable in the summer. Since school is out, those with children may struggle to keep their homes clean and organized. Sellers also will have to crank up the AC and pay higher utility bills as a result.
Perhaps the most significant drawback to selling a house in the summer is that buyers may request more seller concessions, like asking the seller to pay for closing costs. Typically, buyers have more power to negotiate as the peak season comes to an end.
Selling A House In The Fall
As the leaves fall, real estate sales tend to dwindle – that is, unless you live in an area that gets unusually hot during the spring and summer. That being said, if you’re on top of raking the leaves in your yard and checking off the items on your fall cleaning list, you may find that your curb appeal benefits from the beauty of fall foliage.
Although the housing supply is lower in the fall, so is the demand. While some buyers may be eager to close before the holidays, others will remain in their homes until the weather warms up again. Interested buyers will be looking for deals.
The sellers of homes that have remained on the market through the spring and summer will be dropping their prices to entice buyers. Meaning, you may have to list your home just below market value to gain more interest or offer seller concessions as a negotiation tactic.
Selling A House In The Winter
Unless you live in an area with a seasonal market, demand and supply will be at its lowest during the winter. But listing your home during this season will mean that yours is one of the few available. With the lower inventory, more buyers will see your listing come up in their searches. Some buyers may be more eager during this time because life changes – like job relocation – force them to purchase a new home quickly. Others may be looking to take advantage of tax breaks by closing before the end of the year.
However, the cold weather will not only hinder most buyers from touring properties but also potentially increase issues and costs for sellers. When the temperature drops below freezing, pipes can burst and reveal other unexpected problems with homes that may be challenging to repair. To keep showings pleasant, sellers will have to heat every room in the house. Therefore, winter sellers will have to spend far more on heating bills than they would normally.
Furthermore, the sharp decline in demand may cause your home to receive fewer offers and linger on the market longer. Low ball offers tend to be even more common during this season, so you must be prepared to negotiate.
How To Know If It’s The Right Time For You
While the time of year can have an impact on how long it takes to sell your house, how many offers you receive, and how much money you make on the sale, market conditions shouldn’t be your only consideration. Selling your house is personal, which is why your timing should be dependent on your specific circumstances. Let’s take a look at the personal factors that play a role in determining when you should sell your house.
Your Lifestyle Demands A Move
Sometimes knowing when to sell a home doesn’t boil down to the financials. Maybe your child is ready to start school, and your current neighborhood isn’t in a good school district. Perhaps you’re going to be an empty-nester soon, and maintaining a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with a half-acre yard is too much for you and your spouse to handle.
Regardless of your lifestyle, your home should meet the needs of you and your family. So if your current home doesn’t fit the bill anymore, it could be time to move.
Home Improvements Are Complete
You’ve done all you can to remodel your home to your liking, and it still isn’t conducive to your lifestyle. If that’s the case, you may be ready to sell your house. While it may seem counterintuitive to have completed renovations or repairs just before selling your home, that work may actually be more beneficial than you realize. Sellers who have recently completed major projects often sell their homes faster and increase their profit margins.
However, if you have major repairs like replacing the roof, fixing the plumbing or repairing the water tank, you may need to wait until that’s complete before you list your property. Home buyers will be looking for a home in good condition. So, the more work you can complete ahead of time, the easier it will be to sell.
You’re Financially Ready
If you can no longer afford the carrying costs associated with owning your home, it’s a good idea to sell sooner rather than later. Even if you’ve paid off the mortgage on your house, you still must pay for property taxes, homeowners insurance and even homeowners association dues if your home is part of a larger community.
If your kids have grown up and moved out, you may want to consider selling your home and purchasing a smaller one. Downsizing can dramatically reduce your housing budget. With a smaller home comes lower taxes and utility bills. So, if you’re looking to cut housing costs, it may be appropriate for you to sell now regardless of the season.
The Bottom Line
Although demand is usually at its peak in the spring, the best time to sell your house has less to do with the season than it does the conditions of the local market. Ideally, you want to list your home when your area is experiencing a seller’s market. A seller’s market exists when the housing demand exceeds the supply. Meaning, it’s best to sell when there is a low inventory of houses on the market and a wealth of interested buyers looking.
However, without the expertise of an experienced real estate agent, it can be challenging to know how to identify market conditions. Hiring an agent can not only help you identify the right time to list your house but also guide you through the process. If you need help finding a seasoned agent in your area, Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC can help. Rocket HomesSMhas a network of highly rated partner agents across the country and will match you with one based on your specific needs. To begin the process, sign up today.
How To Sell Your Home Without Paying Capital Gains Tax
Capital gains tax can put a serious dent in profits from a home sale. Our guide can help you determine what qualifies for a tax exemption.
Should I Lease or Sell?
Learn the pros and cons of leasing your home and how to determine if it’s better to sell.