Putting your house on the market is an exciting and scary time.
There’s a lot of unknowns, and one of the biggest ones is the best time of year to list a house for sale.
Of course, this is if you have the freedom to wait and list it at the best time.This is not as relevant if you need to sell your home immediately.
But let’s say you do have some buffer, and can wait to move out, then you’re going to want to find out the best time of the year to get the most interest and offers on your house. Knowing this can help list your home at a higher price, or even encourage some friendly bidding wars that can help reap much more value from your house than expected when it’s finally sold.
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In this piece, we’ll dive into the four times of the year you can sell your house and list the benefits or drawbacks of listing during these times. In addition to this, we’ll dispel the myth that seasonality alone should be the consideration for when to list your home and outline some other key factors to think about.
You’ve probably heard that the best time to sell is in Spring. It’s no surprise that this is the case.
The weather isn’t too hot and splendid, and this means lots of buyers are more willing to explore open houses.
Families will also prefer to close deals in early Spring so that they can move into their new homes during the Summer before the school year commences again in the Fall. This helps them avoid any disruption to their kids’ schooling during the year.
Keep this in mind if you’re listing homes that are ideally suited for families.
The drawback, of course, is that everyone is selling in Spring.
This means competition can be intense for your specific neighborhood, and it’s something you should keep in mind. If you see a lot of listings up, then you may want to reconsider and list your house during another part of the year.
This also applies if you’re looking to engage a real estate agent as they’ll be swamped with trying to move as many houses as possible during Spring, which means possibly less attention focused on yours.
Now, of course, Summer is the next best option as the weather is nice, warm, and predictable.
It’s also when most jobs are a bit calmer, and this gives you added time to help prepare your home for sale.
The weather is great though it can get a bit too hot. But this means home improvements can be done outside without having to worry about whether it’ll rain, snow, or way too cold.
Not to mention the added daylight that comes during this time of the year.
You’ll find most summer listings tend to focus on around June with closings happening towards mid-July and creeping into August.
Many families who’ve put off their home during Spring are buying during Summer as well. These families will be looking to close homes fast so that they can get their family moved into the new place before the school year commences again.
This is great for you, as they’ll put in competitive offers in the hopes of closing the deal fast.
Summer is not without its drawbacks. A brutally hot summer can deter buyers from venturing out too far and hitting up many open houses. Summer also means it’s vacation time and many families may spend this time enjoying the Summer instead of house hunting.
The strong sun also results in more expensive maintenance costs to keep your open house running with cool air conditioning and yard work.
Summer’s not a bad option, but there are factors working against it being an attractive time of the year to list your house for sale.
Now keep in mind as you’re reading this, our opinion on the best time of the year follows the North American seasonal convention. This means Fall and Winter are when it starts to get chilly, rainy, and dark.
Chilly and rainy doesn’t sound too comforting, does it? Nope, and that’s why it’s not the most attractive time of the year to list a house for sale.
But if we move past that, there are some advantages to selling a house during Fall.
The biggest perk is far less competition due to fewer houses on the market. And this doesn’t necessarily mean there are fewer people looking to buy a house.
Many buyers that lost out on offers in the Spring or Summer will continue to look during the Fall and will be even more eager to close a deal.
There’s also just circumstances in life such as a family new to the city that’ll dictate them looking for a house during this time.
Costs related to fixing up your home and getting it ready for listing will also fall during this time of the year due to less demand for those professional services.
That being said, it is the colder and wetter month that deters any home buyer from wanting to do the rounds of open houses. School semesters have also begun that will cause families to postpone their home buying in order to not disrupt their kid’s schooling.
As it’s getting colder, heating costs will rise related to keeping the house warm and attractive during viewings. Not to mention the added costs to maintain the lawn and surroundings as trees start to shed their leaves.
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Now of course, if we could avoid it, we’d never sit through winter and jet right to the tropics on a whim.
This same sentiment is shared by homebuyers when they think about house hunting during the winter.
This means winter is by far the hardest time to move a house. The only exception to this is if you’re looking to sell in ski towns or other prime winter resort areas.
Now there are a few advantages to listing in the winter, so it’s not all doom and gloom. Winter is the end of the year, and this means tax season is fast approaching. Many home buyers will be rushing to close a sale in order to take advantage of any tax benefits they’re eligible for.
Of course, there’s also less competition in the area as fewer folks are looking to sell their home during this time, which is another benefit. The snowy landscape can also mean it can hide certain unattractive features of your current house.
The end of the year also means there may be a lot of relocation happening amongst families. This coincides with a ‘fresh start’ to the new year and can mean they’re only beginning to look for homes during the winter for a move in the following year.
Now, countering these benefits are the unattractive winter conditions that make it less likely for people to want to spend their days visiting open houses. The shorter daylight periods mean your home is also viewed in the dark more often and might hinder its appeal.
Many buyers are looking to take advantage of this low season in home buying and are coming in to negotiate down on any listed price — not the most attractive buyers you’d want to sell to.
If there are significant maintenance repairs that need to be done on your house, winter is also the most difficult and expensive time to carry this out.
Winter isn’t the best time, but your personal circumstances will determine whether it is the best time for you.
This is why it is also important to consider other factors that may influence if it is the best time to sell a house. We believe it shouldn’t be an evaluation purely based on the season.
Because of this, here are some other criteria to consider:
The first thing to consider is your own household financial situation. This will play a big influence in deciding which is the best time to sell. Are you upside down on your current mortgage? Are there tax advantages to selling sooner or waiting. Can you hold off on selling by renting the home out until the market improves?
Other factors to consider are also pressing life needs.
If you’re about to start a family and need to upgrade to a bigger home. Then it might be challenging to wait, and this should inform how soon you list. Do you need to get in on a hot market quickly so that there’s better access to schools for your children? Or did you just move jobs that dictate a move for a better quality of life?
It’s important to consider all these when determining when’s the best time to list your home.
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Adding to this is whether the market is hot and how the broader economy is doing. Are mortgage qualifying rates going to go up soon and make it difficult for future home buyers to take out home loans? This might mean it’s better to sell now rather than wait.
Are home prices skyrocketing or has it been relatively flat growth year over year? Gain a strong understanding of how the market has been doing and pay attention to trends and market indices out there that track regional or national home sales.
It may be Spring and you’d like to list your home as soon as possible. However, if your home isn’t spruced up and polished – regardless of the season, it’s not going to be a hot commodity.
This should be considered when deciding when to list as the time on the market for a particular home can start to deteriorate it’s listed price value.
You want a home that’s been polished up and is attractive to buyers. If this means you’ll have to spend a season working on repairs, it’s better to do that and list later than list sooner only for the home to hang in the market.
Moving homes is a big life decision. It requires careful thought and consideration with multiple factors weighing in. It is not quite as simple as picking the hottest season and listing.
Pay attention to what makes a season attractive and see when this applies for your given region. Spring versus Winter won’t matter as much if you’re based in the Tropics but there may be regional nuances that play into when home buyers are out on the streets looking for the best deal.