Real estate is something of both art and science.
There are so many variables that come into play when selling a house. One of which is the timeframe to sell your home.
Ensuring you list your home at the right time can help ensure you maximize the sale price. Plus, it can help speed up the process, reducing stress along the way.
Not only does this encompass the time of year, but the time of the week, as well. For example—homes listed on a Saturday average 20 percent more views in the first week relative to homes listed on a Tuesday.
Taking this information into account can be a game-changer for securing a faster sale at a higher price.
Keep reading for more information on choosing the best time of year to sell your home.
Selling Season Pros and Cons
When it comes down to the data, the best time to sell a home is between May 1st and May 15th. Though, this does not mean you have to wait to list your home.
Each time of the year has its own advantages and disadvantages. By following a few key tips, sellers can make the most of their listings no matter what season.
As school resumes and cold weather is on the horizon, the housing market can change quickly. But, fall can still provide optimal conditions for some specific sellers.
Pros of Selling in Fall
One of the main benefits of selling your home during the fall is the sense of urgency buyers may be feeling.
Especially with the school year and colder weather looming, buyers may be more motivated during this time. This can lead to quicker sales times.
The cost of repairs also tends to be lower in the fall. This makes it quicker and less expensive to complete the required upgrades prior to sale.
Cons of Selling in Fall
Those looking to buy a house in the fall may not be ready to splurge big on a new home.
Many of these buyers tend to be looking during the fall due to a job transfer, layoff, family issues, or other sensitive matters. As such, they may be more sensitive to the sale price.
Winter tends to be the slowest season for selling your home. Though, sellers still may find success depending on their location and circumstances.
Pros of Selling in Winter
In some climates, winter can actually be an optimal time of year to sell your home.
For places with year-round warmth (Florida, southwest states), you may find more success in the winter as snowbirds seek to escape the colder temperatures of the north.
Cons of Selling in Winter
When looking strictly at trends in data, the winter months are usually the worst time to sell your home.
Curb appeal is at an all-time low during winter. Though a picturesque snowy scene may look nice in theory, it does not usually pan out in reality. Instead, buyers see a cold, muddy scene more often than not.
For those buyers that do come in, they may be more serious and up against stricter deadlines. If you spend too long haggling over the price, they may move on to another property.
They may also only be looking for homes that are move-in ready. So if you do decide to sell your home over the winter, be sure to complete all necessary repairs and upgrades ahead of time.
Spring is the best time of the year to sell a home—specifically, within the first two weeks of May. But, depending on your location, the ideal time to sell could be as early as April 1st.
Pros of Selling in Spring
Historically, homes listed during the first half of May tend to maximize returns and minimize the time on the market.
One of the most common reasons is that curb appeal improves drastically during springtime. Flowers, grass, and other foliage are blooming, making your property more attractive to buyers.
With nicer weather moving in and school break on the horizon—buyers are usually more motivated in the springtime, as well.
Cons of Selling in Spring
While spring may be a strong motivator for buyers, it can sometimes depend on the weather.
With stormy conditions, there may be more flooding and mud that can decrease curb appeal.
Plus, the added competition for buyers can actually be a bad thing for some homes. With buyers out looking for the best houses on the market, it can make it harder to sell your home if it is imperfect.
Generally speaking, people tend to shop more for homes with warmer weather. Therefore, spring and summer tend to be most successful for home sales.
Location is key when looking to sell your home in the summertime. In some locations, the optimal time to sell your home could be as late as July 15th.
Pros of Selling in Summer
Like with spring, warm weather and kids on school summer vacation are strong motivators to get moving in buying a house.
Plus, with longer days and more sunlight hours, there is a greater window to show homes.
With so many motivated buyers and more time to show your property, you are likely to get multiple offers. This can ensure you sell your home for the full list price—or more.
Cons of Selling in Summer
Especially later into the summer, more people begin to take vacations and time off work. This usually leads to a slow-down in the market, as buyers may busy taking advantage of summer and putting off home-buying dreams for the time being.
In other parts of the country, it becomes simply too hot by mid-summer to comfortably shop for a home.
Next Steps to Sell Your Home
Once you have narrowed down the best time to sell, there are important next steps to consider. These factors will also influence your total sale price and timeline.
Hiring an Agent
Hiring a real estate agent will make the entire sale process go over much more smoothly. With their skills, experience, and resources, they will be able to fast-track and streamline the entire experience.
While it is not required that you hire a real estate agent, but it is widely suggested by many experts.
Be warned, however, that agents will take a commission out of your sale. This will vary by agent, but it tends to average around six percent of the final sale price.
Plus, the seller pays the full commission for both their own listing agent and the buyer’s agent (if applicable). The two usually split the final commission.
What if You Decide to Sell Your Home on Your Own?
It’s certainly not impossible to sell your home without the services of a real estate agent. You can end up saving yourself thousands of dollars with this option.
However, it also requires an extensive time commitment. You will need to do all of your own research, in determining the state of your local market.
This information will influence almost every decision you make—from which repairs are required, to how much to list your home for. So it’s important to be able to accurately analyze the data in your specific market.
Plus, you will have to advertise the home on your own. This feat will require an investment of both time and money.
From there, you will need to host open houses and other showings. If you do receive an offer, you will need to negotiate it on your own.
You will also need to seek out necessary vendors for the closing process. These include a title company and a real estate attorney for the final stages.
All things considered, you can certainly save serious money by selling your home on your own—however, it’s imperative you mull over the time commitment required and make an educated decision.
While the time of the year can play a heavy hand in home sales, there are various other important factors as well. These include:
- Market conditions
- Job growth rates
- State of the economy
- Mortgage rates
- Tax incentives
The below factors are key, as well.
Real Estate Market Conditions
The best time to sell is of course, in a seller’s market. This is when there are more buyers in the market than homes for sale.
This is the most optimal time to sell your home, as it’s more likely to move quickly and receive multiple offers. These conditions create a better chance of selling for full list price—or above.
On the flip side, a buyer’s market is a situation where the inventory exceeds the number of buyers in the market. With many properties for sale but not as many buyers, your home is likely to sit on the market for longer before receiving an offer.
Even once offers come in, they may be lower than what you could get in a seller’s market.
Without a good selection of buyers, the sellers lose the leverage to counteroffer far off from the buyer’s offer.
Establishing List Price
List price will vary on many factors. One of the biggest factors is the market itself.
How many other homes are for sale currently? How many buyers are in the market? What are other, similar homes in the area going for?
Another contributing factor is the profile of the neighborhood.
In more risky areas, buyers may feel like they would have to purchase a homeowners’ insurance rider to protect against the added threat of criminal activity. This can lower the value of your home.
Finally, weather conditions and time of year can also influence the list price of your home.
Mortgage rates also play a role in the real estate market. Mortgage rates have been sitting at historical lows over the past few years.
Though, as the economy begins to strengthen again in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, many experts agree that rates will begin to rise again.
Higher rates will further stretch the budget for buyers. This is likely to influence how much buyers are willing to spend on a new home.
It will also affect new buyers, as they are much more likely to make a purchase with low rates.
Staging Your Home for Sale
Staging your home can also be a big factor in influencing the sale price and timeline.
Your home should be decorated to best target the clientele you are hoping to attract. This will depend mostly on your area and the market conditions in your zone.
Contrary to popular belief, staging does not need to be a huge expense. There are various resources to rent staging furniture and decorations to best market your home, without shelling out for new stuff altogether.
Plus, staging your home can help bridge the gap when selling during a less desirable time of year.
Upgrades and Updates to Complete Before Listing Your Home
To maximize the price to sell your home, there are a few important things to get in order before listing. Examples of these include:
- Thorough home cleaning
- Patching holes/cracks in walls, ceilings, and roofs
- Fixing broken appliances
- Repairing HVAC systems
- Correcting leaky faucets
- Replacing broken glass
- Changing outdated fixtures
Some of these repairs may even be covered by homeowners insurance.
With all of this information in mind, you may still be left with lingering questions. Here are some of the most commonly-asked inquiries.
How Many Months Does It Take to Sell a House?
It depends on the conditions of your unique market and property. The average time for a home to sell in the United States is between 46 and 55 days.
Though, this is the time on the market. There is also additional time required to prepare—some experts suggest at least two months for this process.
Should I Sell My Home Before I Buy a New House?
This answer will depend on your specific circumstances.
For most people, selling your existing house first before buying a new one is more practical. This way, you can access the equity in your current home to put towards the purchase of a new house. But, this method can be more inconvenient overall.
If you have the financial capability to buy a new house while still in the process of selling your existing one, it will likely make for a smoother transition.
Do Sellers Ever Sell a House With Their Belongings in It?
Yes, sellers sometimes sell a house furnished. This is especially beneficial in fall and winter sales, where buyers may be more unprepared to move.
Selling a house furnished means it is that much more move-in ready and may come with a higher value. Though, some buyers prefer a blank canvas to put their own creative touch on.
Exact specifications of what stays and what goes are laid out in the home’s contract.
Don’t Forget Home Insurance
While there is plenty of data to support market trends, the most helpful information will depend on location. The best thing you can do when looking to sell your home is to analyze information relative to your specific market.
When selling and buying a home—don’t forget to consider the role of home insurance. It is critical in protecting your investment and maintaining your home.