Selling a house is no small task. Learn about the market trends and discover the best time of year to list your house for maximum profit and a quicker sale.
While the old real estate adage goes “location, location, location,” we propose an alternate phrase: “timing, timing, timing.” Searching for your dream home on Zillow months before you’re ready to move can be torturous, though admittedly not as torturous as discovering you found your dream home only days too late: an above-asking-price offer is already in.
But if timing is important for home buyers, it’s downright essential for sellers –– as different times of the year can yield different results, ranging from slow sales to far-lower-than-expected sale prices. Factor in the unpredictable nature of our current housing market, and finding the best time of the year to sell a house becomes all the more important.
Whether you’re contemplating selling your home or want to be sure you’re going to market at the best possible time, the following real estate market trends and tips are for you.
Put simply: Your home-selling timeline can impact every aspect of your life. No one wants to spend the holiday season moving, and parents won’t likely want to uproot their students immediately after settling in for the school year. Considering the sale of a home can take nearly three months from start to finish, it will require a high degree of foresight and strategic planning to time this process right.1
Even if you aren’t switching school zones, deciding when to sell your home well in advance ensures you have everything in order to capitalize on seasonal real estate trends –– and, spoiler alert, these trends mean there is a right time to sell your home.
Given its comfortable temperatures, snow-free (but not sweltering) days, and comparative lack of weeks-long holidays, spring is considered by many to be the best time of year to sell a house. But every situation will be different, and there are perks and disadvantages of being a home seller during all four seasons.
Pros and Cons of Selling in Summer
Let’s first take a look at selling a home in the summer. As with any season, it comes with both advantages and disadvantages.
In many cases, the summer months (June through August) can be the perfect time to sell a home. For families, kids being out of school for eight full weeks means more flexibility with scheduling, an easier overall move, and no jarring mid-year adjustment period. Longer (and more abundant) sunny days also make it easier to plan showings and open houses –– especially when compared to the uncertainty that the snowy season can bring. Oh, and Bankrate has even taken to calling summer the “peak real estate season,” seeing as sellers can expect more interested home buyers as the temperatures heat up.2
Of course, these higher temperatures can also be the biggest downside of selling a home during the summer. What the summer months lack in slick roads and gray days, they make up for in potentially prohibitive record-high temperatures –– which can make the thought of stepping outside feel like a bad idea, let alone spending hours house hunting. These higher temperatures also come at a higher cost: Cranking an AC all day as open house visitors funnel in and out can eat into your net proceeds come time to pay the utility bill.
But, in our eyes, the biggest downside of selling your home during the summer doesn’t come until after your home has sold. Imagine, if you will, lugging boxes in and out of trucks, up and down flights of stairs, all while the summer sun beats down on you. Not our idea of fun; how about you? Alternatively, you can hire movers to do the work for you, but expect higher-than-average costs and limited availability on account of everyone else having the same idea.3
Now moving into fall –– which has its own set of benefits and challenges.
For many, fall (September through October) is a less-than-ideal time to sell a home, but some may still find success during this season of change. Cooler temperatures and atmospheric days may make some prospective buyers feel like they’re the star of their own movie, shopping for a dream home as tree-lined streets try on a shade of auburn. Cozying up with a light sweater and a warm drink can make open houses more enjoyable, and the surrounding change can have a subconscious impact on buyers. From a home seller’s perspective, this can mean more potential buyers, more walk-in open house visitors, and a reduced utility bill to boot.
But for families, fall can be the flat-out worst time of year to sell a home. The school year is just starting, jobs are ramping back up if they slowed down during the summer, and vacation days are in short supply –– an equation that does not often work in favor of sellers or buyers. And while some prospective buyers may see a certain romance in falling leaves and seas of autumnal shades, others might see hours of their precious free time spent raking, leaf-blowing, pruning, and weeding. All this is to say: While fall might not be the best time to sell a home, it’s not the worst. And those who have done their homework regarding value-adding and interest-grabbing home improvement projects should still have some luck.
Winter may be one of the worst times of the year to sell a home. Nevertheless, there are some benefits to selling a home during the winter season.
We won’t bury the lede: Winter is probably the worst time of year to sell a home for many people. With that said, there are some definite benefits to selling your home between December and February! The biggest benefit is that, if your home sale closes before December 31st, buyers are able to deduct interest from both their mortgage and property taxes, making the winter a great time for tax-motivated buyers who have come down to the wire.4 Actually, given the harsher weather and more treacherous streets that come with winter in most parts of the country, these months are better for motivated buyers. Think about it: If it meant lacing up your snow boots, putting chains on your tires, and pre-heating your car, would you pay a visit to an open house just for the fun of it? If so, we might have different ideas of fun.
Winter might mean fewer buyers, but it also means fewer sellers –– reducing your overall competition. And in perennially warm states (we’re looking at you, Sun Belt) ski pants and snow tires are the least of your worries. In fact, they might be outside of your vocabulary altogether! So, while these pros might apply in some parts of the country, not every seller will get to enjoy these perks.
As we mentioned above, winter often brings snow. This snow brings ice, and that ice keeps people off the roads unless they absolutely need to be there. In turn, buyers are less likely to turn up for an open house as a weekend pastime –– meaning if they do make it, they’re likely interested. They will, however, hit the road for the holiday feasts, festivities, and vacations that take place during the winter months and beat out “home shopping” on to-do lists. Sellers, too, are likely caught up with the holiday season, though moving would mean not having to unpack the tree this year…
But for those who celebrate, the holiday season generally ends on New Year’s Day. So it should be smooth sailing after that, right? Not exactly. Being smack dab in the middle of the school year, families looking to sell or buy a home will likely want to avoid a major mid-year change, meaning it doesn’t automatically become a good time to sell when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.
Spring is undoubtedly one of the best times to sell a house, but let’s weigh the pros and cons.
Come March, the odds do take a turn for the better –– as the arrival of spring brings warm (but not too warm) weather, livened-up landscaping, and even longer days to allow more time for viewings. But spring weather isn’t the only reason why March through May is the right time of the year to sell a house, as buyers are also out in droves during these months. According to realtors, the first two weeks of April can be some of the busiest of the year, as staring at the same four walls for an entire season can make some homeowners feel desperate for a change.5 Spring is also an ideal time for families who may want their children to have an entire summer to get to know the new neighborhood before it’s time for back-to-school. All of these factors equal higher competition for buyers, and potentially well-over-asking-price sales for sellers.
Despite all of its benefits, there are some limitations to selling a home during spring. For starters: If you’re waiting for spring to sell, there’s a good chance your neighbors are, too. This can mean added competition which –– even with heightened buyer demand –– can end up hurting you, especially as you look for a top realtor. You’ll also face higher moving costs as movers, too, are in high demand. And families might find that scheduling a move around the school year’s end can be especially stressful due to final exams, sports seasons, and events like homecoming or prom.
Although spring might be the best time to sell a home, this timing may not work for everyone. But no matter what home-selling timeline you’re on, here are a few tips for getting the most out of a sale during any season.
Whether you sell in spring, winter, fall, or summer, first-buyer impressions are everything. Outside of pictures, your home from the street will be the first thing buyers see –– so be sure that it’s a view worth seeing. If your flowers are in full bloom, nature will have done most of the work for you. But if the autumn leaves have piled high, do your best to keep your lawn well-maintained so buyers aren’t immediately reminded of the work they’ll have to do. If sheets of snow or fallen leaves are hiding some of your home’s best features, consider other value adds like eye-catching sconces or a snazzy new mailbox (just be sure to tackle this install before the ground freezes!)
Check out our home selling checklist to make sure you are fully prepared to sell your home.
When shopping for a new home, it can be hard to stay in the dream when the family photos, yard signs, and design sensibilities belong to someone else. For this reason, you’ll have better year-round home-selling success by depersonalizing your home. Loud splashes of color can deter any would-be buyers, as can eccentric design decisions –– making it all the more important that you consider repainting any loud hues with neutral tones. With that said, a space entirely devoid of personality can be equally offputting, leading some sellers to consider professional staging.
Thanks to the internet, homeowners can read up on real estate best practices and even list their homes for free –– and up to 10% of them do.6 But as anyone who has attempted to sell their home for sale by owner (FSBO) will know, this feat is easier said than done. During any season, selling a home quickly is the ultimate seller’s goal. If a seller wants to sell their home quickly and for the best possible price, they should consider entrusting a professional. During slow seasons like winter and fall, a realtor can be the difference between selling your home quickly and watching it sit on the market. But during spring and summer, this difference can end up meaning thousands of dollars over asking.
During any time of year, selling your home to a private buyer means you’re at the mercy of some outside force –– be it a school calendar, the weather forecast, or a tax deadline. But by choosing to sell your home through Truehold’s Sale-Leaseback, you can get the most out of your home on your own schedule.
By partnering with Truehold, you can get a competitive price for your home year-round, then pay rent and continue to live in your space. This means no hiked-up moving fees during spring and summer, and no months-long stints on the market when buyers are bundled up during the winter.
1. U.S. News. How Long Does It Take to Sell a Home? https://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/how-long-does-it-take-to-sell-a-house
2. Bankrate. When is the best time of year to buy a house? https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/best-time-of-year-to-buy/#winter
3. Moving.com. Why Summer Is the Most Expensive Time to Move. https://www.moving.com/tips/why-summer-is-the-most-expensive-time-to-move/
4. Investopedia. Why the Holidays Are a Good Time to Sell a House. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/102615/why-holidays-are-good-time-sell-your-house.asp
5. U.S. News. Why Spring Is the Perfect Time to Sell. https://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/why-spring-is-the-perfect-time-to-sell-your-home
6. National Association of Realtors. Quick Real Estate Statistics. https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/quick-real-estate-statistics
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