When is the Best Time of Year to Sell a House?
You probably already know that conventional real estate wisdom dictates that you want to get your house on the market during the prime selling season, which begins in the spring season and into the summer. Springtime marks the beginning of the busy house-selling season with longer daylight hours, warmer temps, and (if you have school-aged kids) the push to get settled into a new home before the new school year begins. Home buying tends to peak in the month of June in many areas across the country, but depending on where you live the peak home-buying and selling season can vary. It's always helpful to check-in with a local real estate agent and ask a few questions about your area's real estate trends.
So, back to the question of the day. Now that we know the peak season to sell your home, is that the absolute best time to put your house on the market? Well, that depends. Let's dig a little deeper and find out the benefits of selling your home during the on-season and why you may want to consider putting your home on the market in the off-season.
Peak Home Selling Times (On-Season): Spring and Summer
Higher Sale Price: Usually, more inventory equates to lower prices. But that's not the case in the housing market. Home prices are the highest during prime season when the most houses are listed and on the market. You wouldn't think this to be true, but it is. Given the driving forces of weather, the convenience of moving, and the impending school year which up the demand, the result is more buyers during the spring and summer months. So relative to that increased demand, the supply of homes is in reality tighter in the spring and summer than in the fall and winter.
Better Home Valuations: When your home is being valued, appraisers compare it to data of similar homes sold in your neighborhood. If the most recent data available is from a home that was sold at a lower price in the off-season fall or winter months, then that affects the valued selling price of your home. With more homes selling during the on-season, the comparable data is more accurate. The more valuation data the better, and prime season is the best time to receive the best valuation for your home.
Increased Curb Appeal: Spring and summer months are more appealing when it comes to showing your home and its surrounding landscaping. With lush greenery, blooming flowers and a well-manicured lawn, these seasons help to make properties shine and look their best.
Longer Days Provide More Opportunities to View Homes for Sale: Not only do homes have better curb appeal during the on-season months, but there are more daylight hours for buyers to visit and view properties of interest.
More Selective Buyers: One of the few disadvantages of selling a home during the on-season is that you will have more selective buyers. With more homes on the market, buyers have higher expectations and a bigger wish list. Buyers won't be under the same pressure to buy as they would in the off-season because of the increased selection and market competition. In short, they just have more options. So if your home needs a lot of repairs, buyers are likely to pass you by for the other home on the market in a similar price range that is move-in ready and less encumbering.
Increased Competition for the Seller: This is an obvious disadvantage if you have a short selling timeline and want to get the market price you expect for your home. More homes on the market means more competition for buyers. If you have a more relaxed selling timeline, you can wait it out and hold out for the offers that meet your expectations. You just might need a little more patience and flexibility for that to happen.
Non-Peak Home Selling Times (Off-Season): Fall and Winter
Motivated Buyers: Not to say that there aren't advantages of selling in the off-season, because there are. Off-season buyers are often more focused and serious about finding the right home in a short amount of time. More often than not they are in a situation that requires them to move like a relocation or other special circumstance where time is of the essence.
Less Competition for the Seller: This is a big advantage for the seller. You won't have as many "window shoppers" but the ones that show up are there for a reason. With less competition on the real estate market, you have a more focused group of buyers who are seriously considering your offer.
Thrift Shoppers: Many off-season buyers are there for a reason: to get a good deal. They are usually very sensitive to price and are shopping during the off-season to find a bargain. Investors also shop during this time of year to buy properties at a discount. Sellers in the off-season may have to be willing to make more concessions like completing repairs before the sale or taking on some of the closing costs if selling the home quickly is a priority.
Less Curb Appeal: Without a beautiful spring or summer landscape to make your home pop, your home won't have the curb appeal that it does during the peak selling season. To counter that, it's prudent to include photos of your home during those more vibrant seasons for your potential buyers to look at and reference. If snow is your current selling landscape, be sure to keep driveways and walkways clear, snow-free, and as visually appealing as possible.
Lower Sale Price: With fewer homes for sale on the market in fall and winter, that means that homes are going to sell for less. A common tactic used by sellers during this time frame is to cushion the sale price a bit so that you have wiggle room to accommodate the requests of interested buyers, make allowances, and give yourself a little freedom to consider lower bids that come in.
So what's the answer to the question: When is the best the time of year to sell your house? Experience and data indicate that the on-season is your best option, but don't write off putting your home on the market in the off-season, as long as you know the expectations and considerations that come with selling your home that time of the year. You can read more about the best time of year to sell a house here.
Are you looking to sell your Topsail Island home or start on your search to purchase property in the Topsail area? Let Century 21 Action Topsail Real Estate help. We have experienced, professional realtors that know the local real estate market and are happy to help you navigate it with ease. You will also want to check out our Seller's Guide for your reference.
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Which season did you find it best to sell your last home or when did you purchase your current one?