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Selling your home is a big deal, so you’ll want to make sure the timing is right. The ideal time to sell is when interest from potential buyers is highest – that way you can sell your home easily and for top dollar. While you might hear that June is the best month to sell, that isn’t true for everyone. So when’s the best time to sell a house? The answer depends on your local housing market, your own selling goals, and more.
What factors affect how long it takes to sell a house?
To get an idea of the best time to sell a house in your area, you’ll need to do some research. Let’s start with historical market trends. Ask a local real estate agent for insights based on their experience. Is there a specific time of year when home sales in your neighborhood usually peak? If so, that could be a great time to list your home.
Also, take a look at recent home sales yourself to get a feel for the local market – pay special attention to properties similar to your home. Current trends are a good indicator of the length of time your home might stay on the market if you list now. For example, if you’re in a seller’s market, there are fewer homes for sale than buyers, so that competition may help your home get multiple offers or sell much faster. In a buyer’s market, there are more houses than buyers, so it may take some seller concessions or extra time on the market to sell your home.
You should also keep an eye on mortgage rate trends by tuning in to national news. When rates are low, first-time home buyers often come out of the woodwork and start house hunting, which increases your pool of potential buyers. When rates are high, both newer buyers and current homeowners often decide to play the waiting game and postpone their home purchase.
The weather also affects your local real estate market. For example, in areas that have four seasons, demand is typically higher in the spring and lower in the winter. And in regions that are always warm, home sales are relatively steady throughout the year. After all, the best time to sell a house in Dallas, Texas is not the same as the best time to sell a house in Chicago, Illinois. Let’s dive a bit deeper into seasonal home sale patterns:
Listing in the Winter
If your home is a warmer region, the winter months can still be a great time to sell, especially as many people move into the area to escape the cold elsewhere. However, in areas with harsh winters, people tend to retreat indoors. That means fewer home buyers are willing to move amidst the bad weather and short days.
In the winter, there may be fewer buyers on the hunt, but there are also fewer homes for sale, which can work to your advantage. Buyers who choose to move in the winter are often up against strict deadlines and may need to move quickly to downsize, relocate for work, etc. As a result, you may still be able to sell on your timeline for a great price if you find the right buyer.
Tip: Keep in mind that listing your home in the winter may require more upkeep, from shoveling snow to getting your hibernating family out of the house for showings.
Listing in the Spring
Things start picking up in the springtime. As the weather warms up, buyers are more willing to venture out to open houses. Many buyers also want to time their move with the end of the school year, so they have some time to settle into their new home over the summer months. Luckily for you, your house likely offers its best curb appeal during these months with the spring flowers and pleasant weather.
However, this time of year isn’t always ideal for listing your house. If buyers are just casually starting their search during this season, your home could sit on the market as you wait for a serious buyer to come along.
Listing in the Summer
This time of year brings many families looking to buy a new home before the school year starts. If your neighborhood is known for its school district, there’s even more reason to sell during the summer. House hunters may also have a lightened workload during the summer, giving them more time to search for their dream home.
On the other hand, if everyone in your neighborhood puts their home on the market at this “ideal” time, that competition might not work in your favor. If you live in a region that has scorching summers, that could also make people reluctant to move during this season. And lastly, because many of us go on vacation during the summer months, you may find that selling your home during this time is inconvenient for both you and your potential buyers.
Tip: Make sure to factor in the maintenance costs that come with listing your home during the summer, like watering the lawn more often, running the air conditioning during showings, etc.
Listing in the Fall
Along with the weather, the market tends to cool down in the fall. You might be concerned that you “missed out” on the market heat of the summer, but there are definitely some benefits of selling in the fall. Homes listed during this time of year may appeal to families without school-aged children who wanted to avoid the competition of the summer. And as an added bonus, prices for repairs tend to be lower due to decreased demand, making it more affordable to prep your house for listing.
The financial picture
Regardless of the seasons, the best time to sell a house might just be when it makes sense financially. It’s often a smart idea to wait and sell your home once you have enough equity to either profit or break even. The money you make from the sale would ideally cover your mortgage balance, real estate commissions, and closing costs. You may also have to pay capital gains tax if you sell within two years and make a profit.
Crunch some numbers to figure out how much you could make from your home sale. That number should help you decide if this the right year to sell your home or if you should postpone until you build more home equity.
How to sell during the off-season
When all is said and done, the best time to sell a house is simply when it makes sense for you and your family. There are plenty of milestones in life that prompt us to sell our homes, like getting a new job, growing your family, downsizing your space, or finding your dream home.
Whenever you decide it’s the right time to sell, Orchard is here to help. Our service allows you to sell with ease and certainty regardless of the time of year.
When you work with Orchard, you won’t have to sell your current home until you find a new home you love. This means no pressure to sell before you’re ready just to get a buyer during a more attractive time of year. We’ll help you find your dream home, and when it’s time to close, Orchard will help you unlock your home equity so you can use it towards your purchase. While you settle into your new home, we’ll list your old one on the market, and give you the additional proceeds when it sells to a new buyer. You get the peace of mind of a guaranteed sale, regardless of the time of year.