As that old saying goes… “Timing is everything.” And when it comes to selling a home or investment property, timing can often be the determining factor for whether a house sells in a few days or a few months.
While selling a home can often take weeks or months simply because of when the house was put up for sale in the first place, it doesn’t have to be that way.
In most markets in the US, there are prime times in the housing market. If these periods are properly leveraged, they can dramatically boost a homeowner’s chances of selling a home in record time and at a higher price.
In a recent analysis of home sales over seven years, homes sold during “peak periods” in their respective local markets resulted in a higher sale price (almost $2000 more on average). Sellers also typically needed less time to land a contract than during other times of the year (around three weeks faster).
According to research done by Consumer Reports and Zillow, these are considered the prime periods to put a home up for sale in specific geographical markets:
- New York/Northern New Jersey
- Chicago and most suburbs
- Dallas/Fort Worth
- Gulf Coast of Florida (including Tampa/St. Petersburg)
- Seattle and most suburbs
- Portland (OR)
- Baltimore and surrounding area
- Phoenix and surrounding area
- Riverside/Inland Empire, California
- Most of Southern California
- Boston and neighboring New England markets
- San Francisco Bay Area, California
- Denver and surrounding area
- Houston and surrounding area
It’s readily apparent that the “sweet spot” in the local housing market falls around May for most metropolitan areas of the US. That said, it’s possible to find other good periods where the market timing is in the homeowner’s favor with a little research.
NOTE: If you’re a homeowner who’s planning on selling your home soon, understand that positioning your home for a clean, fast sale is a key factor. This means investing in some repairs, upgrades, and other enhancements. Taking action on these items before putting your home up for sale will significantly help your home stand out in the local market at its price point.
The Common Wisdom: Sell In The Spring
As evidenced by the data we’ve included above, it’s clear that most homebuyers are shopping for homes in the springtime. This is why taking advantage of the winter and early spring months to prepare a home for sale is a solid idea.
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What About Summertime?
Many homebuyers may start looking in the spring, but often find more time to check out homes in the summer. Thus, the market dynamics keep humming along in most of the country.
There are many factors behind this like favorable weather, kids being out of school, and more daylight time to check out prospective houses. On the other hand, summer is also the time that most families go on vacation. That may detract from the buyer numbers, at least somewhat.
Oddly enough, many prime markets experience a peak period in early/mid-July. Cities like Las Vegas, Miami, Tampa, and Charlotte see upticks in sales during this time.
Selling A Home In Autumn
Stats show that prospective homebuyers often kick into action in early September. The motivation is typically due to getting settled in early in the school year, especially for young families who need more space. It’s also a typical bargain-hunting time for motivated sellers who want to unload their homes before year-end. This fact often works against home sellers who want to maximize the selling price in a competitive market. It’s best to avoid selling during this period as much as possible.
Wintertime Selling Blues?
It’s widely known that winter is typically the slowest time of year to sell a home in most of the U.S. That said, it could also be a healthy time for some areas with warm year-round climates, such as Florida and the Southwest U.S. Especially since most other homeowners aren’t listing or selling their homes during those months, meaning less competition.
When Is It The Right Time To Sell For YOU?
Other than the known market forces, there are other factors involved in determining the best time to sell your home.
- Seasonal factors
- Whether your local market is in favor of buyers or sellers
- Unemployment rates in the local market
- Mortgage interest rates and availability of loans
- Local/Federal tax incentives, refunds, or rebates (help fund the down payment)
Deciding on when to sell your home can make or break your prospects of selling your home quickly.
It’s important to take all factors into account when you’re in the planning stages. Include all personal issues, needs, and requirements in your planning. Another relevant point to cover is WHY you’re selling. What’s your motivation? If you’re selling because you are moving to a new place to start a new job, business, or career, then timing may be of the essence.
On the other hand, if you have the luxury of time and can “wait out the market” to increase your chances of scoring your target price, be sure to account for that.
Ultimately you’re going to need to weigh in all of the factors to determine what time window you set for yourself to sell your home. Be sure to plan accordingly and do what’s best for you and your family.