You’ve probably heard that there are certain times of year that are better (or worse) for selling a house. As a potential seller, it can be frustrating to try to narrow down this “perfect” window – the period of time when your home is likely to sell most quickly and get top dollar.
Conventional wisdom says that spring is the best time to sell. But is this always true? This post will separate fact from fiction, and help you figure out the best time to list your house.
Selling in spring makes good sense
Most articles you read will tell you that listing your house in spring – anywhere from March to June – will get your house sold faster and for more money. There are a number of reasons why this makes sense.
- Longer days = more time to show your house
In the spring, days are longer and brighter. Practically speaking, this makes it easier to attract potential buyers to your home. No one wants to view a home in the dark, and listing in spring means more hours of daylight in which to hold viewings.
- Winter weather may keep some potential buyers at home
Listing in spring (usually) means potential buyers don’t have to contend with harsh weather and unfavorable road conditions. Snow and ice can be significant impediments to showing your home, especially if potential buyers are driving in from across town or from other cities.
- Spring is typically better for adding curb appeal
Spring affords additional opportunities to woo potential buyers by adding curb appeal. While landscaping typically doesn’t add a ton of value to your home, flowers and trees in full bloom – as opposed to an empty, dreary garden – can make for a better first impression, and can even help your home seller faster.
- More inventory in spring means more potential buyers
Spring is when we see the highest inventory of homes…and this typically means a greater number of house hunters eager and ready to buy. Additionally, in the winter or summer, potential buyers may be distracted by holidays, vacations or family obligations, leaving them less prone to house hunt. If you’re looking to generate the greatest amount of interest and foot traffic, spring is probably your best bet.
- Families with kids prefer to buy before school starts up in fall
Finally, we know that families with school-aged children are more likely to buy in spring or early summer. With school registrations typically taking place in spring, many families want to ensure they’re settled well before September rolls around.
Research: Is spring actually the best time to sell your house?
We’ve established that there are many reasons that it makes sense to list your home in spring. But what does the research say?
Turns out, conventional wisdom is right: spring probably is the best time to list, for most sellers.
In their book, Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humphries reveal that listing in mid-March to mid-April will get your house sold faster and for more money. In fact, homes sold during this period tend to sell approximately 15% faster, and net 2% more than average listings.
Their research also revealed that the optimal listing time may vary slightly depending on your exact location. For instance, while mid-March to Mid-April is ideal in Seattle, Bostonians are better off waiting slightly longer: mid-late April.
Image courtesy of Zillow
2015 research by real estate brokerage Redfin supports this finding. They found that homes listed in the spring – specifically between March 21 and June 20 – sold more quickly and for more money.
Looking at sales over a 5-year period, they found that 39% of homes listed during this period sold within 30 days, and 15% sold for above list price.
Image courtesy of Redfin
It’s interesting to note that while this study suggests spring is the best time to list, winter isn’t far behind. Looking at the chart above, we can see that winter is a close second, with 38% of listings selling within 30 days, and 14% selling above list price.
What’s right for you?
Statistics and conventional wisdom aside, it’s important to figure out what’s right for you. While you obviously want to get top dollar for your house, there are many factors that can influence when you decide to sell.
For instance, if your dream house has suddenly become available and you need to list immediately, selling in the off-season may be worthwhile, even if it means taking a slightly lower offer.
Other factors like work relocations, kids’ schooling and caring for elderly relatives can all influence when and how you sell your house; and getting top dollar may need to take a backseat to doing what’s best for your family.
You’ll also want to consider what’s going on in your local market before you decide to list. For instance, if you see many houses in your neighborhood selling for above asking, you may want to fast track your plans to take advantage of current demand – even if it is supposedly the “off season.”
When it comes down to it, the right time to sell your house is when it’s right for you. While you may get a slightly higher price listing your house in spring, your circumstances may make this timeframe untenable or even impossible.
Whenever you decide to list your house, weigh the various financial and personal factors, see what’s happening in your local market, and then make the decision that makes the most sense for you and your family.
We are here to help
Knowing exactly when to list your house or rental property can be a challenge, especially if you’re not familiar with your local market. We are here to help! Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or even rent your existing property, we have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the process. Contact us today to find out how we can help!