When Is the Best Time To Put a Home On the Market?

5 Things to Know Before Deciding to Sell Your HomeTiming is important when you're trying to sell a home. Knowing the popular times to buy and what needs to be done before listing your home can help you have a better experience with the sale of your property. Here is what you need to know about selling at different points in the year.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Benefits of Selling in Late Spring or Early Summer

Late spring and early summer tend to be the best times of year to sell a home. There are many reasons this is true. 

  • Lots of motivated buyers: Many home buyers typically wait until spring to start looking at homes. Better weather makes home shopping easier. In addition, people who work full-time can go see properties after work and still have enough daylight to see the exterior of the homes they visit. Finally, a sale in late spring means a move in early summer, which gives homeowners several months of warm weather perfect for unpacking boxes and making home improvements. Selling a home in spring means that there will be an abundance of buyers to look at the property. Many buyers want to be finished buying and moving by the end of the summer, which means that they're motivated to act quickly and decisively in late spring and early summer.
  • Prices are usually higher: Home prices typically go up in spring, which means that many home sellers can make more money in a spring or summer sale. Sellers who price their homes low may even see home buyers bid against one another.
  • Homes look better in good weather: Winter can be a difficult time to sell because properties tend to look bleak and drab in cold, wet weather. Curb appeal goes up in spring, which also leads to higher offers.  

Can You Sell At Other Times of the Year?

Homes sell all year round. In fact, there can even be advantages to putting your property up for sale during the "off-season." Although prices are lower, buyers tend to be less picky during the fall and winter. In addition, those people who choose to buy a home during the fall and winter are usually motivated by life-changing events, like switching jobs or an expanding household.

These buyers recognize that the time of year is slower but may feel they shouldn't wait. This means that home sales can happen quickly at this time of year because buyers have a low inventory and are motivated to make a purchase.

Considerations to Make Before Listing Your Home

Is the Timing Right?

Homeowners can usually tell that their current homes no longer meet their needs based on a few criteria. These might include:

  • Growing household
  • Job change with a different commute
  • Upcoming retirement
  • Need to downsize

Although homeowners may be able to make adjustments to their existing homes to meet these needs, it is not always an option. Selling the home may be the most practical choice to achieve multiple goals.

How Strong Is Buyer Demand?

Willingness to sell a home is one thing, but the ability to do so is another important factor. Homeowners should be sure that there is a demand in their area for the type of home they have. When demand is high, sellers may be able to choose from a wide selection of offers. They often get a higher price, as well. If demand is low, sellers may still be able to sell the home, but they will likely need to compromise more on their expectations.

What Is Your Current Property Value?

Before deciding to sell, homeowners may want to consult with a real estate agent to get a sense of the property's value. Although homeowners get the final say on the list price, choosing one that is likely to appeal to buyers if they want to sell the home quickly is wise. In some markets, homeowners can sell well above the list price, but this situation can change rapidly. Demand fluctuates throughout the year, usually rising highest during the spring and summer.

People hoping for a higher sale price may need to wait or work to make their expectations more realistic. Ensuring that you price your home effectively is critical, too.

How Motivated Are You to Sell?

Motivation is one of the most important factors to consider before selling. Sellers who want a quick sale at the best price usually need to invest time and money to get the home ready for buyers. Depending on the home's current condition, it could require minimal or extensive renovations. Making even a handful of updates could cost as much as tens of thousands of dollars, which homeowners would need to be able to pay for. Sometimes, homeowners need to sell their homes quickly and cannot wait to complete updates to the property. They may still be able to find buyers who are happy to buy a property as-is, but they will probably have fewer options.

What Are Your Home Selling Plans?

Homeowners may want a clear impression of their future plans before they sell a home. Someone who needs to relocate hundreds of miles away may not have the option to stay. By comparison, a homeowner thinking of moving to a similar home in the same area should compare the two and ensure that selling is the best choice. Moving to a home with a better layout or important upgrades that improve the household's quality of life could indicate that selling is the better alternative.

Tips for Selling Your Home

Don't List the Home Until It's Ready

Regardless of the time of year, putting your house on the market before it's ready can be a costly mistake. Deferred maintenance, lack of curb appeal, and poor staging techniques can all lead to lower offers. To help ensure a fast sale, get your home ready before listing it on the real estate market. 

Take Care Of Deferred Maintenance 

Home buyers expect the homes they look at to have properly working parts. Properties that are not in (or at least close to) turn-key condition risk selling for a price that's far lower than the cost of the actual maintenance needed. To avoid problems, fix broken appliances, make repairs to the gutters, roof, and plumbing, and repaint exterior and interior surfaces in need. 

Boost Curb Appeal 

First impressions are important. Homes that look well-tended and inviting can motivate buyers from the moment they arrive. Curb appeal can also help buyers look beyond defects and problems with the property. There are many ways that homeowners can improve their home's curb appeal, including: 

  • Keep the lawn well-trimmed, fertilized, and watered. 
  • Plant cheerful annual flowers in the garden beds.
  • Remove weeds and lay down mulch over bare patches in the garden beds.
  • Clean dirt from the siding and wash the windows.
  • Repaint the front door in a bright, cheerful color.

Stage the Property

Cleaning the home from top to bottom, organizing the closets, touching up the paint on the walls, putting out fresh flowers, and setting the table are all small ways that homeowners can stage their property. A well-staged home will look clean, well-decorated, and comfortable inside. Staging can help lead home buyers to believe that a home is well maintained and can make the property more attractive overall. 

Contact a Real Estate Agent 

Working with an agent can help you decide when it's time to put your house on the market. If you're thinking about selling your home this spring or summer, now is the time to contact experienced agents in your area. When you meet with potential agents, ask each candidate what can be done to your home to prepare it for a sale. Your real estate agent can give you practical advice that will help your home sell for its best value.

Selling a home is a big decision, and homeowners should ensure they are ready before they start. By considering these factors and keeping up with recent real estate trends, people can determine if they should sell now or wait until a better opportunity arises.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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