Is There a Best Time to Sell?

Is there a best time to sell, or are there variables that you should consider when listing your home?

You can certainly put a “For Sale' sign in your front yard any day of the year, and you have 365 days from which to choose, but there are certain times during that 12-month cycle that are more conducive to listing your house than others. Real estate is a seasonal, and often finicky, product, and most any agent will tell you that December, January and August tend to lose a bit of velocity in terms of sales. However, if you aim for February, March, April and September, you will most likely encounter a flock of motivated buyers at a time when the other sellers are getting ready to list their homes in the proverbial spring and fall markets.

Take a walk around your neighborhood, too. Are there other homes similar to yours for sale? And will there be enough buyers out there looking for that style of home, or will the inventory exceed demand at that time? If so, you may have a few offers, but be prepared to settle for a lower price. On the flip side, if your home stands out from the others because it has something unique, such as a fourth garage or a newly remodeled interior, you may be inundated with showings, with several potential buyers ready to make an offer!

Be advised that buyers will typically hunt through a handful of neighborhoods similar to yours when looking for a style of house that is like yours. And we aren't simply referring to the neighborhood contiguous to yours. Buyers are also looking at neighborhoods with similar lifestyle options, including proximity to schools, shopping areas, dining, parks, etc. Additionally, buyers will compare demographics of similar neighborhoods, whether singles, couples, families or empty-nesters.

A successful sale of your home also depends on the health of the real estate market at the time you list it. You have to take into consideration contributing factors such as current interest rates and consumer confidence. Be aware of what the market is doing and anticipate any potential changes. After all, it typically doesn't operate as a stagnant entity. Sometimes the market is up, and sometimes it is down. It's just the nature of what it does.

Finally, the timing of the listing of your house may also depend on your current situation. You may be relocating to another city to take a new job or perhaps you are moving up because your family is growing. You could be transitioning from the single life to married life or perhaps getting a divorce. Whatever the reason, the timing of the overall market, trends and other factors may be subjugated to your own personal needs which, in the end, will ultimately dictate the timing of when you list your home.

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