There are so many factors that you have to consider when selling a house. What price should you set it at? How much money should you sink into repairs and curb appeal? How do you deal with issues like water damage or mold in the house so that buyers will still be interested? Should you sell on the open market or should you consider selling for cash to a real estate investor?
One of the biggest factors that you’ll have to consider is when you should sell your house. Plenty of people have their own opinions based on anecdotal evidence. But given how the housing market is constantly shifting and trends are always changing, it’s important to get the right information so you can position yourself for a quick sale. Here’s a handy guide to determine when the best time to sell a house is.
Complete Guide to Sell a House at the Best Time
While the specifics of when you should sell your house can be a little hard to come by, it’s generally accepted that the spring and summer are the best times to list your home. More specifically, a lot of people will tell you that spring (April and May) are the ideal times to sell your house because the weather is nicer, people are out more, the time between school years is the most flexible, and houses tend to look nicer with all the greenery that’s bloomed.
If you ask Zillow, they say that early-to-mid May is the ideal time to buy and that homes listed then not only sell faster but end up with higher sale prices than the average. The Motley Fool, meanwhile, would tell you that homes listed in mid-May-to-early-June will make the most of an aggressive market.
Of course, spring and summer mean different things in different parts of the country. In some places, the benefits of warm weather aren’t the same as others. “Sometime between April and August” is quite the big space and it’d be easy to guess wrong based on regional factors. So while it’s important to understand the national perspective, it’s more important to understand the local one.
In Nebraska, for instance, it’s been noted that listing your house in late winter (February/March) is a smart move in order to get a jump on spring buyers and be the first to market. In other places around the country, that timing varies widely, with some places hailing ideal listing times as early as April and as late as July. Ultimately, you’ll want to speak with local experts or real estate agents who have a lot of experience in order to get their perspective and knowledge.
If you really want to try to game the system as much as possible, you can get pretty granular about the exact day that you should list your home. It’s not just about getting the timeframe right but figuring out what is literally the best day of the week to list to maximize your possibilities.
Like everything else, this is market-dependant. But most of the time, people who know the local trends will tell you that it’s best to list on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Doing so ensures that your home will be closer to the top of the list when buyers do most of their home shopping: the weekend. Your listing will be among the newest and freshest ones and that makes it more likely to catch the eye of buyers, which in turn gives you a better chance to get an offer sooner than later.
Consider Your Own Timing
It’s not just about what the market dictates, it’s also about what you and your family’s needs dictate. If you have children, listing your house in May or June can make a lot of sense because it gives them most of the summer to adjust to their new home before returning to school. It also prevents a mid-school year change, which can be upsetting. That said, you’ll want to keep in mind that it often takes 30 to 60 days from the moment the contract is signed to the eventual closing date, so if you’re trying to avoid a school-related timing issue, you’ll want to list sooner in the spring just in case.
Keep an Eye on Competition
After all of the reasons we’ve presented for why you should probably consider selling a house in the spring, there’s a good reason not to. Chances are, other sellers also know about the spring bump too and are the market is going to have a glut of homes for buyers to choose from. If that’s the case and the market isn’t quite as strong as it used to be, you could run into a problem getting your house sold. That’s especially true if there isn’t anything that stands out from the crowd about your home.
So while spring and summer are usually considered the ideal times to list, it’s important to keep an eye on local trends to see how you can beat them. If everyone else is listing in May and there’s suddenly no local inventory by the time fall rolls around, that might end up being an ideal time for you to sell. You’ll stand out and the lack of options means you have a better chance of getting more money.
Of course, selling in the fall can backfire if you’re selling a family home. For reasons already discussed, many families won’t want to move once the school year has started, which means the demographic for your house isn’t as interested as they might have been.
Note Local Job Growth
If you’re trying to pinpoint the right time to sell, an interesting factor that you’ll want to keep an eye on is how the local economy is performing. If there’s a lot of job growth in the region, that means more people have dependable income that might go towards buying a house. It might also mean that transplants are arriving in town for these new jobs and they’ll need a place to live. If you can spot this growth as it’s happening, you’ll put yourself in a solid timeframe to sell your house.
Or Sell Your House As-Is
Let’s say you don’t want to deal with trying to figure out the “perfect” time to sell. Or you don’t have the luxury of listing your house and hoping for the best. Or maybe despite timing it perfectly, there are problems with your house that make it hard to sell regardless. If you’re in one of those situations, you might want to just go ahead and sell your house to a real estate investor. Instead of playing the odds on the market, they’ll make you a cash offer and you can close in a matter of days. Then you get to move on to your next purchase and not worry about when the best time to sell a house is. Because the best time to sell a house is when you want to sell.