When's the Best Time to List Your Home for Sale?
The truth? There's not a one-month-fits-all solution.
A lot of people (buyers, sellers, and real estate agents, alike) would argue that the "best" time to sell your home is in the spring, but the truth is, there's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to listing your house on the market. "Selling a home is all situational and subjective, as no sale is the same and no seller has the same experience, reasons, and goals to sell," says Lukasz Kukwa, a real estate advisor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Westfield, New Jersey. "Saying that one time of the year is better over another is a blanket statement."
But you do want to make sure that you list your home at a time that aligns with your goals and situation. Instead of asking yourself, "When is the best time of year to sell a home?" the better question is, "When is the best time of year to sell my home?" Ahead, Kukway explains how to answer that for yourself.
Get clear on your readiness to list.
Forget the time of year—if you're not ready to sell and move, listing isn't a good idea. Before you consider putting your home on the market, you need to figure out how exactly how prepared you are to mobilize. "There are many questions a seller needs to ask themselves [before listing their home]," says real estate agent Jared Greenberg, who's based in both Katy and Houston, Texas. For example, are you prepared and ready to move if your home sells quickly, or do you need to move at a specific time to coordinate with your work cadence or your children's school schedules? Where are you in your own home search (including narrowing down your final options and getting pre-approved for a mortgage)?
Get clarity on who your buyer is.
Once you've determined that you're ready to sell your home, you need to figure out the most advantageous time to put your home on the market. And that time frame is going to entirely depend on who you're selling your home to. "You need to know your target buyer, the type of buyer who is most likely interested in the location, layout, and amenities of the home you're selling," says Caleb Liu, the owner of HouseSimplySold.com, a home-flipping business with operations in Southern California and Central Indiana. When you know the type of person who is most likely to be interested in your home, you can figure out the time of year that's going to work best for their needs—and then list your home accordingly.
Here's an example: If you're selling a four-bedroom home in the suburbs, your target buyer is probably a family with children. "That means they are trying to time their move in the summer, when the kids are out of school and a move will be the least disruptive to their lives," says Liu. "For this type of home, the absolute best time to sell is early June to late August. Once September comes around, it's already too late." On the other hand, "if you're selling a condo in a high rise in a downtown area, you're more likely to attract either working professionals without children, or older residents with grown children," says Liu. "These groups are no longer held to the school schedule, so your selling window expands year round."
Don't be afraid to sell during the "off-season."
Many people think of fall and winter as the real estate "off-season," but don't let the slower time of year prevent you from listing. "A lot of people are hesitant to list in the months after the summer because they feel it's not a good time to sell," says Greenberg. "While there are less buyers in those months, many people don't realize that there are less sellers, too—so therefore, less competition."
Listing your home during the off-season could also help you save money on the moving process. "Many moving companies are extremely busy during the summer months and you may or may not have good choices with who to use," says Greenberg. "During the winter months moving companies are looking for work and you can usually get a better deal and have a much more open schedule to work with."