When Is It The Best Time To Sell My House?
If you’re contemplating selling your home, whether to upgrade to a larger one, downsize for retirement, relocate, or other reasons, you probably already realize that the real estate business can be tricky to navigate. Determining the right time to sell your house can mean understanding a variety of things that can affect house sales. Your city, the cycle of buyer’s or seller’s markets, and even the month of the year can all have a profound impact on how fast you’re able to sell the house and how much you can realize from the sale.
Depending on your timeline, you may have options to sell your house. Choosing the right time to list the home can help you avoid the stress of a long sales process and some of the headaches of waiting for closing. Getting a better understanding of your unique market can help you determine when to list your house. However, if you’re in a pinch and need to sell fast, you may have other options besides traditional realtor sales.
Sell in a Seller’s Market
There are two different terms to describe the real estate cycle: the buyer’s market and the seller’s market. They’re pretty self-explanatory – a buyer’s market means that conditions are favorable if you’re buying a home and a seller’s market favors those selling a house.
A favorable seller’s market is one where home prices are rising and one where inventory – the number of homes on the market – is limited. Fewer houses at higher prices mean that buyers will be willing to pay a premium for a house and less likely to ask for concessions at closing.
Each community is different, however. Some markets, such as in Las Vegas, are typically hotter than the rest of the country. Larger cities, especially those that are growing, may also have a more favorable seller’s market than a small town with little population growth.
How Do I Know if I’m in a Seller’s Market?
It can be tricky to know if you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market, especially if you aren’t a real estate expert. You can take a look around the community to see how many homes are listed for sale, and how many have “contract pending” sign in front. You can also track how long houses are listed for sale. If homes are moving fairly quickly, and if you notice many “contract pending” signs around, that’s a good sign that you’re likely in a seller’s market.
Or, do some research online about your community. The National Association of Realtors has data for many communities, and can help you determine the cycle of your real estate market – and the one you’re potentially moving to.
Which Month is the Best to Sell?
There’s a general rule of thumb that it’s easier to sell a house in the spring or summer. Typically, families like to buy and sell their homes and move when kids are out of school in the summer. Plus, it’s easier to show a home and pack when you aren’t buried under feet of snow!
However, different locales have different “peak months” to sell a home. Hotter climates, like Texas, Arizona, or southern California, may not see the surge in home sales in the summertime. In these places, spring or fall may be a better time to sell. And if you’re trying to sell a house in Michigan or Montana, January may not get a lot of buyers out looking.
As a whole, however, home sales begin to pick up in February and increase through the spring and early summer, according to the National Association of Realtors. Cooler climates may have heavier sales in the late summer than hotter ones, but these trends can be counted on across the nation.
Each season has its advantages, however.
In the spring, families anticipate moving during the summer, so as not to interrupt a child’s’ school year. Also, people may be getting tax returns back at this time, making more funds available for upgrades and repairs around their homes. These can drive the value of a house higher. Competition is highest at this time, however, so when you’re selling keep this in mind.
Summer is also a popular time to sell a house, as much of the rainy spring weather is over. School is out, giving buyers the free time they need to move. While you may still have a lot of competition as a seller in the early summer, as the season draws to a close, some buyers may be willing to make concessions so that they can move quickly.
You may find fewer homes to compete with your listing in the fall, but you may also have fewer buyers. As the winter holidays approach, it’s not usually the time that most people desire to move. Also, many people have year-end bonuses for their jobs, and may not be relocating until after the new year. As a seller, if you choose to list in the fall, you’ll probably find buyers that are on a short time table, not those who are taking their time to discover their forever home.
In colder parts of the country, it’s hard to plan open houses and showings simply due to the weather. If you’re in a more temperate state, then you may not see such a large drop-off. However, most people aren’t buying a home during the Christmas season, so unless you truly need to sell your home immediately, it might be best to wait and not list it in December.
Why Do I Wish to Sell My Home?
Sellers have different motivations for selling their home. Your reasons may affect when you list the house and whether you’ll be able to sell at the height of a seller’s market. If you have several months before you plan to move, then you’ll be able to list your house at the peak seller’s market, However, if you’ve recently been transferred for your job or if you’ve run into some financial troubles, you may have no other option than selling fast.
Should I Sell My House to a Cash Buyer?
If you are in a tight spot, selling your home to a cash buyer may be a great option. Cash buyers purchase your home outright – no need to wait for a lender to approve financing. These investors will buy your house as-is, without the need for extra repairs or concessions at closing that a typical real estate transaction has. Usually, these cash buyers use a proprietary algorithm to determine a fair value for your home, with regard to location, community, and features. They’ll then write you a check, usually in as little as a week or two.
While selling your house for cash may not net you the maximum price, for many people it’s a great option to simply close and have the funds for medical bills, in cases of divorce, or for those have inherited a home that they don’t wish to live in and don’t have the time to wait for a sale.
Determining the right time to sell your house depends on several factors. Your circumstances may allow you to wait until the perfect time to list your house, seeking the peak seller’s market in your area. Or, you may need to move quickly, regardless of whether it’s the best time to sell or not. Understanding the real estate market cycle in your community and determining your motivation to sell will help you decide when it’s the best time to sell your house.