What Is the Best Time to Sell a House?
11/28/2017 Kristin Demshki
When you decide to put your home on the market, you must make a laundry list of choices, not the least of which is when to list. Believe it or not, there is a right time. Knowing that time can get your house sold faster and at a higher asking price.
A lot of considerations go into selling your home. It can often be a chaotic time—you’ll be choosing a real estate agent, making necessary improvements, coordinating showings and open houses, and possibly shopping for your new home as well. But one consideration many people overlook is how the time of year affects the sale.
What Is the Best Time to Sell a House?
If you’re looking for a speedy sale, the end of spring through the beginning of summer is the best time to list. According to a study by Zillow, homes listed between mid-March and mid-April traditionally sold the fastest; however, a declining number of available homes on the market has now pushed back the window of opportunity back.
Still, spring and early summer remain your best bets. Families with children want to finish out the school year in their current district before starting anew. The longer days don’t hurt, either—more daylight means more opportunities to get people in the door.
This time of year typically features the best weather, meaning you’ll be able to showcase your lush green grass, beautiful flowers and other attractive landscaping. An in-ground pool looks a lot more inviting beneath a bright blue sky than it does surrounded by piles of dead leaves or mud puddles from a recent rainstorm.
The Best Month to Sell a House Is…
While late spring through early summer tends to be the best period to sell your home, there is a specific month that tends to garner the best results: May – specifically, the first two weeks of May. Houses sold during this time frame sell quicker (18.5 days on average) and often for a marginally higher asking price, according to the Zillow study.
As with every rule, there are exceptions. While May shows the highest average odds, your mileage may vary for the following reasons:
- Climate. If you’re selling a home in Southern California, where summer seems to last all year, you may be able to benefit from the weather much earlier than someone who lives in the Pacific Northwest, where warm, sunny weather is rarer. Adjust your selling window accordingly.
- Location. While an NYC condo will be snapped up quickly, suburban and rural properties may take longer to sell. Even a nicer homes in planned subdivisions take longer to sell if they’re in sparsely populated areas. If your home is off the beaten path, you should begin the listing process earlier, or plan for a longer listing period, to give yourself and your potential buyers a bit more time.
- A Competitive Market. Amid a housing crunch, some markets are much more competitive than others, meaning you may need to jump the gun a bit to beat out other early listers. In highly competitive markets, it’s also generally easier to sell in the off-season since eager buyers are more plentiful year-round.
How Long Does It Take to Put a House on the Market?
Selling your home doesn’t happen overnight. There are several steps – some more time-consuming than others – that you must perform. You should decide when you’d ultimately like to close, then count backwards from that date to ensure you have a good chance of meeting your target.
Once you’ve chosen your listing agent, they’ll gather all the details on your home: number of rooms, square footage, lot size, upgrades, etc. They’ll take pictures and possibly video from many different angles, and they may “stage” the home for sale.
When they have what they need, they’ll put your house on the multiple listing service for all the world to see. This part of the process goes quickly – typically, it takes less than a week.
As of August 2017, the average home remains on the market for 66 days, but again, that can be influenced by your market and the time of year you list. Closing takes an average of 50 days, according to the Realtor.com study.
Other factors that can impact the time it takes to sell include:
- Finding an agent. Your real estate agent will be with you from start to finish, so it’s important you find someone you’re comfortable with. Do not rush this step!
- Repairs and upgrades. Your home inspection may reveal issues that need to be addressed, such as wiring that isn’t up to code. You may also want to make upgrades to the house or property to increase the value.
- Contingencies. If the sale of your home includes any contingencies, such as the buyers finding a buyer for their property, the process can take longer.
Best Time to Sell: The Bottom Line
While there is no “magic day” to sell your home, putting your home on the market in late spring or early summer increases your chances of a quick sale and a higher profit margin. Decide on your target “sell by” date and work backwards from there to ensure you hit your mark!
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