Best Time to Sell a House: Seasonal Real Estate Tips
There are truly no bad times of the year to buy or sell a home. Sure, some are more popular and others less popular, but all this means is that you need to go into different months with different strategies, using the right tactics for the right time of the year. For anyone first time home sellers to seasoned pros, this is important information to know.
How is winter different than summer? Does curb appeal matter more in the summer or fall? In this post, we’re going to dive into home-selling strategies, tips, and tricks for each month of the year.
Summer months (June, July, August)
In the summer, the housing market is often at its hottest. School is out, families often move during the summer to be settled before the new school year, and this is one of the busiest seasons for the home-buying and selling market. The good news about this is that demand is going to be really high. Something to note here is that most sellers know this, and will aim to sell their home (for top dollar) in the summer as well.
In the summer months, make sure to take really good care of your lawn to increase curb appeal—homebuyers will be out house hunting for weeks trying to find their dream new home and going to open houses so first impressions will be crucial.
If you live in a place where the summer is hot, make sure to provide a drink like fresh-squeezed lemonade so you stand out to potential homebuyers. Consider exploring VR technology to show your house off without making the potential buyers leave their homes. They will also be wowed at the technology, which could sway them to learn more about your home. This gives you a chance to close them.
Fall months (September, October, and November)
In the fall, it’s getting a little cooler and the holiday season is right around the corner. Most of the families looking for a home have already found them to ensure their kids have a good start to the school year, so the local market is going to have fewer homebuyers as well as fewer sellers. This may change the asking price, depending on your specific market. In the fall, you want to have the season work for you. Fall colors are absolutely beautiful, so dress up your house in warm tones and serve some pumpkin pie to get people in the festive mood.
Notes that in the fall, curb appeal still matters. So make sure your lawn looks good and you take care of your front porch. You don’t want leaves lying around all over the place with potential buyers around. Another thing to mention is although most families will have found homes by now, many people are going to be a rush to find a home in the fall to have everything situated by the holiday season, so you can use this impetus to your advantage.
Winter months (December, January, and February)
Many people think the winter is the worst time to sell a home, and they’re right if they go into treating it like it’s summer. The winter is a different game, and buyers have different incentives than they do in the summer. Rather than getting into their new home before the new school year, they might be looking to move cities for a new job, or be on the hunt as they have finally realized the goal of saving up enough for a down payment and can’t wait to start the search.
An obvious difference is that during the winter, there are fewer buyers AND fewer sellers. Most buyers will have tried to get their home before the holiday season, which means the buyers that are on the market are looking for homes and are ready to make a quick decision. This is something you can use to your advantage.
Something else to realize during winter is that curb appeal doesn’t matter as much—but make sure you shovel your snow, or else the whole property won’t appeal to buyers especially if you live in a climate like Boston or New York. If you’re excited about saving money on your landscaping bill, I wouldn’t be. You’ll offset the cost with your heating bill. You’ll want to make sure the potential buyers feel welcome in what could potentially be their next family home, which means the place should be kept warm in the chill.
At the end of the day, the winter may not be the easiest time to sell your home, but with other sellers off the market and with buyers who are eager to get in a home as the next year kicks off, this can be a good time to sell your home as well.
Spring months (March, April, and May)
The spring months are widely considered to be the best time to sell a house. Zillow reports that the first half of May, specifically, is a very popular time. The snow has (hopefully) melted and the weather is likely warming up by now. These months are one of the busiest home-buying seasons of the year, with home sales at their peak. There are tons of buyers and sellers, making the market active—although very competitive, so you’ll want to set an attractive sale price. Additionally, curb appeal matters a ton in the spring, which means you should be upping your investment into your lawn.
Importantly this season, you’ll want to differentiate yourself by listing your home online, using unconventional marketing tactics, and focusing on closing your home with potential buyers who are already interested. Note, buyers can be pickier because they know most people sell their homes in the spring or summer, so go into this strong, make sure your home staging is looking good, and be prepared to blow them away and most importantly, close them!
Seasonal real estate: It’s about perspective
As you can tell, there is no best time of year to sell your home and no true “off-season.” There are just factors to think about like the weather, curb appeal, competition in the real estate market, and others that you need to take into account before you decide when to sell. At the end of the day, buyers want to buy a great product. Make sure you are doing all you can to increase real and perceived home value, no matter the month.
Before you look for a real estate agent, check out Homeworthy. We make selling a home possible without a realtor, and can take care of everything from determining market value to advertising through an array of channels much more cheaply and faster than traditional real estate services. We were home sellers too, and what we learned from the process has sent us on a mission to make the home sale simple and affordable for every homeowner across America—no matter the season.