When is the Right Time to Sell Your Home?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Hunt For Homes, LLC

How do you know when it is the right time to put your home on the market? There are several important factors to consider in choosing the best time to start the selling process. Generally, the goal of most sellers is sell their home quickly and for the highest price possible. With that in mind, you should consider that home buying tends to follow seasonal patterns.

Instinctively, as everybody seems to know, spring is the best time to list and sell a home. Though the season’s color and warmth is esthetically appealing, it should not be your primary guide when choosing the best time to sell your home.

Why Are You Selling?

The primary factor to consider when deciding when to list and sell your home should be based upon your motivation to sell.

The right time to sell a home is obviously not the same for everyone.  You may need to sell because you're relocating for work, upsizing as a growing family, downsizing as 'empty nesters' or have just decided to move to new neighborhood. You may have to sell your home due to a family hardship - a death, divorce or a job loss. Such a calamitous misfortune may even force you to sell your home in a short sale or face foreclosure.

Whatever your reasons for moving, you should also consider whether or not you really need to sell your home at all. With home prices and interest rates at historic lows, it is likely a far better time to buy right now than to sell. Depending upon your monthly overhead, particularly as demand for rental property is high, you may find that it pays to employ your existing home as an investment property and to go buy yourself that new house at a low price and a great rate.

What are Your Goals?

Once you have established a motive to sell, you should consider how much time you have to sell your home and if you care more about selling quickly or getting the very highest price. Your preferences governing your time and cash goals may also be influenced by the fact that you have already identified, or even offered to buy your next home in advance of selling your existing home.

You may be expecting an inheritance, gift, promotion or bonus at work, proceeds from a retirement pension or annuity stream, or a large tax refund. These life events will all impact your financial options. To maximize your efforts, consult with a REALTOR® you can trust.

Seasonal Trends

Home buying tends to follow seasonal patterns. The busiest time for home purchases is between late winter and early fall, or roughly February to September when weather conditions are ideal. For those with school-age children, moving in the summer is best as the move will not interfere with school schedules or classes.

Traditionally, spring is the hottest season for real estate. Sales peak in April and May and stay strong in June and July. In fact, a full 60 percent of America’s moves take place in the summer.  Selling in the summer may net you a faster sale, but you will also have to compete against many other sellers and may have to lower your asking price.

Spring and summer are also popular with sellers because their yards are in full bloom and looking their best – an important attribute when selling a home. In spring, if a potential buyer has just received a tax refund, they may have a large enough lump sum of cash to help finance a down payment. 

August brings a lag in sales, as people go away on vacation and start to think about the new school year. Sales surge again briefly in the fall before dropping in winter as buyers and sellers focus on the holidays. But by January, buyers are out again, and sales steadily increase into spring.

If you can’t sell in the peak season, consider listing your house in winter. Though it may sound counterintuitive, you will have less competition and may get a better price. And since you probably already have the house decorated and cleaned for holiday entertaining, the festive seasonal cheer may actually enhance showings. Bear in mind that winter buyers are typically more serious and may want to close before the New Year.

Seasonal ups and downs of the market aren’t absolutes however. They don’t affect home sales as much in temperate climates, like California where people house-hunt year-round. 

Market Trends

The real estate market generally reflects the current state of the broader economy. Ideally, we'd all like to sell when the market is up and buy when it's down.  If property prices are low, you may get less for your house than you hoped, but you'll probably be paying less for the house you intend to buy. If prices are high, the property you're selling will be worth more, but the property you intend to buy may cost more than you wanted to pay. If you intend to buy up to a larger, more expensive house in a buyer's market, you will usually get more house for your money.

Broadly speaking, the best time to sell a house is when the highest number of motivated buyers are actively looking to buy. You should pay attention to your local housing market and try to list during a seller’s market, when there will be more competition among buyers for your home – which could mean a better price, a quicker closing and fewer conditions on the offer.

Be aware of the underlying factors that influence the local market. Recent layoffs could mean a glut of desperate sellers, possibly driving down the market price of your house. If prices in your area are on the rise, it can create a rush of buyers who want to close a deal before the prices go higher. Anticipation of an increase in interest rates can have a similar impact on the urgency of buyers.

Unexpected Developments

Be aware of any major works that your City Council or Planning Department has slated for development near or adjacent to your property. New construction projects including roads, a new school or park, a block of apartments or a planned cell phone tower that may block your view will all affect your sale and your property’s value. Also, be aware of any unrecorded potential liens that may come due upon completion of deferred public improvements such as new water or sewer line installations.

If you know about any of these things, your buyers, with sound advice from their REALTOR®, will likely find out about them too. You can then expect some haggling over your price to ensue. If possible, it's best to delay selling your house until these sorts of projects are completed.

The selling process over the years has become ever increasingly complex and time intensive. Whenever you decide to sell your home, contact a REALTOR® you trust to evaluate, list and market your home. Your REALTOR® has made a substantial investment in their business to know and understand the ever-changing marketplace and how to best assist you in reaching your goals successfully. If you are looking to buy or sell property in Oregon's Rogue Valley, please contact me at 541-778-1114 or at tod@tagbrokers.com

Posted by

Tod Hunt, Broker   Home Quest Realty Medford OR

INTEGRITY.  SERVICE. RESULTS!

www.todhunt.com

Mobile: 541-778-1114

Office Line: 541-774-5503

Office Fax: 541-612-4621

1575 E. McAndrews Road, Suite 200

Medford, OR 97504

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