What's Better - Listing in the Spring or the Winter?

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Real Estate Agent TrainingConventional real estate wisdom has always been that the Spring was the best time to put a property on the market.  After all, who wants to get out and look at houses when it's freezing cold or have strangers coming through their home that has been decorated for the holidays.  But that thinking is being challenged daily by sellers who want to list their property immediately and buyers who are more than willing to move in the colder months.

The End of Premiere Week

The diluting of the Spring real estate market reminds me of how television networks have adjusted their introduction of new television shows.  There was a time when all the major television networks would premiere all of their new programming in mid-September.  The world of television was all a buzz with anticipation for "premiere week".   Today, there is  no such thing as premiere week.  New programming is now released throughout the year.

When is Spring?

The Spring real estate market is moving in the direction of premiere week.  The Spring market was once considered to be around Spring...April or May.  But that time frame has been inching closer and closer to the beginning of the year.  Sellers, anxious to get a jump on the pent up demand created by the colder months want to be the first in their neighborhood to put their house on the market.  This is resulting in the Spring market beginning in mid-February.

A Win for Buyers and Sellers

So as the Spring market inches its' way into the first quarter, the question becomes is it a good idea to simply put a house on the market in the Winter?  There are plenty of buyers who are willing to move any time of the year.  The only thing that matters to them is finding a house they love.  This could be a win/win for all parties involved.  Sellers would only have serious buyers looking at their property, plus they would more than likely have less competition as traditionalist are waiting for the Spring market before listing their house.  Buyers would win because the majority of buyers may be too busy enjoying the holidays and put buying a house on the back burner.  The down side for sellers in a hot market would be the potential lack of multiple offers.

The Best Time to List

How we do business as real estate agents is changing at a rapid pace and how consumers view the real estate transaction is changing as well.  It is definitely time for real estate agents to reconsider how they advise their clients as to the "best time" to put their house on the market.

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Candy Miles-Crocker

Real-Life Real Estate Training


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Julie A. Black
KAUAI DREAMS REALTY Kauai Real Property Specialist - Kapaa, HI
CLHMS, CRS, GRI, Realtor, Broker

Congrats on your featured post. In Hawaii winter is a great time to list a house or condo. We have lots of visitors escaping the cold.

Dec 09, 2014 09:43 AM #1
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Candy, Listing and Selling homes does have a best time of year. That is when the Seller wants to sell. As you mention, the old idea of seasonal has dramatically changed. 

A home for sale in the winter months can also show a home off with it's best face of warmth and comfort. In the Spring we can get support from all the new colors. The summer can light up a home and the Fall brings opportunity for seasonal spice smells. All good times to create a marketing plan that suits the season and the Sellers need to sell.

Dec 09, 2014 09:46 AM #2
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

Some think Spring...Some think Winter..


There are buyers and seller in every season.


If it is not on the market...No one will know it is for sale..

Dec 09, 2014 09:50 AM #3
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

There are benefits to both times. I like to list in the winter and I love to list in the spring which, for me, is January. How else am I gonna get away? If you go on the market in December, you might be 1 of 10 homes for sale. At least your home will get toured. If you go on the market in the spring, you might be 1 of 50 homes. If your home isn't picture perfect, buyers might not even see it.

Dec 09, 2014 10:10 AM #4
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Our market has started sear Ching earlier and earlier for the past four years, we started mid January last year.

Dec 09, 2014 10:34 AM #5
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

In New Hampshire the weather can really put a halt on the RE market!  Last year it seemed like folks could not get out to show home unit April.

Dec 09, 2014 11:01 AM #6
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Candy Miles-Crocker - I believe different people have different needs for their shelter. Job relocation, addition (or subtraction) in family, financial scenario changes - and many more reasons which rarely is dependent on seasons. I'd say, we have to go with what our clients want.

Dec 09, 2014 12:02 PM #7
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

The best time to list your home is when you need to sell it. You sure can't sell it if it is not on the market!

Dec 09, 2014 03:34 PM #8
Mike Belobradic
Johnston & Daniel Oakville - Oakville, ON
Your Trusted Advisor in Oakville Real Estate

There is no time like the present. Each season has its own pros and cons for each side.

Dec 09, 2014 06:49 PM #9
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

More homes sell in the spring, but homes sell faster in the winter as they have less competition. Sellers need to list when they need to sell and buyers will buy when they need to regardless of season.

Dec 09, 2014 08:21 PM #10
Cassandra Vickers
RE/MAX Pioneers - Cypress, TX

I think it depends on what type of home you are selling and the location. If it's a large home in the suburbs near really good schools, then I would definitely say Spring is better. If you are selling a 1 bedroom pent house in the city on the 20th floor then the season probably doesn't matter.

Dec 10, 2014 12:09 AM #11
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

There is less competition in winter, or last quarter, but home sellers shouldn't worry too much about when they are selling their home in southern California. If it's priced right, it will sell, regardless time of year. 

Dec 10, 2014 12:36 AM #12
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I think it is really depending on your market.  Right now, there are price ranges in my market where there is no inventory and buyers waiting to pounce on every new listing.  It is better to have them on the market now in some cases, less competition and more aggressive and motivated buyers in my opinion!  No one looks this time of the year for decorating ideas, they look because they need to and therefore you can get top dollar as a seller if buyers compete. My two cents.

Dec 10, 2014 09:47 AM #13
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

There are pros/cons to "spring" here in the DC market. And while I'll use the stats from the prior 2 years, just because January 2013 wasn't a spring market doesn't mean January 2015 won't be a spring market.  A local market can flip real quick; one whopper storm over a weekend can make it or break it.

Dec 11, 2014 02:33 PM #14
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for the tips. I agree with the people who said real estate is local and there are people who buy homes throughout the year. 

Dec 13, 2014 08:08 PM #15
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