When is the best time of the year to sell your house? There are some definite times of the year when it’s in the home seller’s interest to put their property on any listings. However, there are plenty of factors to consider, and most decisions can affect the actual selling price or the time it takes to sell your property.
It is crucial to understand the ebb and flow of the real estate market to get the best deal on your property. While timing isn’t everything, seasonal trends can determine the best time to put your home up for sale.
Real Estate Trends
The real estate market is predictable in that there are favorable and less favorable seasons for sellers to put a property on the market. Spring is traditionally the best time to sell a home but it’s been a very interesting couple of years in the real estate industry and the real estate landscape has changed.
If you are ready for a new property to call home, here’s a guide as to when would be the best time to put your current house on the market:
- Spring & Summer: Peak Season
In general, buyers aren’t keen on making an investment at the start of the new year. Most consumers are recovering from the hefty expenses of the holiday season. Depending on where you live, the peak starts at the end of January and ends early in March. In temperate regions like Napa Valley, the first of two yearly peak seasons start earlier.
The spring peak is often bolstered by families who are eager to purchase a new home early in the year in time for the next academic year. This minimizes the disruption to schooling that a move would incur.
The real estate market really comes to life during springtime. As such, sellers are more likely to offload their homes quicker and for more money.
The spring rush slows down at the beginning of the summer season. There is less activity during the months of June, July, and August. Often, people who bought homes early in the year move into their new properties in the summertime. Families tend to veer away from buying a few months before the start of the academic year so as not to disrupt their children’s schedules.
If you are selling your home to buy a new one, summer is the best time to look for your next property. During this time, sellers who need to liquidate their assets are willing to take a lower offer.
- Fall: Peak Season
The real estate market tends to pick back up following Labor Day. The second peak isn’t as high as the spring market, but sellers can still get a good deal on their properties during the fall season.
It is best to set your expectations accordingly for those who intend to sell their homes later in the year. You may not get as good a price as you would have during the spring, however, there are so many different factors that affect the price of houses that you can still expect a good return.
- Winter: Off-Peak
The weeks following Thanksgiving are the slowest seasons in the real estate market. This is the worst time to put your property for sale. Unless you absolutely have to sell your home, it is best to wait a few months until the springtime boom.
The Best Time of Year to Sell a Home
As a prospective seller, you might be asking if it is an excellent time to sell your home right now. The short answer is yes! It is currently a seller’s market which means that homes sell faster and at higher prices.
The last few months of 2021 have been ideal for sellers who want to put their properties on the market. According to the National Association of Realtors or NAR, 86% of listings in September were sold in less than a month. Most properties were only on the market for 17 days. The median price of homes sold is 13.3% higher than the selling price in previous years.
The trajectory of the real estate market has been dramatically affected by the global difficulties all industries faced in 2020. The pandemic and its effects on the economy has altered the real estate landscape. Nevertheless, spring and early summer are still the best time to put your home on the market. Properties that are listed during this time often sell faster and for more than the listing price. Again, location and price largely dictate how long your property stays on the market. However, on average, homes sold at the tail end of December stay on the market for almost 60 days. Properties that go on sale around March sell in less than 40 days.
Similar to the selling time, home listing prices also improve for sellers during the year’s peak real estate seasons. Property prices traditionally rise by an average of 9% from off-season to peak season, with the highest selling prices reported around January to May.
Advantages of Selling Off-Peak
Though you’d be wise to sell in the spring peak to maximize your return and lower the selling time there is some merit to selling outside the spring peak.
- Selling in the Summer
Depending on your area, summer can be a great time to put a property on the market. Buyers with families will be eager to make a purchase before the school year starts. Settling down before the academic year ensures that their children’s schooling transition is the smoothest it can be. If buyers have been unsuccessful in acquiring a new home in the competitive spring season they may be more than willing to stump up more than the listed price in order to facilitate their move.
There are fewer new listings during the summer period. This means that sellers have less competition and are more likely to sell their homes at least at listing prices.
- Selling in Winter
Similar to selling property in the summer, there is less competition if you put your home on the market during the winter. Since buyers’ choices dwindle, they are more likely to settle on the properties that are available to them. Highly motivated buyers want to close before the holidays and no one wants to spend their Christmas Eve moving. A little push in the right direction can quickly help you sell your home. It is important to note that the cost of hiring movers is also lower during the colder months. This could be a draw for some buyers.
Key Factors that Affect the Real Estate Market
Several factors may affect the market’s ebb and flow. Below are just a few of those factors that you need to consider if you are planning to sell your home:
The real estate market is quite literally affected by the seasons for the simple reason that more people are more willing to view houses when the weather is more pleasant. It may also be true that houses look better in the spring and summer. You may have wonderful winter decorations adorning your house but most buyers will not be imagining themselves in a holiday decorated home.
- The Holiday Season
As mentioned earlier, the last few weeks of the year following Thanksgiving are dead as far as real estate prospects are concerned. During this time, people are too busy preparing for the holidays. They don’t have time to search for houses or properties.
- The Pandemic, Low Mortgages, and Low Inventory
Far from cooling down the market, the pandemic has caused a property boom in the US. It’s important to be clear that this is not a housing bubble which is artificially inflated and likely to crash at any moment. This is likely a boom which will continue for the foreseeable future, though house prices might not rise as strongly as the market begins to adjust.
Low mortgages had already encouraged higher levels of home buying and first time home ownership before the pandemic. The fact that there simply aren’t enough houses on the market means that prices will remain high. If we add to this the fact that more people are moving out of highly urbanized areas, like an overcrowded city for literally greener pastures, there’s a lot of homebuying that’s happening. The increasing ability and acceptability of working from home, means people have greater choice of where they would like to live.
All of a sudden it’s easier to find high living standards in a place with a great view, open air and space.
- Asking Price
Pricing the property correctly can make a world of difference when selling a home. No amount of staging and curb appeal will tempt buyers to pay overly exorbitant asking prices. It is crucial to conduct research on the property prices in your immediate neighborhood. This step is essential in gauging if your asking price is acceptable for your area.
Here you’re best served by turning to a Realtor to give you an accurate evaluation of your house. Set the price too low and you’re losing money in a sellers market. Set it too high and you simply won’t attract any bids which could lead to a nasty spiral of having to continually lower prices as your home languishes ever longer on the market.
- General State of the Home
Did you know turnkey homes are the properties that sell fastest on the market? It isn’t surprising since most buyers are looking for convenience when buying a home. Most of them prefer to buy homes that are move-in ready from the onset.
Investing in small home upgrades before putting the property on sale is a simple way to improve your chances of a quick and profitable sale.
- Cost of Selling a Home
A few sellers do not realize that selling a home comes with a host of different expenses. On average, the cost of selling a property can be as high as 15% of the selling price. Not all fees come out of your pocket, but it is important to know the what costs you can expect to pay:
- Agent Commissions
Often, the agent commission fee is one of the main expenses in selling a home. Typically, commission starts at 6% split between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent – at 3% each. While this fee might seem hefty, it is well worth every penny. Working with a real estate professional can help facilitate the process faster and smoother. Since they know the industry, they can champion your selling goals and be a strong guide and help in your corner.
- Closing Costs
Sellers typically pay 1 – 3% of the home’s sale price on the closing costs. These fees refer to the payment on services that help officially close the deal on a property. This may include attorney fees, title insurance fees, title transfer fees, and taxes.
- Home Inspection
A home inspection can run anywhere from $280 – $400, depending on the property’s size and the inspector you choose to work with. This service aims to uncover possible property problems that can affect the listing price of a home. More often than not, buyers pay for this expense. However, it is wise for sellers to inspect their property before listing to avoid any unfortunate surprises when making a deal.
Moving out of your current home can be expensive, especially if you are moving across the country, this expense could be anywhere from $600 – $1700. The cost can include handling and storage as well as renting a moving truck or handling professional movers to help you out with the process.
- Title Issues
There are very few things as stressful as processing a sale only to find out that there are issues with the title of your property. This problem can cause significant delays – often enough to deter a buyer from pushing through with the purchase.
Ensure all your ducks are in a row before putting your property on sale. Once you connect with a Realtor, ask to order a title commitment from a title agent. This way, you can have confidence that the transaction will go through smoothly once you have an interested buyer.
- Curb Appeal and Staging
Did you know that staging a home can significantly shorten the time it spends on the market? Staged homes also fetch 6% – 25% more than properties left bare or unstaged. Minding your home’s curb appeal and investing in staging can make your property more desirable to prospective buyers. Like small home renovations, staging is an investment that affects how fast you offload your property and for how much. It is definitely an investment worth making.
- Cost of Buying a New Home
Selling a home in a seller’s market will likely get you a great return. However, unless you have a certainty of where you will live after you’ll face the problems that not so long ago was faced by your buyer. The competition is tight. Unless you are willing to go beyond the listing price, you will lose out on the home you may really want.
When selling your current home, be aware of the rising cost of buying a new one. Unless you are downsizing or moving to one of your other properties, be ready to invest heavily on a new home.
It’s a sellers market and very likely will be for some time. Selling in the near future should still get you a good return on your property but probably not as good a yield as selling now.
Deciding to Sell: Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Time to Sell a Home
As well as seasonal trends, there are personal and strategic factors that determine if you and your family are ready to put your house on the market:
The best time of the year to sell your home is too simply answered by quoting peak seasons. Timing is important, but it is just one of the many factors that influence the success of selling a home. Partnering with a real estate professional is your best bet to land the best deal at the best time.
If you are thinking about selling your home in the Napa Valley area, get the process started with one of the best in the industry. Joe Brasil of Own Napa is a top-ranking Napa Valley Realtor and an internationally top-producing Global Luxury Certified real estate agent within the Coldwell Banker system.
He is a native of Napa Valley and knows the market like the back of his hand. Known for his honesty and considerable skills, Joe can help you sell your home for the best price possible. Call Joe Brasil at 709.319.1887 or send a message to joe(at)ownnapa(dotted)com to find out more.