When's the Best Time to Sell a House?

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Selling your home is a big deal, so you’ll want to make sure the timing is right. Of course, you want to get the best price possible, so it’s imperative to sell when interest from potential buyers is highest. But what does that mean? When is the best time to sell a house?

The answer depends on your local housing market and your selling goals, but there are some general house selling rules to consider. In this piece, we’ll discuss when’s the best time to sell a house depending on many factors and, yes, the actual best day to sell.

What factors affect how long it takes to sell a house?

Housing trends

Finding the right time to sell a house in your area requires research. Before you list, you should ask a local real estate agent for historical market trends. You can also look at recent and current listings on real estate websites, but a real estate agent will have a better idea of specific times of the year when home sales peak in your neighborhood.

When you do research, pay attention to properties similar to your home. Current trends are a good indicator of the length of time your home might stay on the market if you list now. For example, if you’re in a seller’s market, there are fewer homes for sale than buyers, so that competition may help your home get multiple offers or sell much faster. On the other hand, there are more houses in a buyer’s market than buyers, so it may take some seller concessions or extra time on the market to sell your home.

Keep an eye on mortgage rate trends, too. When rates are low, first-time home buyers tend to start house hunting, increasing your pool of potential buyers, making it an excellent time to sell a house. Conversely, when rates are high, there are fewer potential buyers.

Seasonality

You may have heard that June is the best time to sell a house. Well, the weather impacts your local real estate market, so there’s some truth to that. In areas with four seasons, demand tends to be higher in the spring and lower in the winter. On the other hand, regions that are always warm experience steady home sales throughout the year.

The best time to sell a house in Dallas, Texas, is not the same as Chicago, Illinois. So let’s dive a bit deeper into seasonal home sale patterns:

Listing in the winter

If your home is in a warmer region, the winter months can still be a good time to sell. Some people want to flee cold weather during the winter, after all. However, winter also drives people indoors, meaning fewer home buyers want to move through cold weather and short days.

That’s bittersweet, however. Since there are fewer buyers on the hunt, there are fewer homes for sale, which may work to your advantage. In addition, buyers who choose to move in the winter may be up against strict deadlines, needing to downsize, get out of a lease, or relocate for work. Therefore, you could still sell on your timeline for a good price if you find the right buyer in a smaller pool of house hunters.

Tip: Keep in mind that listing your home in the winter may require more upkeep, from shoveling snow to getting your hibernating family out of the house for showings.

Listing in the spring

House hunting picks up in the springtime as more buyers venture into nice weather to explore open houses and neighborhoods. Many buyers want to time their move with the end of the school year, so they use the spring months to search with the aim of settling into a new home during summer. This pattern bodes well for home sellers, as does the nice weather sprucing up your home’s curb appeal.

Spring isn’t always ideal for listing your house, though. If buyers in your area aren’t serious about buying just yet, your home could sit on the market amidst significant competition. 

Listing in the Summer

Many potential home buyers get busy in the summer because they want to buy and settle into a new home before the school year starts. Plus, some house hunters have a lightened workload during the summer, giving them more time to search. If you live in a neighborhood with a good school district, late spring or early summer is a great time to list your home.

It’s a double-edged sword, however. If everyone in your neighborhood puts their home on the market during the summer, the competition makes it difficult to sell your home on your timeline. If you live in a scorching hot area, it’s not the best time to showcase how livable your region is. Finally, what if you want to go on vacation? It’s hard to plan a break and get away for some rest when your home is on the market.

Tip: Factor in the maintenance costs that come with listing your home during the summer, like watering the lawn more often, running the air conditioning during showings, etc.

Listing in the Fall

As the weather cools down in the fall, so does the market. But while you may worry you “missed out” on the hot summer market, there are benefits to selling your house in the fall. For example, homes listed this time of year may appeal to families without school-aged children who wanted to avoid the summer competitions. Also, home repairs and maintenance prices tend to be lower in the fall due to decreased demand, making it more affordable to prep your house for listing.

Consider the financial picture

Regardless of the calendar, the best time to sell a house might be when it makes sense for your finances. You don’t want to sell at a loss, so it doesn’t make sense to sell if there is too much competition. If you haven’t lived in your home long enough to get the Home Tax Exclusion, it may not be a good time to sell, even in a hot market. If you don’t have enough equity in your home to profit or break-even, you shouldn’t sell unless extenuating circumstances force you to.

The money you make from a sale should cover your mortgage balance, real estate commissions, closing costs, and capital gains taxes, and still give you enough for a down payment on your next home. That’s the goal, at least. 

Crunch some numbers to figure out how much you stand to make from your home sale if it sells at market price, below market price, or above market price. That number will help you decide if it’s the right time to sell or if you should postpone until you build more home equity.

The actual best day to sell a house

So, you made it this far. You know that the best time to sell a house is the time that works for your schedule and your budget. But, believe it or not, there is a best day to sell. The actual best day to sell a house is… June 28.

According to an ATTOM Data Solutions report, June 28 offers a 10.8% seller premium above market value. That means that homes sell for an average of 10.8% above their market value on June 28. That follows conventional wisdom, as do the other top dates to sell:

  • May 31 (10.7% seller premium)
  • June 21 (10.7%)
  • June 20 (10.6%)
  • May 24 (10.5%)

As we’ve stated, demand tends to be higher in the spring and summer as families with children want to move in and get settled before the school year starts. With that in mind, ATTOM’s findings of the best months to sell your home make sense:

  • June (9.2% seller premium)
  • May (7.4%)
  • July (7.3%)
  • April (6.4%)
  • March (6.1%)
  • August (5.8%)
  • February (5.6%)
  • September (4.7%)
  • November (4.0%)
  • January (3.7%)
  • October (3.3%)
  • December (3.3%)

Now you know, the best time to sell your house is the time that works for you. But if you can list in late spring or early summer, you have a better chance of selling above market value. Just keep it on the market until June 28!

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