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Is there a best time of year to sell a house?
Old 09-30-2015, 09:01 AM   #1
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Is there a best time of year to sell a house?

Is there a best time of year to sell a house? I'm having this conversation right now as we get DM's home ready to market. It's a small 3 bedrooms and close to the local high school. The realtors we've interviewed think we should list is now (not a surprise), a realtor friend of my brother told him this type of house sells better in early spring when many more families are looking to relocate. Better, as in higher price.

Just wondering what folks here think.
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:06 AM   #2
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March thru September seems to be the best time. Companies usually don't transfer their employees until Q-1 or Q-2 in most years. Realtors are like stock brokers in that they just want you to sell, sell, sell.
Be careful on the listing price as houses fairly priced sell faster than those priced too high. Hopefully they'll have good "comps" in your area to judge pricing on.
With interest rates so low, many families need to go ahead and buy housing--rather than risk The Fed upping rates next year.
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:26 AM   #3
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There's definitely a worst time. Winter. People tend to want to buy in the spring or summer, especially families with kids. They don't want to have to pull their kids out of school mid-year. And if you're in a location with bad winter weather, nobody wants to go out to look at houses during that.
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:41 AM   #4
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It probably depends on your location.

Here, I get the sense that about February through June is probably best. As the summer progresses, hurricane season can interfere with real estate transactions here (since no new homeowners' insurance policies are written with a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico). Then after that, things slow down again through the holidays it seems to me.

My real estate man pushed me pretty hard to get my house on the market ASAP after I moved on July 1st, so I did. I managed to get it on the market a week later, and it was under contract 3-4 days after that for almost my asking price, much higher than I expected. I think that the fast sale was partially due to getting it on the market when I did.
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Old 09-30-2015, 09:53 AM   #5
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Home price increases in our neighborhood have slowed but are still averaging higher than they were in spring. Spring brings a lot of activity, but home prices are likely in a bubble here that has not popped yet and 6 months makes a difference. So I think the households that are selling now are getting higher prices than the spring sellers for similar homes.

It probably depends on the market and of course interest rates and the economy in general. Like early fall of 2008 might have been better than spring of 2009 many places so I think it is hard to know for sure when the best time to sell is. In our area 6 months one way or the other can make a big price difference, but spring isn't always the clear winner as economic changes and housing shortages can easily trump the start the new school in fall factor.
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:07 AM   #6
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I am watching this house on my street which was put up on sale at the end of August. And I thought "why are they putting it up for sale after the schools reopened"? In the 35 days gone by, the sale price has been lowered but there are no takers so far. Mind you, I think a house should sell within 60 days so there is still time for them to close the deal.

I think the best time may be April or May. At least 60 days before school starts.
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:30 AM   #7
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I agree with the April/May timing. I suppose if you put it on the market in the winter you have the advantage of being part of a slim inventory of available houses, but there aren't many buyers then, either.


A bit OT but if the realtor pushes you to do all kinds of "updates", focus on the cheap and the superficial. We put more into updating our previous house than we should have, and the buyers focus on light fixtures, paint colors and countertops. Oh, yeah- and stainless steel appliances. They don't give a fig about increased insulation in the attic. I watch HGTV in the gym and it's crazy.
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Old 09-30-2015, 11:59 AM   #8
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Unless you think mortgage rates are going to skyrocket or the economy where the house is located is going to tank, put the house on the market in early spring. In Chicago, that's probably March or early April. In Arizona and California, you can put a house on the market shortly after the Superbowl.


However, you have holding expenses plus risks associated with a vacant house to consider as well. If the expenses are not insignificant, or the neighborhood will not allow a vacant house to exist safely, I would consider selling now.
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Old 09-30-2015, 12:04 PM   #9
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You may have seen this, but it's a good summary of my POV. Is Spring Really, Truly the Best Time to Sell a House?

There will be buyers year round, but there may be more late Spring thru Summer with those families (who have a choice trying) to avoid moving their kids during the school year.

Best of luck...
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Old 09-30-2015, 12:05 PM   #10
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I've heard several realtors here in San Diego say "Superbowl is the time to list". That gets you the spring sales - and there is no snow factor to worry about.

FWIW - we're about to list MIL's house and probably missed the ideal window. Like you, we've had realtors saying it should be put up now.

Then again - the same realtors want us to do a lot of work. (We're going to paint and clean the carpets - but no way we're replacing bathrooms and the kitchen.) Realtors want a quick sale with little effort on their part.
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Old 09-30-2015, 12:33 PM   #11
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I wouldn't think the price increase for waiting until spring, if any, would be worth the holding costs, mortgage or opportunity.
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Old 09-30-2015, 12:45 PM   #12
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In Chicagoland or North i'd put it on the market April 1st.
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Old 09-30-2015, 01:19 PM   #13
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In our area Superbowl Sunday is also the day the house sale season starts, even though there is often snow still on the ground. Most buyers are families with school age children--perhaps they want to finish the school year at the old school and be in the new house for the summer.

Good luck--keep us posted on the progress.
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Old 09-30-2015, 01:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Is there a best time of year to sell a house?
Just wondering what folks here think.
When folks in your area are buying.

Seriously, I've always heard that May thru August was "best" due to the kids being out of school. I'm not sure how true that is but seems to make some sense. Consistent with that thinking, the last house I sold (~3 years ago) was listed in March and sold in June.
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:06 PM   #15
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I'm a Realtor. You can see very detailed line graphs showing sales data for the Twin Cities market over the past 10 years here and it's very clear that sales volume and prices go up in the spring - Faststats

If it was me I would get it on the market in late Feb/Mar - keep in mind that all of those sales transactions are based on the closed date and that the actual transaction was agreed to 45 days earlier typically.
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:11 PM   #16
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The last time we sold a house, in 2003, we were in no rush and were advised that April through September was best and so we had it on the market end of March, and it sold in November, closing just before Christmas.

The other 4 houses we sold went on the market immediately after I took a new job and that was January, October, January again, and March. All those houses sold and closed within 6 weeks, so my personal experience is of no use at all.
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:24 PM   #17
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The "common wisdom" I've always heard is spring/summer because of relocating children to a new school in mid-grade. That said, you also have to consider your carrying costs on the house (utilities, insurance, etc.) and how much better you're likely to do if you wait.

That said, we sold FIL's house in February, not exactly a "good" time of year and got full asking price in a couple of weeks and priced at what the agent thought was "pushing the envelope" on price. We'd done a lot of work on it though, with a new roof, almost completely new kitchen (new dishwasher, floor, countertops and cabinets). The buyer did not have children so the school issue was irrelevant to him.

The elder law attorney said there are three kinds of people looking at houses: Those who live in the area and just want to get an idea of pricing, those who just started looking and are learning the market so are not ready to buy, and the ones who have learned the market, know what they can afford and what they want, and will buy when they find it. Obviously you want that last one.
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:34 PM   #18
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Thanks for the helpful replies. I've also heard "right after the superbowl", and when we sold in NY our agent pushed hard to get listed in early April, even though I was on lengthy jury duty at the time.

Yes, this house is in the Chicago area. The neighborhood is nice, and safe, but the house will be empty. The area is definitely families with children. I would guess that the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is pretty slow, so to sell before then it would need to be listed pretty soon, and I don't see that happening.

Getting it on the market in early to mid February would seem the way to sell at fair market value.
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Old 09-30-2015, 06:20 PM   #19
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Hopefully here in Scottsdale it is October as we have moved in to our new home and the old one is going on the market tomorrow!


Hoping for a snowy fall for the Midwest and Northwest so some new snowbirds we'll swoop in and pick it up.
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Old 09-30-2015, 06:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
In our area Superbowl Sunday is also the day the house sale season starts, even though there is often snow still on the ground. Most buyers are families with school age children--perhaps they want to finish the school year at the old school and be in the new house for the summer.

Good luck--keep us posted on the progress.
I also heard that you should list right after the Superbowl, so that people can meet the mortgage contingency, sell their prior home and be ready to close by the summer, so they can move in before the kids need to go to school.
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