The short answer is in the spring. But precisely when you put your home on the market in the spring can significantly impact how that sale goes down. With perfect timing you can sell your house more quickly and get more money for it, so choose wisely.
Timing Influenced by Location
In general, the best time to sell in the U.S. is mid-March to mid-April. Most housing markets show an increase in total selling price (up to 2% more) and less time on the market (selling 15% faster than average) at some point during that window. However, if you want to capitalize on a premium window of opportunity, take a closer look.
According to Hanley Wood, St. Louis and San Diego both have premium selling windows in the latter part of March. Both areas experience around a 1% increase in sales premium. San Diego homes sell in about 13 days and St. Louis homes sell in about 17 days from March 16–31.
On the other end of the spectrum, Houston’s window is in early June. Homes sell in 12 days at nearly 1% better sales premium than the average in that area.
The rest of the country falls somewhere between with the majority of larger metro areas falling in late April to early May. Check out an interactive map displaying listing data from Hanley Wood at Builder Magazine.
The Online Game
Nearly all potential buyers start their search online. Zillow reports that multiple listings are posted every day and it’s easy to get lost in all that, especially when listings get pushed lower and lower in search results as more postings come online. Zillow also says that the busiest time for posting homes for sale online is the end of February and early March. If you list your home before that or at that time, you’ll probably get lost in the sea of listings.
Your best bet is to list online in late March or early April. You might feel like you are running a risk because that’s your prime selling time, but you’ll actually get more eyes that way than if you start earlier.
Tricks to Get Ahead
Getting ahead in the market’s busiest time can mean real differences in the numbers when all is said and done. How quickly you sell your house and how much you sell your house for are two numbers attached at the hip. Quick sellers often sell for the most, while homes that stay on the market longer tend to slowly decrease in selling price over time. So it’s really important to get out there at the right time with the right strategy. Here are some ideas to get ahead of the game:
- Find serious buyers. A tell-tale signal that buyers aren’t serious is that they have not contacted a real estate agent or mortgage broker. Zillow says that agent and lender contacts start to climb in early April so that’s the prime time to get serious sellers.
- If you’re not exactly sure of the best time to list, just follow the weather patterns. When it feels like spring, it’s time to list. For Miami, that’s early March. For Boston, that’s late April.
- As you get ready to sell don’t over-do it with upgrades. Do the upgrades that get the best ROI to maximize your sale price.
- It’s all about the kitchen. Many potential buyers make decisions based on the kitchen alone so make sure yours is primo.
Current Market Considerations
This year, there are less homes on the market across the country and that is changing things. Demand has not changed but with less to choose from, competition and bidding wars are sky high. Most buyers pursue more than one home, making a couple of offers and stretching out the buying process.
All of this is pushing the window of opportunity to later in the season. Dejected buyers are coming off of a failed attempt to buy a home and are ultra-motivated. List your home later to capture this segment. You’ll sell your home in record time and get a great price (sometimes up to 8% more than average).
The right timing is everything. Enter the market at the right time for a quick sale at the price that’s at a premium.