When's the Best Time to Sell Your House?

In many areas, the best time to sell your house is around March through June, when the weather is nicer and many parents are looking to relocate before the start of the next school year. In addition, homebuyers may be more willing to purchase when they receive a boost in income from their tax refunds around this time of year.

However, the best time of year for selling is also dependent on your location. For example, warmer climates may encourage locals to look for homes throughout the year. Doing research on home sales in your area will help you determine the best time to sell your home at its maximum value.

When's the Best Time to Sell Your House?

Spring is typically the most popular time to purchase and sell a home in the majority of the U.S. The weather is warmer and offers more hours of daylight, which makes buyers more willing to head out for hours at a time to view homes. Your home may look more attractive compared to the winter season, when it’s buried under snow. The homebuying season peaks in June, when families look to ensure that they’re settled in before the next school year starts.

Although most people tend to choose the springtime to purchase a home, the early fall season is another good time to sell your home. While there’s less demand, the weather is still relatively warm and families who haven’t been able to find a home during the summer will be quick to purchase one at this time. Even on off-seasons, there may be very motivated buyers, such as those relocating for a job. You could find that selling your home during this time may be easier, as buyers may want to close on a home quickly.

What Factors Determine the Best Time to Sell?

There are several major factors you should care about when putting your house on the market:

Increased demand: If there are many homes for sale in your local area, you can safely assume that you'll have a higher chance of receiving multiple offers. It could also mean that buyers may not make too many demands—such as contingent offers or repair requests. In an ideal situation, you could find a cash buyer who wants to close fast.

More housing options: It'll be easier to find your next home during peak seasons, when there are more homes on the market. Also, selling your old house during this time will be much faster, so you may not need to put in any contingent offers or take out a bridge loan to help cover the costs of your new mortgage. However, a good time to sell your home may also mean purchasing a home is more expensive.

Stronger appraisals: Selling during peak seasons means that your appraiser will be able to base your home value on a lot of recent sales data for your neighborhood, leading to a more accurate home appraisal. If you sell your home during the winter or off-peak seasons, the appraiser may only have comparable data for homes sold below market value, possibly hurting your listing.

Tax concerns: It's also a good idea to take tax considerations into account when timing your home sale. For example, the IRS allows long-term homeowners to exempt up to $250,000 in capital gains for qualifying homeowners. If you fulfill the IRS tax requirements, you could keep thousands of dollars in your pocket, tax-free.

However, peak seasons in the housing market aren't automatically the best time for you to sell. Buying seasons may be different, especially for areas with more temperate weather or areas with fewer families and school-aged children. The best way to find out when to list your home for sale is to contact an experienced real estate agent.

How Do You Get Ready to Sell Your House?

No matter when you sell you home, you can do several things to help you get the best possible price for your home.

Get a home inspection: Paying for a home inspection as a seller may seem like a waste of money, since the buyer is required get one before closing. However, an early inspection can give you an indication of any repairs you’ll need to make ahead of time, preventing any possible closing delays.

Make cosmetic or structural repairs: Making repairs or small renovations will help increase your home’s value. Inexpensive cosmetic repairs such as replacing light fixtures, door handles and light switch covers can make a huge difference, so can something as simple as a fresh coat of paint. Many buyers will judge a home on first sight, so it’s a good idea to give them a good impression. Spending money to clean up the outside of the house and updating the landscaping can help make your home more attractive.

Tidy up and store away any clutter: The law of first impressions also applies when you invite a buyer inside. Clearing out excessive clutter will make your home feel spacious and well-kept. If necessary, rent a storage unit to store your extra belongings. While it's not as easy to calculate a precise rate of return on the cost of tidying up, the benefits are obvious and undeniable.

Interview real estate agents: You’re going to end up paying around 5% of your closing costs to one, so you should find one you feel comfortable working with. Working with an experienced real estate agent specializing in your area will help you make your home more attractive to buyers. Experienced realtors have looked at many homes and understand what buyers are looking for. They will be able to point out any features or drawbacks unique to your property, giving you the information you'll need to present your home in the best light.

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