Markets

When Should You Sell Your Home? The Benefits of Each Season

The sunny front yard of a house with a big green lawn and a large tree.

Image source: Getty Images

With mortgage interest near record lows, the housing market is on fire. If you're tempted to put your house on the market and move on to greener pastures, you may wonder what is the best time of year to sell. As most real estate agents will tell you, there's no "wrong" season to sell your home -- each has its benefits. Here, we'll examine some of those seasonal advantages.

Spring

Curb appeal

Let's face it: It's easier to make your house look great from the street when flowers are in bloom, trees have filled in, and you can stage the exterior of your home in a way buyers appreciate. For example, in springtime, you can fill a planter with colorful flowers, turn on an outdoor fountain, and arrange the patio furniture like you're hosting an outdoor event.

More buyers

Historically, spring is the busiest time of the year for selling a home. More new listings hit the market in spring than any other time of year, and more buyers head out to see what's available. This is particularly true in areas of the country that experience harsh winters.

Better price

You are likely to receive a larger offer on your home if you sell during springtime. More buyers are competing, which can lead to bidding wars. And bidding wars lead to higher sales prices. Last spring, ATTOM Data Solutions released an analysis of which days of the year are best for selling homes. They found that homes sold in June go for an average of 9.6% above market value, and homes sold in May sell 8.3% above average.

Summer

Buyers out in force

By summertime, home buyers who didn't find what they were looking for in the spring are out in full force. With longer daylight hours, buyers have more time to tour properties, inside and out.

Access to fresh comps

The fact that homes tend to sell so well in the spring benefits those that go on the summer market. That's because area comps are fresh. "Comps" is short for comparables, a list of homes in your area that have recently sold. Your real estate agent looks for the houses most similar to yours in terms of features and condition and offer you a realistic idea of how much you should list it for. Listing your home at the right price is key to selling it fast.

School is out

Families with children become serious buyers by the time summer rolls around. That's because they would like to be settled into their new neighborhood by the time the school term begins.

Fall

Serious buyers

House hunters in the autumn are less likely to be "just looking." Some may have been outbid or otherwise missed out on buying a home in the spring or summer. Others may hope to find better deals in the fall.

Less competition

Fewer homes go on the market in the fall than in spring and summer. That means serious buyers have less inventory from which to choose. If you do everything within your power to make your house stand out from the competition, you may be surprised by the number of offers you receive. Getting more offers typically leads to higher offers, which leads to more money in your bank account.

Transaction speed

With fewer homes on the market and fewer closings to schedule, loan officers, underwriters, real estate attorneys, and home inspectors are more likely to be available when you need them. That could lead to shorter closing times.

Winter

Holiday rush

Some folks want to be in a new home before the holidays roll around. Staging rules don't change with the holidays, though. Don't fill your home with so much "stuff" that homebuyers can't see the bones of the house. This year, focus on showing off the interior features you love, from cozy nooks to high ceilings or a fireplace. Make it easy for buyers to imagine moving their own belongings into the home without being distracted by your decor. You may want to save the bulk of your holiday decorating for your next home.

Even less competition

People who put their homes on the market in January or February face far less competition than those who list during the spring and summer months. If you want to have one of the few houses for sale in your neighborhood but still bring in the highest offer possible, make your home move-in ready.

Tax considerations

Homeowners who itemize for federal taxes can claim the mortgage interest and taxes paid on their property on Schedule A, thereby reducing their tax burden. For forward-thinking home buyers, purchasing before the end of the year makes perfect sense.

If you are newly married, have a baby coming, have received a corporate transfer, or otherwise need to move fast, don't panic. As long as your home is ready to show and accurately priced, there's no bad time of year to put it on the market.

A historic opportunity to potentially save thousands on your mortgage

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