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Is There a Best Time to Buy, Sell or List a Home?

In real estate we spend a lot of time talking about location, location, location. Another factor that is just as important to any real estate deal is the timing and somehow we never talk about that quite as much. There really are best times of the year and even days of the week to buy, sell, or list a home. Here is some of the conventional wisdom for buying, selling and listing a home as well as a new twist on those old guidelines.

Question: When is the best time to buy a house?

Answer: Well.... this is a tough one. The best time to buy is actually when it is the most financially feasible for you personally and you feel that you have done your research on the real estate market and can make an informed decision. That said, spring and fall tend to have an increase in homes being listed for sale, and this increase in inventory means that there are more homes for a potential buyer to choose from. Also, the more homes on the market the more competitive the prices will be which is generally an advantage for the buyer.

More food for thought though is to take a close look at January. Right after the holidays there are often fewer people looking for homes, in part due to financial considerations. Also inclement weather plays a role in limiting how many buyers are actively viewing homes. Sellers who are willing to risk putting their home on the market during this slow period of the year are often very motivated to sell their homes resulting in potential good deals to be had by buyers. 

Taking this question even a step further, the best day of the week to make an offer on a house is the first Tuesday of the month. When you think about this, it makes a lot of sense. Early in the month the homeowner will have made yet another mortgage payment for a house he or she is trying to sell and an offer will be a welcome relief from thinking about that next payment. Also, since most home showings take place over the weekend, by a Tuesday homeowners are often concerned that there won’t be any offers that week. 

Question: When is the best time to sell a house?

Answer: This may actually sound counterintuitive but winter and the holidays are one of the best times of year for sellers. Buyers who are looking through the festivities and the bad weather are buyers who are very determined to find a home. These buyers also tend to be motivated and experienced and are prepared to write a contract. Selling your house during the “off season” also means that there will be less competition and your property will have the chance to really stand out.

Conventional wisdom recommends that you sell your house during the springtime. Between tax refund checks arriving in prospective buyer’s bank accounts, the end of the school year, and the weather getting warmer and more conducive to packing and moving, more than 60% of moves happen in the spring and summer. However, while there is a lot of interest in buying a home and moving during the warmer months, there is also a much larger inventory of homes on the market which may not be as beneficial to the seller.

Question: When is the best time to list a home?

Answer: As much as we try to strategize buying, selling or listing a home, real estate just does not follow the same kinds of inventory rules as retail. It really is difficult to time a particular sale since it has everything to do with who is looking to buy at that particular moment and the other homes that are on the market. 

There are some guidelines though that comes from years of observing real estate transactions. The first Sunday of the month is the date to target for your Open House. It maximizes the amount of time your home is on the market before your next mortgage payment is due. You will want to make sure that your property is completely prepared, cleaned, staged and that photos have been taken all to get ready for your listing to go "live" online. 

Most listings are posted on Thursdays so that there is time for homebuyers to discover your property and that they have the chance to make arrangements to see it prior to the weekend. There is also a compelling psychology to a house that has only been on the market for a number of days that are in the single digits. Another strategy is to list the home earlier in the week, like a Monday or Tuesday, and not to plan any showings until at least Sunday to build more interest in your property and garner strong attendance at your Open House.

Find Your Perfect Home with OpenHouseDay

For more tips and strategies about timing in real estate and showing your home through an Open House, visit The OpenHouseDay team looks forward to helping you to get exposure for your property that is on the market or planning your visits to listings that are opening their doors for Open House tours. Come check out our website today.