Selling your house at the right time can net you a higher price.
Historical trends prove this.
But listing your home for sale at the wrong time can result in scenarios that every home seller wants to avoid:
- Fewer buyers
- Lower selling price
- Having your home sit on the market
Knowing how to better time the sale of your home can help you avoid situations like this.
To do that, you need to learn about pre-existing market trends and the important factors that directly impact the ideal time to put your home on the market.
Let’s go through each of these to help you decide the best time to sell your house.
When is the best time of year to sell a house?
The best time of the year to sell a house is when supply is low and demand is high.
Supply is the number of homes for sale, and demand is the number of buyers.
A real estate market where there are more buyers than there are homes for sale is known as a “seller’s market.”
This is the type of market where you see homes selling quickly, and in many cases, with multiple offers over the asking price.
Buyers are willing to pay more during this time of year because there is less inventory to choose from and more competition.
The worst time of the year to sell a house is when the demand in your local market is low and the number of homes for sale is high. This is referred to as a “buyer’s market.”
Supply and demand in the housing market fluctuate throughout the year and are impacted by the location of the property being sold.
There’s a formula I’m going to show you that will help you gauge supply in your local housing market, which can help you decide what time of year to sell.
How the time of year impacts the best time to sell
There’s a reason why house sales are seasonally adjusted.
Because the seasons can directly impact home buying activity in different locations.
Selling a house in springtime
Early spring is when more buyers will start their home search in many housing markets throughout the country.
There are usually two reasons why:
- Buyers want to get in before the cutoff time to register for a new school
- Warmer weather
Because of this, many sellers assume that spring is the best time to put their house on the market.
While this can be true, it’s also an oversimplification.
Other sellers are thinking the same thing, which means more competition.
And more competition means a higher supply of homes for sale.
Selling a house in summertime
In many markets, the summer months bring out more buyers for similar reasons: warmer weather and the need for buyers to enroll their kids in time for the school year.
But the one difference between the two (besides warmer weather) is that the summer months are when many families will take a vacation, resulting in slower home buying activity during certain weeks.
And in some areas, the muggy summer days discourage buyers from seriously shopping for their new home.
Selling a house in fall
Some homeowners think home sale prices lag during the fall.
That’s not always true.
In many areas, autumn is when the inventory of homes for sale starts to drop off while buyer demand is still holding strong.
Here’s one example…
The average selling price from October through December of 2021 in the southern region of the U.S. was $315,633 – the highest out of all quarters in that region.
Keep in mind that these homes sold during the last three months of the year, but most were listed during the fall.
The same happened in 2020 for the Southern, Western, and Northeastern regions, although Covid disrupting the usual seasonal cycle most likely had something to do with this.
Many buyers shopping for their homes in the fall are doing so with a sense of urgency to close before the weather gets bad and the holiday season starts.
This is why selling during fall can be a good opportunity for house sellers to attract buyers with less competition.
Selling a house in winter
Most sellers assume that the winter months aren’t an ideal season for house sales.
Here’s the thing…
Similar to fall, the winter months almost always have fewer homes listed.
And winter buyers are usually serious buyers.
Sure, some buyers are busy with the holiday season and might want to wait until the start of the following year, but taking advantage of a market with less competition can help you fetch a top-dollar offer from the right buyer.
When is the best month to sell a house?
Since 1999, April has been the best month to sell a house in the U.S.
Although June has historically been the month with the highest sales price, April is the month when most of these home sellers put their homes on the market.
This is based on data that SoldNest has analyzed from the National Association of Realtors.
But the best selling month can vary by region.
That’s because location and seasonality have a big impact on which month might be the best time to put a property up for sale.
The location factor can even vary by state and city.
Analyzing national and regional market trends to know which months have performed well in previous years can be helpful to determine the perfect time to list.
But keep in mind that they don’t take your specific location into account or a myriad of other essential factors (like personal circumstances).
Here’s how you can decide which month might be best to list your home.
How to determine the best month to sell a house
- Find the month with the highest sale price in your market
You can do this by getting annual trends over the last several years from a good real estate agent. This will give you insights into which month has resulted in more money for home sellers in your local market.
2. Get the average days on market from your agent
This tells you how long recently sold homes have stayed on the market before accepting an offer. To get the most accurate number, be sure your realtor factors in your home’s condition, location on street, and asking price.
3. Estimate the average time to close
This will estimate how long it might take for the buyer to complete their financing once your sale is pending. This usually averages 25-60 days but depends on the typical buyer in your area.
4. Subtract the estimated days on market and time to close from the month with the highest home prices
For example, if August is the month when homes sell for the most money in your market, and if the average days on market for a home like yours is 20 and the average time to close is 30 days, then June is probably the best month to sell your property (August – 50 days).
Looking at local data like this can help you decide which month is best for you.
But there’s another calculation that is missing from this approach that can help you better time the sale of your home.
I’ll show you what this is shortly.
What is the best day to list a house for sale?
Thursday is the best day to list a house for sale because it minimizes your days on market and maximizes interest from potential buyers.
Let me explain…
“Days on market” (the number of days a home has been listed before accepting an offer) is a key metric many buyers look at to assess desirability.
If your house is listed for more days than the average home in your area, buyers will start to wonder why your home hasn’t been snapped up by another buyer.
Listing two days before your first open house weekend minimizes this number.
Friday is too late because you want to give potential buyers more than one day to discover your listing before the open houses.
Wednesday can also work but adds another day on the market – and Tuesday will add two more days.
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are the worst days to list a house because you could be adding seven to nine days to that metric.
Putting your house for sale on a Thursday minimizes your days on market and will keep your listing top of mind with prospective buyers as you near your first weekend open houses – both of which can help you fetch a better selling price.
What time of the day should I put my home on the market?
List your house for sale early in the morning or shortly before lunchtime.
Because this is when people pay the most attention to their email and phone notifications.
Many buyers will get notifications for new listings from one of the big real estate search sites or their real estate agent’s website.
Listing later in the day or night can increase the chances of buyers missing the notification of your new listing.
But listing early in the morning or before lunch will decrease the chances of this happening.
Plus, listing your home earlier in the day helps you maximize the time for your first full day on the market.
How to determine the best time to sell a house in your area
The best time to sell a home in your area is when you get ideal conditions communicated through historical, seasonal, and market-related data.
An important part of that is the supply data for your specific area.
The real estate market can change fairly quickly, and the number of properties for sale at any given time is one of the main reasons why.
If you can time your home sale for when the supply tends to be lower in your market, you can put yourself in a better position to get the best price (and sell faster).
How can you do that?
Check the historical months of inventory with the realtor you choose to sell your home with.
This will let you compare the number of active and pending home sales in previous months over a certain period of time.
It’s a key indicator of supply trends in your area, which can help perfectly time your sale.
Analyze the data
This is a fairly simple calculation.
You’ll need your real estate agent to get the number of active and pending listings on the last day of any preceding months from your local MLS (multiple listing service).
Do this over a certain time period and you’ll start to get an idea of which time is best to sell a home in your area.
For example, let’s say you go back over the last 3 years and notice that during the spring months the inventory tends to be higher.
This would tell you that the supply of homes for sale is highest during this time.
And maybe the fall and winter months are the time of year when supply is at its lowest.
You know that selling with less competition is ideal, so this data might help you decide that putting your home on the market sometime during October to February is best.
You can also get the median selling price for each month to help you gauge the demand.
Combining both of these numbers can help clarify peak market conditions and the best time for a seller’s market in your area.
When is the right time to sell your home?
Determining the best time to sell your house can help maximize your price and shorten how long it takes.
But your decision should include more than just market conditions.
You have your own unique set of circumstances that should be factored in to help you determine when you should start the selling process.
For example, you might be selling to move closer to family or friends or scale down during retirement.
Or maybe you’re selling your house because it’s too small or too big.
No matter the reason, your personal circumstances shouldn’t be contingent on your timing because historical trends don’t guarantee the same results.
And sometimes you can’t put a price tag on life-changing circumstances.