2020 was a surprisingly good year for residential real estate, with around 5.6 million home sales. 2021 is also looking to be a good year courtesy as a limited supply of available houses, which has boosted average home prices. Of course, putting your home on the market is no guarantee of a sale.
Residential real estate is a distinctly seasonal business with a fairly well-defined home buying season. That doesn’t mean you can’t sell your home other times a year, but it’s considered the best time to sell a home.
Are you wondering, “When should I sell my home?” Keep reading for an overview of the home buying season and some home selling tips that will help you move your home.
When Is Home Buying Season?
As a general rule, late April or early May kicks off the home buying season. There are a few solid reasons for that.
The weather is generally nicer. That means, if you hire a realtor, they’ll have an easier time setting up showings and open houses. More showings and more bodies at an open house mean a better chance at serious offers.
Closing on a house takes time. Occasionally, a home sale will fly through in four or five weeks, but that’s the exception. It routinely takes two to three months to close on a house.
If someone closes on a house in late June or early July, that gives them a chance to move and settle in before the new school year starts. Most families try to avoid moving their kids to a new school district mid-year if they can avoid it.
Late spring almost always boosts your home’s curb appeal, as long as you keep up with the landscaping and yard work. The trees all have leaves, the lawn is green, and you may even see some blooming flowers.
All of that paints a more attractive picture of your home. Pile all of that up together and it makes a strong argument for spring as the best time to sell a home.
Of course, local factors can influence the length of the sales season. Traditional real estate wisdom goes fall or winter sales prove more difficult because the weather is lousy. Nobody loves the idea of going out to look at houses while it’s cold and rainy, icy, or snowy.
That holds true in the northern part of the country, but what about places where you still see warmer weather in the winter. For example, let’s say you live in Tallahassee, Florida. Average temperatures there routinely get up into the 60s or 70s even in December, January, and February.
Some of the weather-based objections fall away. A fact that this local realtor can help you capitalize on.
Yes, your home may not prove quite as picturesque, but it’s also not a total loss on curb appeal.
The State of the Local Market
The real estate market tends to fall into either buyer’s markets or seller’s markets. The forces that create these markets often have little to do with whether or not you’re in home buying season.
A seller’s market develops when the available houses for sale can’t match the current demand. For example, let’s take a city like Austin, TX.
Austin has become part of a Texas tech corridor. All of that tech investment has swelled the city’s population and includes a lot of young people with a healthy amount of disposable income. Many of those tech employees wanted homes of their own, which as created something a perpetual seller’s market in the area.
With new workers migrating to the area at all times of the year, sellers can often demand premium pricing regardless of when they put their house on the market.
By the same token, you see a buyer’s market when there are more available houses than there is demand. In these areas, home prices often drop below market value because buyers have so many choices. The offers just don’t match the asking price.
That can also prove true regardless of when your home goes on the market.
Off-Season Selling Benefits
Selling your home in the off-season isn’t always a bad thing. It comes with some benefits. The biggest benefit is that you face less competition in terms of other homes for sale.
Homes listed early in the selling season typically are off the market by fall or winter. They either sell, or the homeowner decides to try again next year.
Off-season buyers often need a home quickly. For example, they got a new job in the city and can’t spend two months looking for a place to live. These buyers will often pay your asking price just because they want the matter settled before they must dive into their daily work responsibilities.
Home Selling Tips
Home selling tips more or less hold true year-round. While you won’t face substantial lawn mowing, you still need to keep your front lawn presentable. That can mean hiring lawn services to clear away fallen leaves or finding someone to keep your front walk clear of snow and ice.
You’ll want to keep your home’s interior clean and showing-ready. It can prove worth the expense to bring in professionals cleaners for a deep clean early on and for occasional touch-ups while you try to sell.
While exterior repairs can prove tricky in the fall or winter, you should discuss potential interior upgrades or repairs with your real estate agent.
Home Buying Season and You
While the traditional home buying season is late spring to early summer, it’s not the be-all and end-all of home selling. It provides advantages in terms of bringing in potential buyers.
However, local conditions such as weather and if it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market can offset the advantages of listing during the traditional buying season. Additionally, selling in the off-season can provide its own advantages with less competition and buyers who often want a fast sale.
Looking for more real estate tips? Check out some of the other real estate articles in our Home Decor section.