Selling a house can be daunting. Following the 2007 housing bubble, a major factor in the 2008 financial crisis, it is understandable that homeowners think carefully about when they should put their house on the market. So, when is the best time to sell a house?
When Is the Best Time to Sell a House? Aim for This Particular Time of Year
Climate and financial incentives play critical roles in selling homes quickly. Climate-related factors include: seasonal weather, local attractions, and the specific target audience. Whereas the financial factors that affect the sale of the house are: mortgage rates, job growth, and local tax incentives.
And finally, a seller will have to consider their personal circumstance. Are they financially prepared for the immediate costs of moving? Are there areas in the house that could use renovating?
If not done properly, a seller could end up scaring away buyers. The transition between homes can be emotionally exhausting, but do not feel overwhelmed!
There are plenty of variables to consider when trying to determine when is the best time to sell your house. We will discuss the various factors that could influence today’s housing market, step by step.
How Your City Will Affect the Sale
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When considering when is the best time to sell a house, remember that the location will impact the sale of the home.
The sale will inherently be impacted by its location. There are areas of the United States that experience four seasons in a year and there are areas that experience closer to two seasons (wet and dry).
Spring and Summer
In areas where there are four seasons, spring is the favored season for selling a home because it allows the homeowners to showcase their houses in the most inviting way. The sunlight, green grass, and the blooming flower beds encourage buyers to daydream about a potential future in the home. Spring is the best time of the year for renovations and home repair.
The benefits of selling your house in the spring also apply to summer. The long, sunny days are ideal for showing the house in its best light. However, as most people schedule their vacations during the summer, there may be a smaller pool of prospective buyers in town.
If you live in an area of the country that sees fewer than four seasons, the summer temperatures can discourage prospective buyers from coming to look at your home. Though you likely have the air conditioning running, driving in a hot and sticky car on the way to the showing could still be enough to sour the buyer’s mood before they even arrive.
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Fall and Winter
On the other hand, selling a house during fall brings its own challenges and rewards. Off-season shoppers often move because of a job transfer, layoff, or family issues, so they may be more sensitive to price; but the lack of competition can be rewarding.
Families searching for a home usually try to get settled before the school year starts or the weather gets cold. With fewer houses on the market and their added sense of urgency, you may have more leverage in naming your price.
It is usually most difficult to sell your house during the winter, but it is not impossible! For the northern states, residents tend to spend less time out and about during the colder months, and the dreary weather make the homes look less appealing. However, if you live in the south, winter may bring a certain appeal to your property as out-of-staters migrate towards the warmer weather.
Targeting Your Audience
Although you’ll want your home to be open and inviting for everyone, it is important to understand your target audience. What is the price point of your home, and what features would be attractive to certain family types? What are the local attractions that may bring a prospective buyer to your neighborhood?
For example, if your home is in an excellent school district, you may consider selling your house in the spring or summer because a family will want to move after the school year has finished.
Financial Variables to Consider
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It is also important that you study the current financial climate. Besides looking at the current rates for housing in your area, you should learn about current mortgage rates, job growth, and local tax incentives.
Mortgage rates can be influential in a prospective buyer’s decision. This is especially true if they are a first-time buyer, on the cusp of deciding whether they should resign their apartment lease.
In 2008, the mortgage rates were upwards of 30%, which crippled the new homeowner’s ability to maintain payments. The rates have dropped significantly in the past decade, and they are now a more affordable 4.3%. Watching mortgage rates will help you know whether it is the best time for you to sell your house.
Job Growth and Tax Incentives
If there are jobs opening in your area, eventually there will be people who fill them, and some of those people may consider settling in the area. Financial security, such as job growth and a flourishing economy, makes consumers more confident in their purchases. It also means they are less likely to walk away from a sale if the price doesn’t fit their exact budget.
There are no major tax incentives for first-time home-owners. However, potential sellers should keep track of local, county, and state financial news because financial incentives could play a key role in their prospective buyer’s decision to take the leap.
Your Personal Circumstances
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When asking “when is the best time to sell a house,” you need to consider what is best for you and your family. If you are a homeowner, and you are deciding whether to sell your house, make sure your are financially and emotionally ready.
Although you can earn a significant amount from the sale, the cost of an intrastate move averages between $2,300 and $4,300 (depending on the household). Before preparing to sell your home, ask yourself whether you are financially ready for the cost of moving, staging the home (if you aren’t working with a real-estate agent), and any renovations that you may need done.
Besides preparing for the fiscal costs of moving, selling your home will also be emotionally taxing. It can be difficult to say goodbye to a house where you may have raised a family or spent most your formative years. Give yourself the time you need to make the transition.
How to Get Started
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If you are asking “when is the best time to sell a house” and you believe that you are ready to get started, there are a few steps that you can take to raise the value of your home.
By working through this short list of preparation tools, you can attract more potential buyers to your house.
Open Up the Space
The first step to preparing your home is to store away anything that is just taking up space. By minimizing the amount of items you have out in the open, the space will feel open and inviting. It will also make the house feel bigger, which tells the buyer that the house has more value for its money.
You can do this easily in the kitchen by tucking away less-used appliances, which shows the buyers that there is ample space for cooking. You can also do this in the closets throughout the house to show off your storage space.
Take “You” Out of the Picture
The next step in preparing your home is to de-personalizing the space. Do not remove all of the personality from the home, but too much personal memorabilia on display can be a turnoff for potential buyers. They won’t be able to imagine themselves living in the home.
Another critical step in preparing your home is to invest in a thorough cleaning service. Remove the dust and grime, get rid of old carpets, and clean up any marks on the wall. Even the smallest hint of everyday wear and tear can quickly age a house.
Update What You Afford
Probably the most important of the three: polish the home’s overall presentation.
As mentioned earlier, the outer appearance of a home is the first opportunity the buyers have to evaluate the “what ifs” they may have about their potential future in your home. By trimming your grass, planting flowers, pressure washing the side of the house, and repairing any broken shingles, the house will have a much greater curb appeal.
Inside the house, you can repaint the walls to freshen the home’s overall appearance and neutralize any mis-matched colors. Similar to how cleaning a house will give it more appeal, fresh paint will bring any well lived-in homes feel new.
And finally, you can greatly improve your home’s value by renovating the kitchen and bathroom. Having an unattractive kitchen or bathroom will send a buyer running. Yes, major home improvements can be costly, but you earn back the cost of the renovation with the higher selling value.
Are You Ready?
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Hopefully by now you understand the complicated answer to “when is the best time to sell a house?” In short: varies person to person.
No matter the reason, selling a home can be frustrating and overwhelming. Give yourself plenty of time for the process; keep a list of items that need to be finished; and set check points for yourself along the way. The extra time and effort you put into presenting your home will show when your potential buyers pull up to the curb.