While the last few years of the housing market have been anything but typical, the flurry of year-round sales activity has led many sellers to wonder if there really is a “right” time or best month to sell a house. It’s true that today’s persistently low inventory is offering sellers an advantage even outside the typical spring home-selling season, but there is more that smart sellers need to keep in mind when it comes to timing the market.
While spring may still be considered the best time to sell a house for many sellers, the truth is that there are advantages and disadvantages to each season. Let’s explore.
Is there a “home-selling season?”
In real estate, prime home-selling time is typically considered to be the beginning of the spring season. Many homeowners spend the slower pace of winter preparing their homes to sell by decluttering and completing unfinished renovations. Then, by the time spring comes along, they post their for-sale signs and the buyers flock in.
To add to this cycle, potential buyers often start looking for properties in the spring. This allows them to move into their new homes by early summer. This allows families to get situated before the rush of the new school year and other movers to capitalize on warm weather when settling into a new space.
While spring continues to be a very popular time to sell a home, it’s important to remember that each season has its perks.
Best time to sell your house
These days, buyers have been lying in wait for the perfect house. That’s to say that a buyer is likely to jump at their dream property, no matter what time of year it is. Still, you can keep the following tips and trends in mind when deciding the best month or season to sell your home.
Spring: This time of year is likely to have significantly more market activity than other seasons. This typically means that more houses are listed and more buyers are searching. Heightened market activity can be a good thing, signifying movement and opportunity.
Summer: While summer is a busy buying time overall, it’s recently become even more active. Today’s low inventory translates to higher competition on properties, meaning not all “spring” buyers will actually find their dream homes in the spring. Therefore, those buyers will continue their home search into the summer months.
Fall: After a hot spring and summer, the housing market tends to slow down a bit in the fall. This downtrend is apparent among both homebuyers and sellers. Still, this can be a good time to sell if you’re highly motivated to stage and list your property. As with winter buyers, those who are searching for a home in the fall tend to be highly motivated and ready to take action.
Winter: Similar to fall, market activity may slow during the winter months. During this period, buyers may hold off to make time for the holidays or simply because they’re avoiding the snow. Lately, though, buyers have been willing to move even during the middle of winter if it means they’ll get the house they’ve been waiting for.
Is it the right time for you to sell your home
Determining the best time to sell likely requires you to reflect on your home and lifestyle. Certain months may have stronger market activity, but what really signifies if you’re ready to sell are the following personal indicators:
Signs you’re ready
- Your family has expanded, either with little ones or older relatives, and you need extra space for everyone to coexist.
- You know exactly the house or location you’d move to, if the time came to sell.
- Your budget has increased, either because of a new job, increased savings or other factors.
- You’re craving a dedicated home office space, now that you’re officially on a “hybrid” schedule.
- You’re eager to have your own bathroom space to get ready in the morning.
Signs you’re not ready
- Your budget would be stretched much too thin if you upgraded to your ideal house or location.
- Your work is unstable or you’re unsure if you’ll continue working from home.
- You’re not sure what home features or location you’d want, even if you could move.
Tips for selling a home in a buyer’s vs seller’s market
Every year, the housing market fluctuates. Sometimes, the scale may tip in favor of the buyer, creating a buyer’s market, or in contrast, a seller’s market. Minnesota has experienced a seller’s market for many years, and that is not expected to go away any time soon.
Nonetheless, it’s important to consider what it means when things shift from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market and vice versa.
When the housing market shifts to favor buyers, supply for houses is greater than demand. More technically, a buyer’s market occurs when supply rises above six months. High inventory would benefit buyers, but the current market hasn’t experienced this trend for years.
In a buyer’s market:
- Buyers are competing against fewer bids, so they don’t have to worry about outdoing dozens of other offers. While this benefits the potential buyer, it can mean lower bids offered to the seller.
- Homes that have been on the market for a long time are likely to receive even lower bids.
- There are many homes available, so sellers shouldn’t count on bidding wars.
- Sellers may need to put extra effort into staging their homes in order to stand out.
- Sales are likely to move slower and sellers should remain patient.
Simply put, a seller’s market happens when the housing supply drops. In other words, if inventory reaches lower than a six-month supply, a seller’s market occurs.
Today’s market is a seller’s market. There isn’t enough housing inventory compared to the number of interested buyers, and that isn’t expected to change in the coming year.
In a seller’s market like we are seeing today:
- Buyers may be more likely to compete over homes.
- Bidding wars can lead to higher sales prices, including offers for more than the original asking price.
- Buyers typically move fast, and sellers should prepare for a bidding war in the days after listing their home.
Tips for selling in each season
While you may instinctively aim to sell your home during the “best” time of the year, the truth is that there are advantages to selling during each season. Keep in mind, while spring is known to have a strong buyer and seller turnout, those conditions are not right for all sellers.
Here are insights on what it’s like to sell your home during any time throughout the year – whether it’s dubbed the “best” season or not.
Selling your home in spring
It should come as no surprise that spring has a high volume of buyers and sellers. For sellers who desire a more traditional home transaction, spring may be the best time to list. Here are some key tips and considerations to best set yourself up for a spring home sale:
- Buyer activity is high during this season. Prepare for plenty of buyers to set their sights on your property.
- Lakeshore and cabin owners may benefit from a spring sale. This is a great time to showcase the beauty of the home and the nearby lake. Plus, buyers will likely want to be in the property before summer is in full swing.
- If you’re hoping to list without holding many showings or open houses, spring may not be the best option for you. Buyer interest during this time will likely drive up the desire to view the property.
Selling your home in summer
Eager buyers who didn’t find a property in spring will still be around, searching for a home. Sellers should still prepare for significant buyer interest during this time, and remember these summer selling tips:
- For an easy approach to showing your property to potential buyers, plan your listing around a vacation. Clean your home once, then leave town when open houses and showings are scheduled.
- Summer can be a busy time of year for many families involved in sports, camp and other activities. This can make scheduling a move slightly more difficult.
Selling your home in fall
Fall homebuyers tend to be highly motivated, especially in the Midwest — they’ll want to get into their new home before the coldest days of winter. This can make fall an ideal time to sell a home, if you’re hoping for a swift sale but less traffic than in the spring. Here are some quick tips when considering a fall home sale:
- Buyers may want to beat the snow and move before winter hits full swing, or to be in their new house for the holidays. Well-appointed homes should still be in demand.
- Typically, fewer homes are for sale during this season, shifting the balance of buyers and sellers into your favor. Depending on the year, fall can be a great time to sell if you’re looking for a quick sale.
Selling your home in winter
For the most part, people only buy or sell in the winter if they have to — making winter the one season where buyers and sellers tend to hold similar motivations. Keep these winter home sale pros and cons in mind:
- Only the most motivated buyers and sellers will be active during this time. When interest is initiated, it will likely result in a serious offer.
- In the past, buyers may have waited until winter with the hopes of discounted home prices. However, inventory is still imbalanced, and winter buyers understand there won’t be lower prices during the winter until the market balances out. Even in the winter, sellers can expect offers at or above the listing price.
Moving forward with Edina Realty to sell your home
While the housing market is cyclical and tends to have more sales in the spring and early summer compared to other times of the year, inventory is still consistently low. Luckily for today’s sellers, the market is in their favor, and they won’t have to discount their homes or watch them lag on the market for too long, no matter when they’re posted.
All in all, certain months tend to have a livelier market than others, but we recognize that many factors determine when you put your home up for sale. No matter what time of year it is, contact Edina Realty or your agent to start the process of selling your home.