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The Best Time to Sell a House


Is there a best time to sell a house? Realty insiders say yes - with some caveats and extra tips.

Traditionally, home sales peak between April and August as parents take advantage of the kids being out of school to avoid mid-year moves. This is mixed news for buyers, but generally good news for sellers. With more people in the market to buy, you can stand a little firmer on your asking price.

The more active summer market also tends to mean realizing higher selling prices, especially late in the season when buyers are motivated to get the move over with before the kids start back to school. On the other hand, according to many real estate experts, spring and summer brings out a lot of less serious buyers.

Every season has its reason, the old saying goes. Buyers in the autumn generally are more motivated buyers who have either waited through the busy season in hopes of a better deal, or are facing their own time constraints. Realtors report a second bubble of home buying highs in the late months of the year as people who have sold their own homes in the spring scramble to close on a sale in time for a tax advantage. Under IRS guidelines, a home seller has 180 days to close on another sale if they want to defer taxes on the profit from their sale.

Putting a house on the market between Halloween and New Years may get your house sold faster, and closer to your asking price. Buyers who are out in the cold are generally serious buyers. You get fewer tire-kickers in the winter. If you have buyers want to look at your home during a snow storm, then you should get your offer sheet ready anytime!

In addition to seasonal considerations, current events and the economy have a bearing on the best time to sell a house. When mortgage interest rates fall, for instance, sales of houses go up. With mortgage interest rates lower, people are willing to finance larger amounts, and more likely to meet your asking price - or close to it. If the local economy is distressed, you'll have a harder time selling.

Business trends can also play a part. The closing of a large local company can be good news for buyers - but bad for sellers as people caught in the downturn sell their homes and prepare to relocate. By the same token, the few months on either side of a major local business opening can bring buyers in from other areas of the country who are relocating and looking to buy a house.

At its simplest common denominator, it breaks down like this:

  • In spring to summer, your house will likely fetch a higher price.

  • Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, your house is likely to sell more quickly.

  • Falling interest rates bring out more buyers, making it a good time to sell.

  • Anything that improves the local economy can increase the chances of your house selling for a good price.

As you can see, choosing the best time to sell your house can add or detract from the success of your sell. Pay attention to the guidelines above, and then try to plan your sale around them.


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