Profile picture for Cheddah

What is/are the BEST and WORST MONTHS to list house for sale?

I'm in the final throes of getting our house ready to sell and I'm wondering if listing in early to mid December makes any sense.  My house will be expensive compared to other houses in our area because it's much larger and has more land. 
It would be helpful for me to know, in general, what months are best and what are the worst times for listing a house for sale.
  • November 13 2010 - Chester Township
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Answers (35)

In general the spring and summer months are great months to sell because of the warm weather and daylight. However, homes can sell in any months if they are priced right and appeal to the right buyer. I've submitted offers on Christmas Eve and have had closings on New Years Eve as well.
  • November 13 2010
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Shane hit the nail on the head-  I agree- Spring time is the best-  if you list now- you could be on the market for months before people get out an are looking at homes again- - most of my buyers are not wanting to move over the holidays or in the middle of winter- so if we do not find something in the next week or 2- most buyers will be waiting till it warms up and it's not dark at 5pm-  and do you really want buyers in your home with Christmas gifts under the tree- or with snow on their shoes?
  • November 13 2010
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Profile picture for RobScott1
There are serious buyers in December but much fewer of them.  Try to wait until January but list the property just a few percent higher than the market value.  Over pricing the home may result in waiting six months and several price reductions to sell it.  Bottom line is that if it is not on the market you will not sell it. 
  • November 13 2010
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june of 2006 was the best month to list your home for sale...

Seriously, in many markets, prices are dropping now, and foreclosures keep rolling in. BofA has temporarily delayed foreclosures for a month or so, but that will likely end.

Wait till spring, and there is a fair chance prices have dropped all around you.
  • November 13 2010
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
I would question overpricing it at all. Overpricing it by $10k could lead people to look at the "other house" that is listed at $15k cheaper.
  • November 13 2010
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There is no doubt you will get less buyers viewing your home in the colder months, but if your house priced right and well marketed, you should still be able to generate a good amount of interest in your property.
  • November 13 2010
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Profile picture for RemaxBetty
Real Estate sales is seasonal ...getting in on the market at the right time, price and great condition is very important. I too have sold houses in every month...but the pick time in midwest (Kansas City market) is April thru July.  Most single family home buyer's with kids in school want to move while the kids are out of school for the summer.  If it is a condo/town house/patio home the school year has less of an impact.

Make sure to not price it too high...have the house as updated as possible...clean, neat and uncluttered is very important that will set you apart from others.

Good luck,
Betty
  • November 13 2010
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I don't believe there is a best and worst month to list a home.  You list a home when you want to sell it.

In the Cincinnati market, we have more sales in June, July and August and the least sales in December, January and February.  Our months with the most new listings and May and June (there was an exception this year because of the tax credit so March and April had the most).

So what do I say there is no best and worst time to list?  Because you don't care about the number of homes, you care about YOUR home.  The pros of listing in the "off months" are there is less competition from other listings (in our market 20% less listings) and the buyers shopping in the winter are more serious buyers (we have about half the sales, but 10%-15% of the showings). 

When you adjust for these factors, but comparng the ratio of sales to the active listings, you still have 70% of the chance of selling your home in the "worst" 3 months than in the "best" 3 months.  Do you want to take a chance of losing YOUR buyer?  I wouldn't.
  • November 14 2010
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It totally depends on your market. In Anthem AZ, we have two selling seasons: May-August is "get the house before school starts" season and October-April is "snowbird" season. During snowbird season, really nice homes will sell for a premium and often for cash.

It's really important that you get with an agent who has an intimate knowledge of your neighborhood.
  • November 14 2010
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A great question.  The best time to list your house for sale is when you are fully committed to selling it--having it in "show ready" condition--all repairs done, cleaned and decluttered, landscaping attended to, etc., and you are motivated to sell as evidenced by pricing it right.  The worst time to list your house is when you are ambivalent about selling it--do not have the time or energy to do all the work necessary to prepare it to be shown, are not prepared to be realistic and aggressive in your pricing, and are not ready for the stress that will be involved  Aside from that, there are certain months that have more homes listed and more homes sold. In my area, which is largely a suburban community, many people list there homes in the spring to attract the buyers who will be looking to have their home search and sales transaction completed by the summer before the school year starts.  That being said, homes listed in the winter have less competition from other new homes that are listed at the same time, and buyers who are looking to buy in the winter usually are highly motivated because they are moving due to a relocation, etc, and cannot wait until the spring, or they are not bound by the school calendar, and this "off season" is better for their schedule.

When ever you decide to sell--best of luck--and wishes for a quick, stress free sale that results in the best possible sales price for your home!
  • November 14 2010
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Real estate's traditional busy season is between Superbowl Sunday and Thanksgiving. This is not to say that homes don't sell in the "low season". In fact, if your home is special enough, you may have good luck if you bring your home on the market when there isn't all the other inventory sitting on the market to distract your buyers. There are some great sales at great prices during the winter months, and the lack of choice may make your winter buyer more eager to make a higher offer and get your home if that buyer really loves the home, or if the buyer needs to move right away and sees nothing on the market that meets his or her needs as well as your home. So, if you've got a real "wow" home, your home can be the new great thing on the market, and it will stand out from the homes that have been on the market all Fall and haven't sold yet (and are now stale listings).

On the other hand, if your home is not quite the show-stopper that will make buyers (and their agents) go out of their way to see it, you may want to bring your home onto the market during the more traditional real estate season. You'll have a larger crop of buyers who will see your home, and a higher chance of getting an offer simply because the extra exposure will increase your odds of your home being seen by the right buyer.

One final piece of this puzzle: If you're going to bring your home onto the market during the traditional February - November season, I'd agree with other advice written here, in that Spring is often a time of greater buyer optimism and excitement and sales prices in the Spring are often higher than in the Fall. With the economy we've got today, there's always a chance that Spring will be so-so and the market will be zooming by the Fall (with higher prices as a result), but the economists and advisors I've been listening to do not believe that's likely to happen next year.

Good luck selling your home for a great price and good terms, no matter when you decide to bring it onto the market.

  • November 14 2010
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First off you should move when you want to.  Don't try to outguess the market. There is an advantage to putting your home on the market in November and December.  The advantage is that there are less new listings coming on the market.  New listings are what buyers are looking for.  Buyers continue to look for homes during this time especially due to the fact that they have so much access to listing information on the Internet.  They are looking even if their agent starts to hibernate.  Bottom line is that you might have less competition for the buyers who have not been able to find a home yet
  • November 15 2010
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Profile picture for Cheddah
All good answers, my friends!  This is a tough economy for sure, and my thought was that year end may show more job losses so people may want to wait until there's the promise of a bonus or tax return to loosen them up a little.
Many thanks!
  • November 17 2010
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Profile picture for droopyd
The first 2 weeks of the listing are generally the most critical, so if you can't wait to list until spring I would definitely wait until mid-January at least to make sure that potential buyers aren't focused on the holidays.
  • November 17 2010
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April and September.....even end of august to a lesser degree.

April is just the busiest month and aug-sept has to do with kids going back to school....at least in my area

These are the months with most buying activity.

This person wants actual months not timeframes....

gl

tom
  • November 18 2010
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Profile picture for Ellie Everson
In my area typically the holiday season is not a good time to list a house for sale.  The better months are April through August.

Good luck with the sale of your home.

Ellie Everson
Century 21, Fischer, Rounnds & Assoc.
  • November 18 2010
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There are two factors a home seller is in COMPLETE control of that are FAR more important to actually selling a home than the time of year.

Price and condition.

As for which month might be best, that is totally dependent on your location (and other factors such as the type of home, demographics of typical home buyers for your kind of home and your LOCAL markey dynamics). Sure, one could say generally that one time of year might be busier than others, but real estate truly is LOCAL.

"Spring and summer months are great months to sell because of the warm weather". Well, in Phoenix, most people don't really enjoy looking at houses in August when it's 115 outside. On the other hand, it can be quite pleasant to view homes here in the "dead of winter" when it's 70.

We also have a significant number of winter visitors -- who are looking to buy homes. List in late spring, and you might just miss that entire buying population.

Heck, even within the Phoenix metro area, there are better times than others to sell particular TYPES of homes. Some NEIGHBORHOODS have completely different seasonal patterns than others.

There are no blanket answers in real estate. No "one size fits all". Seek the advice of a good LOCAL agent, and you'll be far better served.
  • November 18 2010
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I had just posted a blog about monthly stats on Trulia for our area.  I think they hold true for most areas. 
[hotlink deleted by Zillow moderator.]
I send these to my sellers to help them decide if they would like to continue marketing their home or wait until spring. 
There is a down turn during the months of December and January.  However homes do continue to sell. 
It truly depends on your motivation, if you have to sell now or not.
A local agent could provide you with stats like this for your area.  If someone is willing to do the work for you now I bet they would be a good choice for marketing your home.

Christine
  • November 18 2010
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It is my experience that Listing in April/May is a good time to list;but in this economy, no month is best.   Most homes under 400,000.00 sell no matter the timing.  All buyers have difference issues directing their lives. 

Holidays are slowest; but I had just come back from an Open House where the development is priced in the $700s.  Another agent who held an open house from 1-3 had no one come.   I opened from 12 to 4 p.m. had three sets of buyers come through AFTER 3 p.m.

This is NOT A NORMAL MARKET--SO...out of the norm listing should take place.  You never know someone may be looking for the features your home offers. 
  • November 21 2010
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I always say that the spring market starts right around super bowl Sunday.  People start looking as soon as football is over, thinking they are "just looking" and often, they find the house they want to buy.  So, I'd say that is the best time to sell.  The worst time to sell is harder to answer as lucky timing always plays a big part in how houses well.  You could list in the best possible time and not get a buyer and list in the middle of 4th of July weekend and have a transferee in town looking for exactly what you are selling.
  • December 11 2010
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If you list your home when there are fewer on the market; namely, Holidays aand Winter Months, you have a better chance to sell. There could be 10 multimillion dollar homes; one normally sells in a span of 3 months.  But, ONE IMPORTANT POINT:  IF YOU DON'T POST IT FOR SALE; THEN, NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO MAKE A DECISION  ON IT.   "BE REALISTIC!"   Phrases such as: 
"I'm not giving my house away."  no longer has a place in this market!
  • December 11 2010
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Traditionally the spring and summer months are best.  However, in this market nothing is a given.
  • December 27 2010
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Profile picture for lys1017
Houses sell at any time of year - as pointed out. But winter months do tend to be slower, with less buyers looking. Depending where you live.. not many people would choose to move during the cold, snowy, winter months. Yes, spring & summer are best for listing. But if your house is not priced right, no matter when you list it, it will not get buyers!  Make sure it's priced according to what the market allows and what similar properties have been going for. [link removed by Zillow moderator]
  • December 27 2010
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They all have pluses and minuses
  • December 27 2010
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Right now in our current ever changing real estate market, features, improvements and larger lots are sometimes not receiving anymore for them.  The winter in one of the slowest months, but it also has the least competition. The spring seems to have the most competition.   If a home is priced at the correct current market value and shows well, , anytime would be good. 

  • December 29 2010
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No best nor worst time. But consider after the superbowl. I know it sounds silly, but if your almost ready shoot for that date. If your ready to list now...do it
  • December 29 2010
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Profile picture for nova8063
Don't you just love the replies by the realtors!!!!!

They try so hard to convince sellers anytime is good yet after a six month with no sale they will make the proverbial "you need to lower your price"........ all the while the market has continued the spiral down.   
  • August 30 2011
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As everyone has said summer has seasonally higher prices due to a stronger buyers' market. The only advantage that the last half of December has is corporate re-locations tend to have to be completed by the end of the year so you can get a small bump in the market for that, if you get lucky. 
  • August 30 2011
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Profile picture for nova8063
I'm in the final throes of getting our house ready to sell and I'm wondering if listing in early to mid December makes any sense.  My house will be expensive compared to other houses in our area because it's much larger and has more land.  
It would be helpful for me to know, in general, what months are best and what are the worst times for listing a house for sale.


Never heard of a sale without first offering for sale.

  • August 30 2011
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Profile picture for New_Englander
Speaking purely from the buyer's perspective (though will be seller in a couple years) -

I think spring, summer, early fall are the best times to show/view a house in areas which have severe and long winters.  Houses show to the best advantage when lawns are green, trees are leafy, and flowers are in bloom.  Good landscaping can make all the difference in a buyer's opinion, and most of it is dead during the winter in cold areas.  I'd want to see a house twice even if the first time I saw it it was merely raining and cloudy, just to make sure it wasn't depressing all the time.  I really can't get a sense of house nice a house can be if I'm seeing it in the middle of the winter, and I might put in a lower offer because of that.  In contrast, if I'm viewing it on a sunny summer day, I'm not thinking about how terrible it might look when all the landscaping is dead and there is  two feet of snow on the ground.
  • September 10 2011
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