Is there really a best time of year to sell a house? In reality, waiting for shifts in the real estate market may or may not work in your favor. The best time of year to sell is when you need to sell. Waiting to take advantage of a hot market that may or may not come to fruition is often too large of a risk for those who need to move.

Seasonality affects activity

The real estate market does in fact experience seasonal fluctuation. Homebuying activity tends to pick up in the spring and summer due to nicer weather and an increased number of buyers motivated to move before a new school year begins. On the flip side, holiday shopping and celebrating can put a damper on December home sales. However, there are advantages to putting your home on the market during the fall or winter. Generally, when the market is slow you will have less competition, which may help you sell faster if you find a buyer working under time constraints. Homes are decorated for the holidays which adds appeal and more vacation time available allows for longer house-hunting trips when relocating out of state.

Think about why you are selling

In reality, if you need to sell your home, you should try to do so no matter what the time of year. Few sellers want to go through all the time and effort of putting their house on the market if they are not fully committed to the process, but sometimes the temptation arises to list your house and take advantage of a hot market. There are only three reasons to put your house on the market: you want to sell, you need to sell or you’re curious to see if you can sell. In all of these instances, waiting can result in missed opportunities.

On the flip side: When is the best time to buy?

Buyers may also be wondering when the best time is to look for a new home. Casual home shopping can be done whenever the timing works best for you, but if you are a serious buyer, there is very little to be gained from putting off a home search, especially as Atlanta home values continue to rise, according to Zillow. When any seasonal market slowdown occurs, simple economics (supply vs. demand) tells you that for those who are able to buy, bargains abound. Many investors find their best bargains in the winter months, especially in homes that have been on the market for an extended period of time or those in need of extensive renovations.

Therefore, the question should not be “when is the best time of year to sell a house?” but rather “when is the best time of year for me to sell my house?” Preparing your house to sell and getting ready for showings takes commitment, so in reality the best time to sell is as soon as you’re ready and able.

Image source: Flickr

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