Anyone who’s ever spent time in the housing market knows there’s a best and worst month to sell a house. Sometimes prospective buyers are careening to get a glimpse of your living room and kitchen, and other times it feels like you can’t even get anyone to make a quick drive-by. It can be tough to know when you should and shouldn’t try to sell.
That’s why we’re here. Bungalo® is upending the traditional way of selling a home by making it easier than ever to complete every step of the process, including getting market value and closing quickly.
First thing’s first, let’s take a look at the many local factors that help determine whether it’s a good (or bad) time to put your house on the market.
- Greener pastures: People are moving all the time. If a city or locality is seeing a population bump (or drop), that can seriously affect the value of the homes in that area. Keep an eye on moving patterns in your region. If lots of people are moving out, it might be a good idea to wait a little while. People do most of their moving in the spring and early summer months, so keep that in mind.
- What goes up, must come down: Get a sense of the state of the real estate market. If it’s a seller’s market (meaning housing prices are sky high) you can expect to get a great house price. A lot of this will depend on what month it is. Keep in mind that the market will eventually come back down, and it might not be as favorable if you wait to sell.
- It’s the economy, silly: There are some annual patterns that make it somewhat predictable to decide when the best month to buy and sell is. But it’s important to remember that everything depends on a healthy local economy. If the economy isn’t doing so great, it might be harder for a prospective buyer to take money out to buy a new home, and that can bring the market down.
- Pay attention to the rates: If a potential buyer needs to take out a loan (which is just about everybody), it’s important to consider mortgage interest rates because that will give you a sense of how many buyers can get credit. The interest rate changes every day and they can fluctuate significantly. For example, interest rates in September 2021 were at a historic 2.3% low, per TIME, but those were exceptional. The rates hovered around 3.2% for much of 2019.
- What’s the government up to?: Back to the economy. A bad economy usually means it’s not a good time to sell a home, but that’s only if the government sits back and doesn’t do anything about it. Sometimes the government will introduce a slew of tax credits, deductions and other incentives to get people to buy. That’s what it did in the wake of the 2008 recession to help jumpstart the crippled housing market.
The best time of year to sell a house tends to be in the warmer months. The cold weather keeps people hunkered inside their homes, and much of the home-buying process is simply undesirable around that time. By the time spring rolls around, sellers and prospective buyers are eager to hit the markets again, and that leads to a flurry of activity in the market.
The flood of buyers on the market means sellers have plenty of hungry takers, so you can feel confident knowing you might be able to sell your home in a shorter span of time. May is traditionally considered the best time of year to sell a home, but that can sometimes fluctuate. Information provided by ATTOM Data and reported by Bankrate suggests that June has been the best month to sell in recent years.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that seasonal house-buying splurges tend to vary across different regions. In the Midwest and Northeast, for example, the busiest months of the year — May, June, July and August — get more house-selling action than in any other region, according to the National Association of Realtors. This probably has a lot to do with the intensity of the winters in those regions, when snow, sleet and freezing temperatures keep people inside for longer, leading to a major swing in the other direction when the weather warms up.
As the year drags on and winter starts to loom again, buyers lose interest in the housing market (or simply put off buying their next home until the following year). As the market dries up, it becomes harder and harder for sellers to get their asking price, and they’re forced to either drop their price or wait out the winter.
Reflecting the seasonal preferences of buyers, the worst months to sell are usually October, November, December and January — with October and December being the worst — according to ATTOM Data. But there’s more to it than just the weather. The fall and winter months are a busy time for many families, especially those with children. Parents sending their kids to school want to be moved and settled into their new home before the school year starts in September, and this is typically when market activity takes a dip.
More than that, November, December and January cover the holiday season, gift-buying and winter vacations, meaning lots of people simply don’t have the time (or the money) to devote to buying a house. It isn’t until after the last holiday turkeys and hams are eaten in January that the market finally starts to pick back up again.
For lots of people, either for family or money reasons, they have no choice but to sell when the going isn’t good. They know that can hurt their chances of getting their asking price, but believe it or not, selling in the winter months might not be as bad as it sounds.
Here are some of the ways selling in the worst months could work in your favor:
- The buyer is more motivated: You won’t have as many prospective buyers coming to take a look at your home, but the ones that do are probably in a similar position to you: They need to buy, and they need to buy now.
- Less competition: There will be fewer homes on the market and that means fewer competitors. Buyers might be scarce, but the ones searching will have fewer options to choose from, and that means they’re more likely to take your offer.
- Dedicated real estate agent: Your realtor won’t have as many clients in the winter months, and that means they can devote more of their time and resources to you.
The housing market changes by the month, and that can cause some serious headaches for sellers and buyers alike. But none of this is a problem if you choose to use Bungalo. Our online marketplace helps make the home-buying process hassle-free and easier than ever. Take a look through new homes, pick your mortgage lender and even submit an offer all right there on our mobile app.
Check out our website to get started.
*This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.