When is the Best Time to Sell My House?
Here in Cincinnati Ohio where I have been selling real estate for the past 25+ years we have a seasonal real estate market. When I was with a large office of over a hundred agents we did a survey for three years running tracking the number of home showings per month and every year the results came out the same. The beginning of the year once the holiday season is past buyers begin to come out and look at houses. The biggest acceleration of showings comes in March.
Every month from January through July we had more showings and then as school begins in August the showings begin to decline each month through the end of the year. People want to be settled into their new home before August 1st when band, football and soccer practice begin. Working backwards that means closing and moving in July or sooner, so identifying their home and signing the contract in June or sooner. The last two months of the year the only buyers are those that really have to move for some reason.
It is a shocker to many sellers that people are out trudging around in the snow looking at homes already, because they usually don’t plan to list their homes until the yards green up and all the flowers are blooming, which doesn’t happen until around Mother’s Day! You can see the disconnect and therefore opportunity for sellers is to list your house early in the year. I think they get cabin fever or their income tax refund checks or maybe just doing their taxes shows them how much money they wasted on rent.
Right now in 2016 I have just seen two examples this week in February of a ranch home with no basement listed for $30,000 more than the owners paid just three years ago get 14 showings the first day it was listed and sell that day and I got five offers on a typical two story in a good school district the first 24 hours it was listed! So if you are thinking of selling this year, now is definitely the time. There is low inventory right now and buyers ready to take advantage of the still low interest rates.
There is a measurement your agent can use to show you how much inventory is out there in your area and price range at any given time and how it compares to the market at any other point in time, say this time last year. It is called absorption rate and is figured by dividing the current inventory of homes for sale in your area and price range by sales per month to show how many months of inventory is out there.
Another factor, especially for “starter homes” (but because of trickle up it does also affect larger more expensive homes) is the fact that in our state, Ohio, every March 1st there is a “Welcome Home” Bond Money program offered to first-time buyers with up to $5,000 of down payment help offered. This is so popular the money is often gone in days, so any homes on the market around March 1st that are good starter homes are likely to find buyers. The program goes through FHA so the home has to pass FHA standards for condition.
Many buyers these days are couples who both work and are well qualified to purchase but do not have the time to deal with updating a home or they are spending all their money on the down payment and do not have extra funds available for such repairs and updates. So there are many more buyers available who will pay top dollar for a home in “move-in” condition. If you are thinking about some repairs, painting, updates you have been putting off you may be well paid for doing these prior to selling. A real estate professional can give you guidance as to which repairs and updates are worth your time and money. For example, FHA will not allow a home to sell with any peeling paint inside or out so if you have any trim paint that is peeling it is worth it to take the time to fix that. Think ahead and begin to prepare your home for sale and you will get a much better price. “Staging” is becoming more popular as it has been proven to get quicker sales and better prices when homes are de-cluttered and show better. Our team offers a free booklet of low or no cost ideas to prepare your home for showing its best.