Selling property: what time of year is best?
Do you want the long answer or the short answer? This is the Internet so you would probably prefer the short answer. The answer is – it’s complicated. So here’s the long answer:
There is no perfect time of year to sell. Sure, traditionally spring has always been the busiest season for all sorts of reasons, flowers blooming, the sun shining etc. But this also means that after winter the market slowly tips from that of a seller’s to a buyer’s. More and more properties become available until supply eventually surpasses demand. This turns it into a ‘cold market’ where you have less leverage in the bargaining process. This isn’t always the case but it is a reason to consider other times of year to sell.
Reading the market
As an owner wanting to sell, you have just as much invested in knowing about the local market as buyers do. 2015 was an aggressive market where prices surged upwards and competition and supply was fierce. This meant that this year’s winter had fewer properties on the market but they were still selling very well. In other words, it was a great market for selling.
A little bit of research will tell you a lot about the market – where it has been and where it is going. Try to find out the following through the Internet or discussions with a real estate agent:
- Average house prices compared to previous years
- How long have properties been on the market on average
- Find out the amount of inventory on the market (divide the amount of listings for one month by those that were closed or sold = the amount of inventory). It if exceeds six months of inventory then you could be looking at a cold market
- Compare current listing prices compared to previous sale prices
Choosing a season
There are benefits and drawbacks to all the seasons so if you have the luxury of choosing a season to sell, after you have assessed the market and decided what season shows off your house best, here are a few things to consider for each.
The big one. Use the optimism inherent in spring by suggesting growth and opportunity wherever you can. Choose the best time of day for inspections, based on where the sun best shines through the home. Suggest growth through well-placed indoor plants and use the garden as a feature to attract buyers.
Like winter, summer is an extreme season so temperature control is important. If you have had the time to do so, plants that you have seeded in spring should be at their best in summer and are a great tool for brightening up the home.
Autumn is often a good time of year to sell in Australia because it follows new change in people’s lives. Those with new jobs and those moving interstate are looking during late summer into autumn. Hint at how your home will be for those moving in at this time by suggesting warmth and comfort for the winter coming.
Depending on the positioning of your house, winter may not be an ideal time to showcase its strengths, especially if it is by the coast. But depending on the market and your personal situation, you can still make your home warm and inviting for potential buyers. Homes that face west and get very hot in the summer are ideally suited to showcasing the natural light in winter.
You may be in a position where you have to sell and have no choice about the ‘when’. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how the market is performing. Having a strong knowledge of your local market will give you the upper hand in showing off your home. Local real estate agents can give you great insights into your local market but make sure they give you solid evidence of market trends.
Don’t get pushed into using a real estate agent based on this initial contact. Seek advice from a number of local agents and compare what they tell you about the market. Are there differences? Give your agents information about your home (they should ask this of you first) and see what suggestions they make about when to sell. If you can afford to wait and it is better to wait, do they see you as a long-term client or someone they can quickly push onto the market?