A lot of factors contribute to this seasonal trend, but they don’t apply to every house—or every market.
Deciding to sell your house is a big financial and emotional decision that always has a lot of contributing factors and always results in even more choices you have to make, not least of which being when to sell your home. We buy houses with different expectations of how long they’ll be our home, but no matter whether you’ve lived there 3 years or 30, once you decide it’s time to move on, you want to make sure you do it right, and that includes listing your home at the opportune time.
As a national average, the best time to list your home is during the first half of May, according to Zillow reports. Homes listed during the first two weeks of May sell two weeks faster than average, and for $2,500 more, compared with other times during the year. For example, in Atlanta, Zillow found that houses listed on a Friday between May 1 and May 15 were likely to sell 11.5 days faster than average, and for $2,700 more than they would if listed during other times of year. There are a lot of reasons for this late spring trend, but they don’t apply to everyone—or every market.
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The most obvious reason for late spring and early summer to be the best time to sell a home is that families with kids who are moving want to move during the summer, which means going ahead and buying a new house at the end of the school year. This same trend contributes to houses continuing to sell well throughout the summer, since some families have to make last-minute moves. If your house isn’t a particularly family-friendly home, though (say, a 1-bedroom condo downtown or a starter home not in the greatest school district), and it won’t be marketed as such, this may not be as relevant of a factor for you. But there are other reasons late spring and early summer are great times to sell.
Nicer weather and longer days makes both buying and prepping to sell a house more pleasant (who wants to paint their front door in the middle of January?), so folks tend to plan around that if possible. But again, if seasonal weather isn’t as intense in your region (we’re looking at you, Floridians and south Texans), people may be equally interested in house hunting during fall and winter months in that market as during the spring.
It doesn’t always work out that you can afford to wait to sell your home at a certain time of year. Job changes or financial strains can make you accelerate your timeline. But being on the market at a less popular time isn’t always a bad thing. If your home is one of the best options on the market at the time, a buyer who is as eager to find a home as you are to sell yours might be willing to pay more. There are always exceptions to every rule, but if you have the flexibility and ability to choose when you list your home, all signs are pointing to early May as the golden window for sellers.