While the overall
health of the market has the greatest impact on your sale, the date
you put it on the market can also be important. The real estate
marketing calendar generally has two distinct peaks and valleys
created by ebbs and flows of activity in your local real estate
market. You can use the predictability of these cycles to your advantage.
First peak season: spring
flowers and For Sale signs bloom
on where you live, the longer and stronger of the two annual peak
seasons begins somewhere between late January and early March. If
you're still digging out from under ten feet of snow on March 1st,
your market may take a little longer to heat up.
May is normally the most active selling time for residential real
estate. Families with children want to get their purchase or sale
out of the way by late spring so moving won't disrupt the kids'
schooling for the next academic year. Other people buy or sell early
in the year for tax purposes, or to avoid interference with their
The first peak
season is usually the best time to put your house on the market.
High sale prices result from spirited buyer competition. Because
more buyers are in the market now than at any other time of the
year, your best chance of getting a fast, top-dollar sale is during
the first season.
First valley: summer doldrums
Day usually marks the beginning of the first valley. Sales activity
usually slows during June, July, and August. Buyers, sellers, and
agents often take summer vacations, which reduces the market activity.
Many folks spend their weekends having fun in the sun rather than
looking at houses.
is an okay time to put your property on the market, but not the
best. Houses ordinarily take somewhat longer to sell in the summer
due to a lower level of buyer activity. Unless you have to sell
now (or if property values are declining), wait until the fall to
put your house on the market. You're likely to get a higher price
after people return from vacation.
Second peak season: autumn
leaves and houses of every color
Day usually starts the second peak season. This peak normally rolls
through September, October, and into November. People who sell during
late autumn tend to be strongly motivated. Some bought new homes
in the spring before selling their old ones. Now they're slashing
their asking prices.
Others are calendar-year
taxpayers who sold houses earlier in the year and want to buy their
new home before December 31st so they can pay tax-deductible expenses
(such as the loan origination fee, mortgage interest, and property
taxes) prior to the end of the year to reduce the impact of federal
and state income tax. Either way, these folks are under pressure
are rapidly increasing in your area, wait until activity slows in
mid-November and then buy your next home at a discount price. You
get the best of both worlds -- "sell high and buy low."
Death valley: real estate
activity hibernates until spring
second peak season usually drops dead a week or so before Thanksgiving.
With the exception of a few, mostly desperate, sellers and bargain-hunting
or relocating buyers who stay in the market until the bitter end
of December, residential real estate sales activity ordinarily slows
significantly by mid-November.
This real estate
Death Valley is generally the worst time of year to sell a house.
Even our brilliant pricing techniques may not be able to save you
from getting your financial bones picked clean by bargain-hunting
vultures if you're forced to sell at this time of the year. Don't
put your house on the market during Death Valley days unless you
have absolutely no other alternative.
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