December 2023

The truth behind the best time to buy or sell a home

In a general sense, the best time to sell your home is in the spring, around April, Footnote 1 and the best time to buy a home is late fall, around October. Footnote 2

Conversely, the worst time to sell your home would be in late fall, and the worst time to buy your home would be in the spring.

But there are several factors that can change those peaks and valleys.

Let’s dig deeper.

What is meant by the best time to buy or sell?

The best time boils down to value. The best time to sell your home is when you’re most likely to get the highest price for it. The best time to buy a home is when you’re most likely to pay the lowest price for it.

Ideal times presuppose four regular seasons

The sell-in-April/buy-in-October adage presumes a geographic region that experiences cold winters, hot summers, and cool springs and falls. In a region where the weather doesn’t change drastically from season to season, other factors will likely determine the best time to buy or sell, such as when kids are out of school or before the holiday season gets going.

Tourist attractions can create a different timeline

In a beach town where the economy revolves around summer rentals, the best time to sell is likely just before summer starts, and the best time to buy is likely just after the rental season ends. In a ski resort town, the same pattern will shift to whenever the beginning and end of the snow seasons take place each year.

Interest rates and market fluctuations play an important role

The April/October concept is not only dependent on geography, but also on the current state of the market.

The optimal time to buy and sell assumes a “normal” market, so to speak. Once you take the market out of the vacuum of the hypothetical and consider the real-world determiners that can greatly influence supply and demand, everything else can be rendered irrelevant.

The pandemic gave us a clear example of this phenomenon, keeping the market in a prolonged state of low supply and high demand, unexpectedly inflating the price of houses.

The point being, when circumstances create a favorable market for you as either buyer or seller, that is now your optimal time to buy or sell, regardless of the time of year. Act quickly to take advantage of those conditions.

Think two months ahead of the optimal times

If you want your home to sell in April, it’s best to put it on the market in February, possibly even late January. If you hope to buy a home by the end of October, start looking in August. This leaves adequate time for the house hunt, negotiation and closing processes to take place.

Even optimal times have their drawbacks

If a good amount of savvy homebuyers are aware that October is one of the best times of year to go house hunting, the competition may be stiff. You’ll have to be very proactive and act quickly, and you may find yourself in a bidding war for your dream home.

The same goes for selling a home in April. You’ll face a lot of competition from other sellers vying to sell their property. Also, pleasant weather may mean a continual stream of home tours, possibly resulting in a flurry of offers to wade through. Lovely weather also leads to a lot of unmotivated buyers looking at your home more as a fun diversion than a serious inquiry.

The optimal time for you

When you buy or sell always boils down to a personal decision. The right time for you may have nothing to do with the theoretical best time to buy or sell. If a new job or family circumstance requires you to move, the best time for you is whatever time of year that happens to be, and you’ll have to make the necessary adjustments to your strategy based on that.

What if I’m buying and selling a home at the same time?

Ideally, the benefits of one half of the buying/selling process will make up for the detriments of the other. For instance, if you sell your home at a time when prices are high, then the higher price you get for the home you’re selling should hopefully offset the higher price you pay for the home you purchase. And selling at a lower price will ideally mean buying at a lower price as well. So, in this case, picking either optimal time will work.

No matter when you buy or sell, you can make it work for you if you take your time, do your homework, and work with a knowledgeable real estate agent you trust.

A note from your lending specialist

Ready to buy and/or sell a home? Let’s talk about your financial options and get the process started today.

1 What’s the Best Time of Year to Sell Your House? ” by Gina Rodrigues. Published March 23, 2023. Accessed August 2023.

2 Best Time to Buy a House in 2023 ” by Natalie Campisi and Josh Patoka. Updated August 4, 2023. Accessed August 2023.

MAP5979022 | 10/2023

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