When is the Best Time To Sell A Home (Part Five of Five)

When is the Best time to sell a home? (Part five of five).

If you’ve read parts one though four of our series, you undoubtedly know by now that there are many factors affecting the real estate market.

Understanding your particular area’s local market conditions and fluctuations will assist you in finding the best time for you to sell your home.

In our home town of Belmont for example, just before spring, the winter inventory of homes for sale is typically low; but crescendos through spring into summer. Getting a jump of your competition can be rewarding. This is illustrated in the graph which shows the inventory levels at various times of the year.

If conditions are right for buyers (i.e. job stability, favorable interest rates, etc.), then usually during this time of year demand for housing outstrips supply and there is upward pressure on pricing as buyers attempt to outbid one another for the available inventory.

As winter gives way to spring we begin to see more equilibrium and by June with more homes to choose from the percentage a seller receives for their home is usually less; though the median price remains at the new established highs.

In looking at the graph that represents the list price to sale price correlation, one can see the changes as inventory grows.

Different buyers at different times of the year.

An intangible appears to be the quality of buyers during different periods of the year. From a seller’s perspective, by quality we are referring to how aggressively these buyers bid. In late winter and early spring buyers seem to be more bullish and aggressive in their bidding. Perhaps this is because many of these buyers are ones who were out-bid the year prior and are now more determined to get the home they want. Once these folks have succeeded though, the market is left with the unsuccessful bidders and even the ones who refused to be in a "bidding war". These less aggressive buyers are in the market usually around late spring and early summer when the inventory grows-compounding the differential in this graph representing the percentage a seller receives from the sale of their home.

With Indian summers blessing the Bay Area and Belmont in particular, great weather embraces us late into the fall buoying the house hunting season beyond traditional markets. After Labor Day, once summer vacations are behind and children back in school, the market takes another "bounce" and sales increase as more inventory appears and buyers wishing to make a move before the end of the year are once again more focused. Notice in this graph for San Mateo County how there’s a post summer "bounce" as market activity typically increases at this time of year.

It becomes pretty clear that historically, listing your home in late winter, early spring or fall in the Bay Area will bring you the most market activity. Notice in this graph for the entire San Mateo County that the percentage a seller receives and the median home price is highest usually around June. Remember though-June sales were from homes listed in April and May.

Most sellers do not want to sell their home during the holiday season. The market slow down starts around Thanksgiving and activity wanes thorugh the end of December. This is usually the slowest time of year with few buyers focused on shopping for a home. The sellers who are listing are usually ones who must sell (due to a job transfer in many cases) making this a great time to buy and a poor time to sell.

Even your local weather can have an affect on when is the best time to sell. The Bay Area has rather mild weather but still the stormy month of February might keep buyers indoors. If you are located on the coast for example, you may want to avoid June when the marine layer develops and brings with it cool, cloudy days. In Belmont, view homes show very well at certain times of the year when they air is clear and summers winds are at a minimum. If you have a garden or extensive flowering landscaping that blooms at certain times of the year that too should be taken into consideration.Consulting a specialist will help you weigh all of these factors and determine when is the best time for you to sell.

After all that has been said, it’s important to remember that past performance does not guarantee future results. Meaning that although there is a compelling case to optimally sell your home in the early spring or fall in our area, changing global and national economic conditions could radically change that in any given year.

The best advice other than avoid selling your home if possible during the holidays, is to sell when you decide the time is right for a move. Timing the market perfectly is impossible but managing when to list your home is not. Keep in mind that these statistics and generalizations are not meant to be definitive rules on on market conditions.

For more information on the Bay Area, San Mateo County and the Belmont market contact us for further information specific to your situation.

Disclaimer: This information is for entertainment purposes only and includes no legal, accounting or real estate advice nor is this response in tended to be specific to your situation-consult a specialist for your specific situation.

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