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Home Selling

The Best Time to Sell Your House–Why It Could Be Now

Written by
Lindsey Hood
September 19, 2019

The spring and summer seasons are commonly seen as the best time to sell a house. Sellers are putting their homes on the market and buyers are ready to make a purchase. As for the other seasons? Well, they get a bad wrap.

Although there is some truth to seasonality in the real estate market, it doesn’t mean that listing your house for sale during any other time of the year is a bad idea. Even still, it seems this belief has been drilled into our heads over and over again causing many home sellers to get cold feet.

Once the school year begins, most homeowners feel like they’ve missed their chance. “Buyers aren’t looking anymore”, “My home will just sit on the market”, “I’ll have to accept a lower offer.” This is often what you’ll hear from homeowners who aren’t keen on selling in the fall or winter. But it turns out, there’s a lot more to a successful sale than choosing to list your home during a “busier” time of year. Knowledgeable sellers understand that just because you put your home on the market in the spring or summer, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a quick and easy sale.

So, to set you off on the right foot, we’re here to show you why listing in the fall, or even the winter, might be the right move for you. Now let’s bust some long-held myths about selling in the fall and why now may be the perfect time to put your home on the market.

Myth #1: Spring Is The Best Time To Sell

Let’s get this one cleared up first. It’s common for homeowners to think spring is THE best time to sell a home. You’ll get top dollar, sell your home fast, and everything will go smoothly–why wouldn’t you list in the spring? The problem with this outlook is that (1) just because you list in the spring doesn’t mean your home will sell easily and (2) there are many other factors that contribute to how successful you are in home selling. No matter what time of year you decide to sell, a good REALTOR® should be able to help you navigate the market and reach your selling goals successfully.

The Truth: The best time to sell your home isn’t based on a season. Instead, it’s based on a combination of factors. Before you set out in listing your home, consider these factors to determine if now is the right time to sell:

  • You’re Prepared. If you’ve taken the time to prepare your home and your family for selling, then go for it! Your home should be in great shape and you should also make sure you’re prepared emotionally. Selling the home you’ve lived and grown a family in can be hard, so make sure you’re ready.
  • It’s a Seller’s Market. A seller’s market is when demand exceeds supply. In other words, there are more buyers looking for homes than there are properties for sale. This is when sellers have the upper hand–and just so you know, this doesn’t only happen during spring and summer. In fact, because supply dramatically increases in the spring, this could tip the scale from a seller’s market to a buyer’s. In a seller’s market, you’re more likely to sell faster and get multiple offers at full price (or even higher). So how can you tell it’s a seller’s market? Continue on to myth #3!
  • The Data Says the Time Is Right. Throughout the year, there are certain times when the market experiences an influx of activity. And although spring is often the most popular time to buy a home, rather than write off the idea of listing your home in the fall, instead pay attention to other market indicators. A good indicator to watch is the market’s average “days on market” or DOM. A low DOM indicates the time is right to list.

As you can see in the table below, the average days on market for single-family homes in Austin and Houston stayed fairly consistent during last year’s spring and fall seasons (with some fall months even outperforming spring months!).

Myth #2: Buyers Aren’t Looking For Homes During the Fall

Many sellers believe that buyers simply stop looking for homes after summer ends, but this couldn’t be further from the truth–especially in Texas. Sure, families with school-aged children may put off buying until the end of the school year, but those buyers only make up a fraction of the market. There are still plenty of buyers left from the summer season that are still on the hunt for a house and as new listings begin to slow, this could give you the upper hand.

The Truth: Savvy buyers are always looking for homes. Plus, the Texas economy isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, it’s continuing to grow at a record rate–bringing more jobs to the area and more people looking for housing. The Texas Workforce Commission shows Texas maintaining a record low unemployment rate of 3.4%, citing a strong economy, employer growth, and thriving industry–all leading to a rise in population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 3 of the 10 fastest growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. are located in Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin metros. So while the seasons may be changing, the demand for housing hasn’t.

Myth #3: Your Home Will Sell For Less Money

Home sellers are often reluctant to list their homes in the fall because they’re worried they’ll be forced to accept lower offers, when in reality, the opposite is true. This fear stems from the thought that less buyers are looking for homes–a myth we’ve already busted. But savvy sellers know they can use this knowledge to their advantage.

The Truth: Because many sellers believe these myths to be reality, fewer people list their homes during the fall and winter seasons–which means less supply. Less supply means less competition since there are fewer homes for buyers to choose from. When demand for housing remains strong (as we’ve seen its forecasted to do) and there are less homes on the market, those who do list have the upper hand. Increased demand plus decreased supply equals higher prices.

In the table below, you’ll see that new single-family home listings decreased in the fall months of 2018 which means there is in fact less inventory available and less competition to compete with.

Myth #4: Homes Sit On The Market Longer

One of the top reasons sellers choose to wait until spring to list their house is because they’re afraid their home won’t sell in the fall, accumulating unwanted days on market that may scare off potential buyers. But the reason why homes don’t sell in the fall or winter isn’t due to seasonality.

The Truth: The real reason homes sit on the market (no matter what the season) usually boils down to three factors: pricing, presentation, or inflexibility. When you see a home sit on the market for an extended period of time, it’s often due to one or more of these reasons:

  • The Home Is Overpriced. Even in a seller’s market, there’s a price limit on every home. It can be tempting to list your home at a higher price when you know supply is low, but pricing your home above market value will only cause you to lose out on potential buyers.
  • The Listing Photos Aren’t Great. In our digital world, having professional photos is essential. If your house photos are subpar, buyers will immediately dismiss your property. You need to make them want to see more, and investing in professional photography is how you do it.
  • The Home Is Outdated. You don’t need to do a complete kitchen renovation, but a little TLC doesn’t hurt. A small change such as updating the bathroom hardware can go a long way. The state of your home should be comparable to other properties in your price range, and that may mean making a few upgrades.
  • The Seller Isn’t Flexible. There’s no doubt about it: selling your home while living in it is challenging and stressful, but restricting the hours when your home can be shown is not the answer. Sellers need to be extremely flexible in order to get their homes in front of the right buyers. And that doesn’t stop once you receive an offer. Sellers should remain nimble throughout the process to keep things moving forward and ensure the deal closes smoothly.

Myth #5: The Housing Market Is Slowing Down

Once the end of August rolls around, many sellers believe the housing market grinds to a halt, when in reality, it’s still going steady. We’ve already touched on this when we busted myth #2, but you may be asking yourself, is the 2019 housing market as a whole on the descent? Fortunately, with low mortgage rates and a strong labor market poised for the rest of 2019, the fall market is forecasted to remain healthy.

The Truth: The 2019 housing market isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. This can be attributed, in part, to some recent changes that have been made at a national level. In July, the Federal Reserve announced they would be reducing interest rates to a new low in order to sustain the current growth of the U.S. economy, which has helped to stimulate growth even more. In addition to the Fed lowering interest rates, mortgage rates continue to hover at all-time lows. According to Freddie Mac, these low rates along with a growing domestic economy, are expected to accelerate the fall housing market.

There you have it! Turns out the best time to sell your home probably wasn’t when you expected it to be. There’s no straightforward answer. Instead, stay in tune with what’s going on in your local market, find a knowledgeable REALTOR® to work with, and don’t fall victim to the myths surrounding seasonality.

If you’re still hesitant to take the leap and list your home, we’ve got the perfect promotion for you. Our Exclusive Off-Market Listing Package allows you to test the market without accumulating days on market. For a low setup fee, we’ll launch a Coming Soon campaign for your property (professional photos included!) to see what kind of interest active buyers have in your home. Learn more about our Fall Promotional Listing Packages.

About the Author
Lindsey Hood

Lindsey is Jovio’s marketing guru. After studying Economics and Finance at the University of Delaware, she found her true passion in marketing. When she’s not writing about real estate, she enjoys catching up on the latest Netflix series, exploring Austin, and traveling with her husband.

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