Sell in Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Pros and Cons to One and All!
Skeptical Seller: Fall is the quietest season. Families aren’t travelling because the kids are in school. Snowbirds are still home; no good reason to be on the market in the fall, right?
Jim Sweat: You are correct; fall is the quietest tourist season. That means there are not as many showings for people who are just in town and bored. It is a great time to be available for serious buyers who want to have time to find, negotiate and close on their new home soon enough to be ready to occupy it during the snowbird tourist season. I currently have several buyers who are planning on finding their new home this fall.
Skeptical Seller: That’s nice, but I know that winter is our peak tourist season. It only makes sense for me to be on the market during the winter and then take it off if it doesn’t sell. 90 days or nothing.
Jim Sweat: Yes, winter is peak Season. You will have the most showings during the winter months because of it. Sometimes showings will be scheduled just because it isn’t a perfect beach day and tourists are curious about the town. A Realtor can be a great tour guide. You also have the most competition during peak Season. There may be more potential buyers, but there are definitely more homes for them to choose from. How are you going to make yours stand out in the most crowded field of the year?
Skeptical Seller: The snowbirds go back north in the spring, and spring breakers aren’t buying houses, so what’s the point of being on the market in the spring?
Jim Sweat: There are a number of sophisticated buyers who purposely wait until Season is over before they make offers on homes. They look while they are here during vacation, then go home and wait until sellers feel desperate. The sellers who think “90 or nothing” may be more flexible when the peak 90 days have passed. You also have some sellers taking homes off the market “after Season” so those buyers have fewer homes to choose from. It may be wise to have yours be one of them.
Skeptical Seller: Okay, I can understand that. However, there can’t be any good reason to be on the market during the dog days of summer when it is hot out and rains almost every afternoon. Who is looking at homes during the worst months of the year?
Jim Sweat: Only the serious buyers look during the off season. It’s not the most pleasant time. They aren’t just here on vacation with nothing else to do. Many of the buyers who are looking during the summer have scheduled trips specifically to find a home. This gives them time to find, buy, and renovate before peak vacation season hits. You also have the least competition. Many sellers take their home off the market during the off season because they feel it is a lost cause. If the serious buyers are looking then, don’t you want them to find yours?
We had similar situations – but reversed seasons – when I was in Michigan. Some sellers didn’t want their home on the market during the winter months. “Just wait until summer when all of the tourists are in town.” My response: Only serious buyers are trudging through three feet of snow to look at houses. Do you want to clean your house for someone who is that serious, or for a never-ending parade of bored looky-loos who are on vacation and may or may not be that serious about actually buying a home?
Remember this: the majority of homes do not sell during their first listing period. The season you list may not be the season you sell. My personal track record is strong, but it defies the averages.
There are more important factors than the time of year. “35 Home Selling Mistakes to Avoid” is an excerpt from the book I am currently writing. Wrong time of year is not one of the 35 reasons.
Bottom line: there are pros and cons to every time of year. You should work with an experienced, full-time, licensed real estate professional that can help you make the most of whatever season fits the timing in your life.