The summer buying season got its name for a reason: It is by far the busiest time for real estate sales in the calendar year. However, this fact seems to have also created something of an unfair negative view of other times to both sell and buy properties. In fact, some experts say there are actually benefits to putting a property up for sale over the course of the winter.
Industry data suggests homes put up for sale in winter actually sell more quickly than those in the summer, according to a report from Clark. This outcome is also true when it comes to buyers meeting sellers’ initial asking prices. And while these sales conditions may seem counterintuitive to some homeowners, it’s important to remember one thing: More people put their homes up for sale in the summer, so there’s more competition on both the buying and selling sides of the market.
Why winter is a great time for sellers
While most would-be sellers think it’s wise to put their properties up for sale in, say, May or June, those who do so in January, February, and even March are more likely to find a captive audience of hopeful buyers, the report said. Moreover, because there’s so much competition in the summer and even fall months, homes can sometimes stay on the market for a few extra months.
But those who decide to put their homes on the market in the winter months initially may find that while there are fewer buyers actively looking to make a purchase at that time of year, those who are in the market could be more motivated to get a deal done as well. A smaller market doesn’t necessarily mean one that is less likely to be conducive to making deals, and there can be a significant benefit that comes from listing in winter for those looking to close quickly.
Beneficial for buyers as well
Meanwhile, because of all the people in the market in summer, bidding wars can get heated quickly, resulting in higher sales prices overall, according to new NerdWallet data. That might be good for many sellers, but buyers looking to find a bargain on a home will likely do better to wait out the competition and seek to purchase in fall and winter instead.
“If your circumstances give you the freedom to be able to choose the best time to look to sign a contract on a new home, there’s no question that the market dynamics favor you the most to do that in the dead of winter, ideally in January or February, right before the activity starts to heat up,” Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Realtor.com, told the news source.
With all this in mind, sellers will have to weigh what is more important to them as part of their home sales goals: maximizing their sale prices or getting through the process as quickly as possible. Each objective has its own merits, so how those realities apply to individual owners may vary significantly. Working with a real estate professional can help owners make the decision that works best for them.
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