When is the best time of year to sell my home?

Updated: September 24, 2018

Finding a buyer and getting the best price for your home can depend on when you put it on the market. But what is the best time of year to sell?

House for sale sign

It's all about the timing

When is the best time of year to sell my home? When looking to sell your home, there are several steps you can take in order to make it as desirable as possible. A lick of paint, tidying up the garden, those minor repairs you just never seem to get around to. First impressions matter. This is all common sense, but what about external factors?

The mood of the buyer walking in the door, the weather, market trends… can you predict these elements, and turn them to your advantage? In a nutshell, yes and yes.

The time of year you sell your home can have a real impact on both the price you achieve, and the length of time it takes to sell. Let’s look at each season in turn.

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Spring

Just the word ‘spring’ conjures images of fresh starts and new ventures. And indeed, spring is generally considered a great time to sell. March to June, especially: the weather is better, which makes your house and garden look their brightest, and the warmer days prompt people to come out of hibernation and start viewing properties.

It’s worth noting that if you’re looking to attract young families, you should ideally avoid putting it on the market over Easter. Parents will be more concerned with egg hunts than property hunts in the holidays.

Another thing to consider is that, just like you, other people selling their homes will have identified spring as a good time to do it, so there will be greater competition. Have a nose around online for similar properties to yours that are available in your postcode, and be sure to price realistically to remain competitive. 

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Summer

The weather is rosy, everyone is out and about and in holiday mode. A great time to sell, yes?

No. In reality lots of people are away, and anyone with children is heavily distracted. There are other down sides too: you’ll be up against vendors whose properties didn’t sell in the spring, so have dropped their prices ready for the summer slump.

And there is a slump in August; trends show that sellers routinely accept lower asking prices that month as interest drops off.

You want your property to be newly listed at the right time, as this is when the most interest will flood in (newly listed properties are listed at the top of search results in property portal search results online), so putting yourself out there at a time when fewer people are looking is to be avoided.

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Autumn

Autumn presents a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to selling your home. On the one hand, September can illicit a ‘new start’ for some buyers following the distractions of the summer, and they can begin to property hunt with renewed vigour. 

Having said this , you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who plans to move over Christmas, so the window of interest in the autumn is a little narrow.

October is a good selling month, but be sure to list your property ahead of this (but after the summer), so that it’s not perceived as “sticking” (been on the market too long and therefore undesireable) as interest wanes again towards Christmas.

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Winter

Generally, November to January time works in the favour of the buyer and not the seller.

Online property sites see a huge drop in interest over the festive period as everyone’s focus (and budget) turns to Christmas. If you’re selling a property  marketed at retired buyers, this is a particularly poor time to list it; warmer months are even more critical to this market.

It isn’t all doom and gloom, however. January, a little like September, is a ‘new start’ month in which people are looking to the future, so buying a property could be added to the resolutions list.

February is probably a safer bet than January to get selling however, allowing time for the Christmas and New Year party season to abate and everyone to regain their focus.

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So, in summary…

You really can influence the potential saleability of your property by selling it at the right time of year. The type of property you’re selling can also inform the best time of year to get it listed, depending on how critical the school holidays are to your potential buyers.

Just remember that the longer a property is on the market, the greater the likelihood that potential buyers will assume it is overvalued. If the property isn’t selling, the advisable course of action may be to drop the asking price.

Choosing when to put your property market can have a dramatic impact on both the time it takes to sell and the amount that you ultimately sell it for.
 

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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