Timing home sales can be as risky as timing the stock market or picking a date and time in a baby pool. There are strategies that support – theoretically – listing a home for sale in almost any month of year. With summer here and kids soon or already out of school, the most active months for home sales are now upon us. Let’s look at strategies that might help you decide when to list your home for sale if you are planning to sell this summer. To cut the list down to manageable size, we’ll look at why you may want to list your home early, midway or late in this year’s selling season.
Before we look at strategies for timing home sales, let’s consider the buyer’s perspective. Our objective is to generate maximum exposure and interest in our home among qualified, ready buyers and our goal is to obtain an offer with terms that meet or beat our acceptance criteria. What can we assume about buyers that will help us pick the right timing strategy?
We know that all real estate buyers and sellers fall into one of these categories: Must, May or Must Not. We’ll concern ourselves with only the Must and May buyers. Must buyers fully intend to purchase a home due to compelling reasons: job relocation, move into a better school district, sale of their current home, etc. May buyers will consider a home purchase only if the right home at the right price becomes available.
A Must buyer will start looking for a home as soon as their need becomes evident. They often have both buying criteria (location, features, price) and a purchase deadline specifically in mind. They start looking for a home early and will continue looking until they buy. A May buyer might look consistently throughout the summer or may only spot check current listings at irregular intervals. Let’s evaluate how each strategy for timing home sales captures both these buyers.
Listing a property early beats the competition to the market. Attracting buyer attention before competing properties appear has two advantages. The first is that Must buyers may want to submit a strong offer quickly, before other buyers arrive to create a competitive bidding situation. The second advantage is that listing early avoids any negative market influences that could develop later in the summer. For example, as other nearby home sales close escrow, they could – potentially – provide comparable market data that drags down the value of other homes in the area.
Putting a home on the market midway through the selling season captures the attention of Must and May buyers alike. If prices are moving up, sellers can take advantage by setting their asking price higher than they might have earlier. If values are trending down, sellers can set a lower listing price to match the market without having to do a price reduction.
Listing a home late in the season is the riskiest selling strategy. Many Must buyers are now out of the market, having already made their purchase. Fewer buyers translates into less competition and potentially lower prices. However, any Must buyers still looking could be in a weaker negotiating position if their purchase deadline is approaching and firm.
The advantages and disadvantages described above are just guidelines. Every real estate market is different and local market conditions are critical when timing home sales and determining asking prices. Conduct a thorough property evaluation and work with a knowledgeable real estate professional to create a plan for selling your home.
Have a great week! Questions about timing home sales or buying and selling real estate in general? Drop me a line: Contact Us.
About Real Living with Broker John™
Each week Real Living with Broker John™ provides innovative tips and information regarding all aspects of owning, buying and selling real estate. John Souerbry is Broker/Owner of Cordon Real Estate, a full service brokerage in California’s San Francisco Bay Area (CA BRE 01370983). Contact John with questions or comments regarding Real Living or real estate in Wine Country, East Bay and Silicon Valley.
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