Choosing the optimal time to put your home on the market can feel like navigating a minefield of pros, cons and unforeseen variables. With so much at stake in a house sale, any time of year can present a new set of pitfalls for sellers and prospective buyers alike. With that said, there are definite times of the year where the housing market is more likely to work in your favour, although no season offers a truly perfect time to sell your home. Here’s what each season on the market is likely to bring your way, and what you can do to make the most of each one.
Cold, wet and oppressively grey. Winter is one of the well-known annual slumps for activity on the housing market for a myriad of reasons. Less-than-stellar weather transforms even the most pleasant property into something undesirable, making property viewings a challenge and forcing house prices to plummet. The moving process itself is also far more gruelling in winter, a significant factor for both your buyer and yourself, and with the year just beginning to wrap up, many people aren’t quite ready to think about future plans. Plus, with the stress and demand of Christmas, handling viewings, negotiations and piles of paperwork can prove too much of a workload for one condensed period.
There are a handful of upsides to selling in winter though. As a recognised low-point in the housing market, there’ll be fewer properties competing for the attention of active buyers. With that lack of competition also comes a lack of choice, meaning that more desperate buyers will be less confident in trying to haggle for a lower price.
Contrasting the doldrums of winter, spring is the closest you’ll find to a perfect time to sell a house. With nature springing back to life-leaves appearing on trees and flowers blooming-your home will be looking its best, making the ideal first impression on any prospective buyer and helping you justify higher prices. There’s also no summer holiday lull or Christmas rush to contend with, leaving more time and energy to devote to your property. Additionally, the mild weather makes moving home itself a less daunting notion.
A caveat of selling in spring comes with the sheer amount of competition you stand to face from other sellers. With more choice, buyers will be emboldened to negotiate fiercely, and that’s if they can even be interested in your property in the first place. These factors can significantly affect the speed in which your house will sell in the springtime. If selling fast is a necessity for you, consider turning to a reputable property buyer. Offering a reliable, hassle-free sale without the fees associated with estate agents, residential house buyers can buy your property, for cash, at a timescale that suits you.
While the sun, warmth and colour of summer suggest that, like spring, it’s an optimal time to enter the housing market, the disruption of the summer holidays and kids being home from school, in fact, make it a far less preferable option. Being out of the country obviously presents an obstacle to the house selling process, and even the weeks prior to departure will discourage any potential buyer from progressing a sale. Likewise, if you’re going away for the summer, remotely managing offers from buyers, communication from your estate agent or requests from your solicitor can ruin what would otherwise be a relaxing holiday.
If you’re looking to make the most of the ideal summer weather conditions when selling your home, try to aim for the early period of summer, well before holiday preparations begin in earnest. That way, even if one or both parties do travel abroad, at least significant progress will have been made in the sale and it’ll more easily be picked up upon return.
With no holidays to contend with or major cultural events like Christmas to consider, autumn can be a smart choice for diving into the property market. While late autumn can usher in the harsh conditions of winter, the early season-with orange leaves and bright, crisp weather-makes an attractive and pleasant environment for house viewings. And the more attractive you can make your home to potential buyers, the quicker it will sell and the more it will sell for.
As with summer, it’s best to get things moving earlier in the season rather than later. The longer days, warmer weather and more picturesque sights that characterise early autumn and aid the house selling process won’t be around come late autumn.
Other Factors to Consider
For better or worse, weather conditions aren’t the be-all and end-all for presenting a house. In the same way that a dream home won’t lose its lustre in dreary weather, a shoddy, poorly maintained property won’t sparkle merely because the sun is shining. For this reason, it’s always worthwhile to put in work and keep your home presentable both inside and out. That doesn’t mean spending a fortune on renovations, but a few days spent gardening, tidying and scrubbing will mean more to your potential buyer than even the most stunning weather conditions.
How Much Does it Really Matter?
There’s not much contention in the real estate industry: spring is, in most circumstances, the best month to sell your home. The days are long and warm; nature is flourishing, helping your home look its best; and there are fewer life events interrupting the numerous stages of selling a house. How important is positioning your sale in the optimal season though? Should you let it affect when you enter the housing market?
As with most things, the answer isn’t black and white. While selling at the right time of year can certainly help increase the speed and financial gain of your sale, rushing into the property market before you’re ready-just to meet a general seasonal guideline-is unwise. Ultimately, the best time to enter the property market is when you’re completely ready; time of year should be a secondary consideration. On the other hand, if you’re ready to sell, but just coming to the end of a less lucrative season like winter, it’s advisable to wait until market conditions improve in spring.
No matter the season-whether spring, summer, autumn or winter-it’s crucial to remember that there will always be buyers looking for a high-quality home. Every season has its advantages and disadvantages; the most important thing is that you’re ready to face the housing market.