When thinking about selling your home, usually one of the earliest considerations is WHEN. One of the first seller questions: "When is the best time for me to sell my Home?"
There are several aspects of selling a home that make this a more complicated question than we can answer in a single sentence. The complicating issue is, What's your motivation, home seller? When is it a good time to sell my home... Sellers ask with different goals in mind: are you hoping to sell quickly? or to get top dollar? or both? Here are several types of motivations with a short answer to each:
Home Selling Motivations
“I want to get the home sold quickly.” Then, the short answer is, you want to sell when demand is high. Combine that with a market with low inventory and you end up with a short selling time, or "Days on Market" DOM. The average DOM in Frederick County right now is 46 days, compared to 64 days at this time last year. This is another indication that right now, inventory is low and demand is high.
Similarly, "I need to sell quickly because I have to move for a new job." In this case, you don't want to waste time on the market. The longer your home sits on the market, the longer you are paying a mortgage on a home you don't live in. You may be paying rent, or you may be waiting on the sale of your home to buy another home in your new location. This is a time to heed your real estate agent's advice and price your home to sell...which means at market in most cases. If your home is in good condition and priced well, there is very little reason why it won't sell.
“I want to get top dollar for my home.” Then, you need to not only list your home when demand is high and inventory is low (if that is possible). You also need to make sure your home is in the best condition possible compared to similar homes on the market. (For a more thorough listing strategy, see my post: 5 Keys to Getting Your Home SOLD)
“I need to do a short sale. When is it a good time to sell my home?" If you need to short sell your home, then the strategy for selling is entirely different than for a traditional sale. NOW is the time to list your home in the case of a short sale. In a situation of hardship, time is not on your side. You'll be in a race against the bank(s) to get the home sold, and the process must be carefully executed. (Read more about Short Sales. If you are facing a hardship and you are underwater on your mortgage, Contact Chris for a discreet conversation about your options.)
“I want to get the most for my home, but I’m not in the position to do a lot of work on it.” In this case, you might be on the market for a while, or you might sell quickly. It depends on a lot of factors, like other comparable homes on the market, the selling time in your neighborhood and in your price range. Some neighborhoods and areas are in high demand and this makes a difference. Your home will also need to be priced accordingly. If it is in need of upgrades, then your expectation needs to be that you probably won't get top dollar. You will need a local real estate agent who is knowledgeable in not only in your area, but in the market trends.
"I want to test the market. If I can get the price I want, then I will sell." We hear this sometimes. The best advice I like to give is to consult a local expert agent, or two or three, get a good idea of what your real estate market is doing, whether demand is up or down. Get a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and get their advice on a marketing strategy. If you don't like the answers, it's probably not a good time for you to sell. You may want to wait until the market improves, or you may want to revise your expectations.
Determining Home Value
Remember, home sellers don't determine the value of their home, the market does. A home is worth what buyers are willing to pay in the present market. Getting to that correct evaluation is what a qualified, experienced real estate professional does 365 days a year. Whether it's a buyer's market, seller's market or a transitioning market, an experienced agent is studying the market every day. Read on for more information on determining your home's value.
Seasonal Home Selling Advice
Many sellers decide to choose the time to sell their home that fits with their seasonal life schedule. Families with school aged children, for example, often put their home on the market in spring, so they can have the summer to move, and so that their children can start the new school year off in their new school district, if they move to a different area. Some sellers must schedule around job changes, marriage, retirement, or other major life changes.
In these decisions, it is never a wrong time to put a home on the market at a time that fits with your circumstances. The priority of an easier transition into changing life circumstances is a major motivation that is important to consider during the stressful process of selling and buying a home.
Each season has its challenges and its benefits. Even though we have "traditional" ideas about real estate markets, it's our experience that they don't always hold true.
Choose the Time that Works for YOU
As you can see, the answers to the question of when it's a good time to sell your home are not so simple. Several factors make selling a home more than a simple equation. Consult a local real estate agent who knows the market and the trends in your neighborhood. Consider that selling a home is a process, not an event. Make sure the process fits you and your life.
* * *
Schedule a consultation with Chris Highland for a free Comparative Market Analysis of your home: 301-401-5119.