People thinking of selling always want to know, when’s the best time to sell? And the answer is not always what you might think.
We sell the majority of homes in the spring: it represents 40% of listings but 60% of sales. However, while the spring brings out buyers, it also brings out more inventory. And in a slowing market, that means you’re competing with lots of other houses.
September/October is typically busy, too, although not as busy as the spring market. Sometimes there can be a rush of sales towards the end of this period, as buyers try to nail down deals before the holidays.
I don’t recommend listing a house in November or December — it’s too close to Christmas and you’ll take a hit for sure. But there are buyers starting to sniff around in January. And depending on what else is for sale in your area, and how it compares, February or early March can be a great time to be on the market with a new listing. It’s ahead of the rush, and if yours is the only decent house in a desirable area, it can get a lot of activity from buyers. I’ve had multiple offers even in a slow market with homes listed just ahead of the busy spring market by savvy buyers trying to beat the rush.
Some people rush to get a house on the market when the timing isn’t great. Often they have no choice, but sometimes, there are options. They might be better off carrying it for a few months until the market picks up: the costs of the mortgage could be more than made up for by the hit they’d take otherwise. They often feel trapped: they have a new home and can’t carry both.
But they can consider renting their existing home while they move into their dream house, or alternatively, renting out their new home. There are house-sitting arrangements that can be made with visiting academics. And there are often short term tenants who need places for a few months while their own home renos are being done; these are great tenants to consider in this kind of situation. And there are also interest-only lines of credit that can bring carrying costs down for the new home, which can be paid out when the house sells.
Be sure to talk strategies with your realtor. A good realtor won’t push you to sell when the market is struggling; they’ll talk to you about how to time your sale to achieve maximum success. I’m telling most of my clients right now to wait until the New Year: I’ll keep an eye on sales in their neighbourhood and when I think the timing is right, I’ll recommend they pull the trigger.