5 Things to Consider When Timing a Home Sale

If you follow the real estate market at all then you’ve likely heard that spring is the best time of year to sell your home. But many experts today will tell you this isn’t always the case. The decision of when to sell is a personal one and it comes down to several different factors

a tree in front of a house: The decision of when to sell is a personal one and it comes down to several different factors

© buzbuzzer, Getty Images/iStockphoto
The decision of when to sell is a personal one and it comes down to several different factors

If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, here are a few timing considerations.


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According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), spring is generally the busiest time for selling a house. The organization found that in 2019, May and June accounted for 40 percent of annual sales volume, with June being the busiest, while November through February were the months with the fewest sales.

This data reflects national trends, but in real estate, everything is local. REALTOR® Carin Whybrew, associate broker with Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood, says in Michigan, spring is definitely a popular time, but not the only time.

“April through July typically draws the highest percentage of sales because the weather is warmer, yards look their best, buyers have more time to shop, it stays lighter longer in the evenings, and it’s prior to the start of a new school year,” she said. “I often have sellers prep the interior of their homes during the winter months, and then work on the exterior in March to get ready for an April listing.”

But even though spring is a busy time, Whybrew says the real estate market doesn’t stop during the rest of the year. In fact, she has some of her biggest volume months in December and January, and has even done deals on Christmas Eve, News Year’s Day, etc.

Local market

Maybe more important than the season is the local trends. Is it a buyer’s market? A seller’s? What is inventory like in your price range? What is happening with home


“Buyer demand, interest rates, the economy, what is going on in the world…these are all variables that are constantly changing,” said Whybrew.

The best way to get a feel for how much your home is worth under current market conditions is to talk with an experienced, local REALTOR®. He/she will put together a comparative market analysis (CMA) that compares your home with properties in your neighborhood that are currently listed, those that recently sold, and those that were taken off the market. Your REALTOR® takes that analysis and adds in other factors — seller needs, interest rates, the current economy, time of year, etc. — to determine a value range.

Your home’s condition

Whybrew says throughout her 28-year career her answer to when to list is always the same…”when you and your home are ready.”

“To get top dollar, your property has to show well, and that may require some time to clean, make repairs, and handle staging,” she said.

Even if there aren’t major repairs needed, small cosmetic changes — a fresh coat of paint, some new cabinet hardware, a thorough decluttering — can make your home significantly more appealing to buyers. 

Your personal situation

Market conditions may be great, and the weather might be perfect, but that doesn’t always mean it’s the right time for you.

“Buying and selling happen year-round because there is always a need for shelter, and that has never been more apparent than today,” said Whybrew. “As REALTORS®, we discuss timing considerations with our clients, but sometimes you have to throw statistics out the window and do what is best for you, when it is best for you.”

A trusted partner

Whybrew says list price and marketing are often more important than time of year and enlisting the help of a REALTOR® is the best way to ensure a successful sale in any season.

“An experienced REALTOR® will factor in all the variables and help you come up with a plan,” she said. “For instance, if you know you need to sell in the winter months, we can take exterior pictures during the warmer season so buyers can see the landscaping.”

REALTORS® have a lot of different marketing strategies up their sleeves, they have access to a large network, and most importantly, they know the local market. Their goal is to sell your home quickly and for the most money possible, regardless of timing.

“If the last couple of months have shown us anything it’s that ‘when’ isn’t the most important consideration,” said Whybrew. “No matter the season or the circumstances it all comes down to what makes the most sense for you.”

Are you interested in selling your home?  Contact a local real estate professional to help navigate through these market conditions. Visit www.lansing-realestate.com for a list of local REALTORS®, lenders, inspectors, and more.

This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: 5 Things to Consider When Timing a Home Sale

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