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Is Seasonality a Factor When Selling Your Property?

Fall, winter, spring or summer – does it really matter what time of year you sell your property? The answer may surprise you. While homes sell all throughout the year, some months are better than others for attracting home buyers. And selling at the right time of year will allow you to demand a higher price. How Do Seasons Affect Property Sales? Home sales are affected by what people are doing each season and nature itself. When temperatures drop, people put their outdoor activities on hold and choose indoor activities instead. While you can sell your home in the dead of winter, you may want to readjust your strategy if you hope to maximize the salability of your property. The National Association of Realtors says property sales tend to increase in the spring and early summer. Sales start to dip in the fall and winter. But the NAR says that sales are fairly constant throughout the year. In 2014, for example, home sales in November dipped slightly before rising in December and dipping again in January and February. Generally, though, you see the most sales in: * March * May * June * July * August * September * October Sales tend to be highest in August and lowest in March. Why Are Sales Higher in Summer and Lower in Winter? Why is it that more people buy homes in the summer than in the winter? The answer is more obvious than you might think. For starters, the weather is ideal for moving in the summer. The days are warmer and longer, which makes moving easier – albeit a little sweatier. In the winter, the temperatures are cold and the days are much shorter. You’re also faced with the potential for inclement weather in many parts of the country, such as snow and ice, which can make moving downright dangerous. Kids are also off of school in the summer months, which makes this a favorable time to move if the children will be switching schools. Moving in the middle of the year can seriously disrupt the child’s progress and make it more difficult to settle in. People are also spending more time outdoors in the summer, which makes the idea of viewing and touring homes more appealing. Also, the spring and summer months are far removed from the expensive holiday season, which can make moving financially challenging. Many families receive their income tax return in the spring, which may cover the down payment or the closing costs. Choose Your Sale Time Wisely While sales spike in the spring and summer, there are instances where selling in the fall or winter is ideal. In the fall and winter, sales tend to be associated with single people and couples without children. If you have a one or two-bedroom home, you may have no problem selling your home in the fall or winter months. In fact, you may have an easier time selling. Why? In the summer, property sellers face fierce competition. The number of listings spike in April and May at the peak of the selling season. If you have a three-bedroom (or more) home in a family-friendly neighborhood with good schools, fall may be slower and winter may be completely dead. Parents generally don’t want to make their children switch schools in the middle (or the start) of the school year unless absolutely necessary. If you’re hoping for a quick sale and list your property in the winter, you may wind up having to drop the price considerably before you find a serious buyer. While you may face more competition in the spring and summer, you may be able to demand a higher price – especially if inventory is limited in your neighborhood. Pricing Your Home with the Seasons Experts recommend pricing your home according to the time of year you’re selling it. This means you should: * Price competitively in the winter Serious buyers are likely looking to buy because they want to take advantage of lower prices and fewer buyers to compete with. If you must sell in the winter, consider lowering your price slightly to encourage a quick sale. Prices tend to decline when the winter weather gets bad, so lower prices may be the only way to attract serious buyers. Take Property Photos at the Right Time If you know you’re going to list in the winter, take photos in the spring and summer months just before the weather turns cold. The plants are green and the flowers are blooming in the summer months, which will make your property look more attractive to buyers. Take plenty of photos of your home when it’s looking its best in the warm weather months. Keep Your Home Looking Its Best No Matter When You Sell Seasons may affect how quickly a home sells, but if you fail to keep your property looking its best, you’ll have a hard time selling even in the middle of summer. * Keep your yard tidy, especially in the fall. Clear away leaves and brighten up your property with colorful fall plants. * In the winter, clear away all ice and snow from walkways. Make sure the home’s windows are clean for added appeal. * In the summer, really showcase your outdoor areas. Make sure all flowers are watered and well taken care of. Don’t forget to turn on the air conditioning to keep potential buyers cool while they tour the home. * In the spring, plant flowers and get rid of any leftover debris, like leaves, from winter. Add bright colors to your interior, and bring in fresh flowers to liven up your home. Seasonality does affect how quickly a property sells – and for how much. Spring and summer are ideal times to list, although fall and winter can still attract single buyers and couples without kids. Just be sure to price according to the season and be prepared to offer bargain prices in the dead of winter. And when showcasing your home, make sure that it’s always looking its best and change the interior décor to match the season.