When is the Right Time to Sell Your Home?

By Allison Metzger

If you are planning to sell your house this year, there are steps you can take now to ensure you reap the highest price and shortest time on the market.  A recent study of the real estate market has determined the best time to sell your house—for the most amount of money—is spring. Although this may not necessarily be ground-breaking news, now sellers and Realtors know exactly what days of the year to list a home.

Allison Metzger
Allison Metzger

According to a Zillow study, nationally, homes sold in late spring (May 1 through May 15), sell around 18.5 days faster, and for 1 percent more, than the average listing.  In the Washington, DC, market, the specific date range that boasts the highest prices and fastest sales are between April 15-April 30. With the average sales price of $475,218 in Loudoun County in 2015, that could mean an average of $4,750 extra in a seller’s pocket­­.

Zillow says local market variations and weather patterns make the buying season more volatile in some parts of the country. The markets with the largest sale differences between the best months and worst months to list are regions with distinct climate changes such as Seattle, Minneapolis and Washington, DC, making it more important for sellers in these regions to carefully consider the time frame of their home sale.

Based on MRIS (Metropolitan Regional Information Systems) data, as of February 2016 and for the eighth consecutive month, inventory in Loudoun County is lower than the same point last year. The 15.5 percent drop-off marks the largest decline since April 2013. This helps make it a seller’s market in the county, leading to more competitive offers, and quicker home sales.

To have your house ready to sell in this peak time frame, consider starting the home sale process now to meet the April 15 deadline. It may take up to 30 days to properly prepare your house for sale.

First, interview two or three qualified Realtors to find a personality that matches your needs and is an expert in your housing type and market area. A Realtor will give you a market analysis and suggested listing price for you home. They will also be able to give you suggestions for staging, renovations or touch-ups necessary to fetch you top dollar for your home.

After you have chosen a Realtor and made any necessary home improvements, professional photos and videos will be taken to market your home. Your home only has one chance to make a first impression on real estate web sites, social media and in brochures. Give yourself enough time to have signs and lockboxes installed.  Scheduling an open house the first weekend it is on the market will allow the bulk of the visitors to take a look without you being inconvenienced throughout the week.

Market conditions can change weekly depending on weather, interest rates and economic conditions both locally and nationally. If your house does not receive an offer within the first two weeks it is on the market, revisit the sales price, property condition and marketing efforts. With a little advanced planning, you can ensure your home sells faster and for more money if you list it between April 15 and April 30.

[Allison Metzger is the founder of Picket Fence Realty LLC. She can be reached at allisonkmetzger@gmail.com or 703-963-0923.]

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