Sellers: Is Spring the Best Season to Sell Your Home?

ZipRealty Advice for Sellers in spring seasonWith spring on its way with all its freshness and optimism, we too shift gears from advice for buyers to advice for sellers. Spring has a somewhat legendary status among sellers as one of the best times of the year to sell. But is it, really, the optimum?

The true best time to sell your house is obvious: you sell when you need to, are ready to, and want to. But some do sellers find spring a better time to list than any other season, evidenced by the fact that nationally, inventory almost always rises in the spring. With thiis in mind then, today ZipRealty kicks off our home sellers’ series by exploring this question: Is spring really the best time to sell a house?

Who’s  Buying?

On the one hand, you might think increased listings would work against the seller, since a flood of homes means buyers have several options and are apt to drive a harder bargain. But statistically, spring brings in more than enough buyers to go around: In the past, data have shown that the largest number of buyers actively search for new homes during the months of April, May and June.

Spring home buying appeals to many people for a variety of reasons, from the aesthetic (as in, homes are more fun to look at with gardens full of flowers and sunlight glimmering through the windows) to the practical. For those who live in severe weather climates: driving around in deep snow ad/or blizzards to house hunt isn’t really practical (or safe!). Practically speaking then, spring beats winter, and in the past, brought out the following buyers:

  • Snowbirds: this group is often older and more established seasoned homebuyers on their second or third home purchase. They are looking for warm escapes from chilly winters, so spring is the time to check out homes in those warmer areas.
  • Professional sports families: spring training can drive up sales in certain areas.
  • Parents: families with school-age kids like to buy homes in the spring and summer, so they can settle their children in neighborhoods before a new school year begins.

New this year, we add the following group:

  • Fence-sitters, finally hopping off the fence: People who waited out the long, dreary winter months riddled with bad news about real estate may have been understandably leery of buying a home. Now, with optimistic reports about home sales and values starting to trickle in, buyer may take the leap, wanting to cash in on the low interest rates and relatively low prices while both are still available.

Price and Location Beat the Season

Still, spring isn’t a panacea for all that plagues home sellers. Location is key: not all parts of the country do as well in the spring as others, so talking with a local Realtor ® who can show you real comparable data from previous years should be part of your decision-making process. Keep in mind that buyers do exist year round.

And no matter how hot the market, no matter what the season, an over-priced home won’t sell. Again, you want an agent who can offer full MLS data sheets for sales in your community (both prior months and prior years) so you can carefully review each sold property to determine what’s comparable to your own home. Because ultimately, its buyers—what they want, where they want it, and what they’re willing to pay for it-- who determine if spring will really be the best season for sellers.