If you’re planning to buy or sell a property, you’re bound to get advice from friends, family or acquaintances on the best time of year to do so.
“Don’t try and sell in winter, the market is too quiet then.”
“You be best waiting until spring selling season to buy.”
While such advice is well-meaning and not completely inaccurate, there are a myriad of factors that come into play for a successful home purchase or sale.
It’s important to look at the bigger picture and consider trends in the market at certain times of year, and how this may aid or hinder you in your mission to buy or sell.
As such, here is a seasonal guide to buying and selling to give you an overview of what generally happens in the real estate market year-round.
There are some major advantages to selling in summer:
- The extra lighting will usually improve the look and feel of a home
- Buyers may have more time for house hunting if they have some time off work over the summer
- The garden generally looks more inviting and well-kept at this time of year
- This is traditionally the time of year when people are relocating for new work opportunities, education or other life changes that typically happen around the new year, so you may have a larger pool of people looking to buy.
On the other hand, there are a few downsides to a summer sale that you’ll need to consider:
- If it’s very hot, this can make inspections unpleasant, especially if your home traps a lot of heat or gets a lot of direct sunlight
- Prospective buyers may be away on summer holidays and you’ll have to allow for public holidays, including Christmas and New Year, which may slow proceedings down a bit
- If you’re buying you may also face this delay and
- Whether you’re buying or selling, you may find this a more stressful time if you’re looking for a home while preparing for Christmas and if you’re relying on selling your home before the new year. You’ll also face a move in the summer heat.
Insider tip: If selling and holding an open house on a hot summer day, make your home pleasant and cool with air conditioning and consider having refreshments on hand for house hunters.
Despite the common belief that spring is the best time to buy, research has found that autumn is actually the busiest time for the property market, based on the number of sales by month and season over the past thirty years.
For both buyers and sellers, this may mean increased competition from other house hunters and sellers, but more options on the table for buyers.
For sellers, this competition may mean a higher selling price.
The weather at this time of year also makes for more pleasant house hunting and moving.
Typically the quietest time of year in the real estate market, Winter can actually bring some good opportunities for both buyers and sellers.
For sellers, there are typically less other properties on the market, meaning less competition from other sellers. If your house is west-facing, it may be a good opportunity to showcase the great winter sunlight your house receives.
However, this time of year can make issues such as mould, leaks, bad lighting and a dying garden more apparent.
For buyers in a quiet market, there may be more room for negotiations and a lower selling price, if there are not many other interested buyers.
Insider tip: When holding open houses in winter, aim to make your home warm and inviting and a place house hunters want to stay for a while and have a proper look around, rather than rush out immediately because it’s so cold. If you’re a buyer, pay particular attention to the potential issues mentioned above such as mould and leaks.
Like clockwork each year as the weather starts to heat up after a long, cold winter, so too does the property market.
As it’s commonly known, Spring selling season provides some great opportunities for buyers.
There are more properties on the market which means more choice and the greater chance of finding your dream home or a suitable investment.
But it does mean more competition from other buyers which may reduce the chance of negotiating a lower price.
If anything, the seller may be able to negotiate a higher sale price for themselves if they have more interested buyers.
While autumn may typically have the most sales, it doesn’t stop home buyers from believing the hype and turning out in droves to spring time open homes.
Sellers should pay particular attention to how they present their properties at this time of year, to make sure it is up to scratch with all the others on the market.
From reviewing these trends, it may seem that certain seasons may provide an advantage or disadvantage for both buyers and sellers.
However, it is important to be aware that the season or time of year will not solely determine a successful purchase or sale.
There are so many other factors to consider including interest rates, location, the state of the property, price, demographics and any repairs required.
However, if you take all of these factors into account it is possible to negotiate a successful purchase or sale all year round, and you shouldn’t let the seasons dictate your movements too much.