New Data Shows When To List Your Home
Ah, springtime. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping – and homes are selling. Are you planning to sell your home, too?
According to new research by Zillow, you should list your home during the first two weeks of May to get the most out of your home sale. On average, homes across the nation that listed between May 1 and May 15 sold six days faster than the typical home and yielded approximately 0.7% more money at sale. At Zillow's current average home value of $226,300, that's an increase of nearly $1,600.
When's the worst time to sell? The winter holidays appear to depress the average sale price. Homes listed during the last two weeks of December sold for $2,500 less (around 1.1%) than the typical home.
Even the day of the week can matter. Homes listed on Saturdays had the largest number of views on Zillow within the first week – 20% more views than homes that listed on Tuesday, the worst day to list.
Your Market May Differ, But Not Much
The optimum listing time stayed surprisingly constant across different geographical areas, clustered in the spring and summer. In 83% of the nation's 35 largest metro areas, the best two-week window for listings was between the last half of March and the first half of June.
The best listing time for the remaining areas was in the first half of July – slightly surprising because those markets were mostly in warm-weather areas (Las Vegas, Dallas, Miami, Tampa, Houston, and Charlotte).
Why would houses sell faster and for more money during these months? Spring seems to represent positive change. Perhaps it's the fresh greenery, or pent-up demand from prospective homebuyers not wanting to search during the winter months.
Zillow doesn't speculate on why spring yields better results, but they do note the surprising consistency – by year as well as geography. The best two-week span for home sales in the previous year was the last two weeks of May.
If you're going to take advantage of a May home sale, begin your preparations now. Start with the exterior of your home, since first impressions make a huge difference.
Make sure your landscaping adds to your curb appeal. Keep your lawn mowed regularly and trim bushes and hedges. Gardens should be weed-free. Plant fresh flowers to add extra color to your yard. Keep gutters clean.
The inside of your home should be clean, organized, and depersonalized as much as possible. Prospective buyers want to envision themselves in the home. The presence of family pictures and personal items distracts from their vision. A new coat of paint, especially in neutral colors, can reinforce your home as a clean blank slate.
Major repairs such as roof repairs or plumbing problems must be dealt with before you list – unless you plan to take a significant discount. Even with today's short supply of homes, buyers probably won't get past leaky roofs, broken windows, or evidence of water damage or mold.
Would remodeling help? Research your local market to determine the average payback. A kitchen makeover, especially with new appliances, generally adds appeal. A 2019 study by Remodeling Magazine found that minor kitchen remodels returned an average of 80.5% of the cost.
Need Any Help?
You can list your own home, but have you done sufficient research on your local market to set a reasonable price? Are you familiar with the listing process? Are you a good negotiator? Do you understand all of the paperwork associated with a home sale? If not, hire a real estate agent to help you through the process.
Research local real estate agents thoroughly to find the best choice. Consider an agent's credentials, experience, and current listings – and choose one that you're comfortable with. Communication in both directions is important to ensure a smooth sale.
You may not have the luxury of picking the optimum time to sell your home – but you can still maximize the value of your home at listing time with proper preparation. From basic maintenance and cleaning to the mechanics of listing, details matter.
Get your home and your finances in tip-top shape before you sell. You'll get the best return on your home and won't feel obligated to consider lowball offers just because you need cash. Make sure you understand your local market so you can recognize a lowball offer when you see one and seek a qualified real estate agent's help if you need it.
Finally, why not list on a Saturday – and in the spring if it's practical? It might not make a difference to get more views in the first week of your listing, but it can't hurt.
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