We utilized HomeLight’s market data from 2021 and years previous to share the best times of year to sell your home. Additionally, we spoke with top real estate agents Gary Lanham from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jason Huerkamp from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Gregg Phillipson from San Diego to get their expert insights on how to plan for your home sale.

The best time to sell a house in your market

Although June and July are the best times to sell nationwide, they might not be the best times of year to sell in your particular market. Every city is different, and the best times of year to sell can change over time.

For example, Huerkamp sees most of the Twin Cities’ sales in the spring and early summer, when the snow has finally melted in Minnesota. Most people don’t want to sell or buy during the winter months, he says, to avoid moving during the icy season.

“Ultimately, if you’re looking to get the most money for your sale in any traditional market, when your home is going to look the best and is going to be when your curb appeal is really good,” Huerkamp comments. “And in Minnesota our curb appeal doesn’t really look awesome until maybe mid-May.”

Huerkamp shares that the second quarter is also popular with families, as they don’t want to move their children during a school year. That mentality transfers to other areas of the market, as well, such as Florida, where families still tend to sell in the spring and summer, according to Lanham.

Lanham shares that the best time to sell condos and vacation homes to out-of-towners is from Thanksgiving to Easter or Passover, since it’s still warm in Florida but cold in other places.

“People are in town, they come from New York, they come from Canada, they come from Boston, they come from California and they flood our beach areas,” Lanham comments. “So there’s nothing like having a lot of people here so that we can try to command the best price for the sellers.”

In other areas, seasonality doesn’t play as big of a role.

“I definitely think [seasonality] matters in other areas. I think San Diego’s a unique market where you can wear shorts and flip flops most of the year. It’s different. People don’t mind going out in all seasons,” says Phillipson.

The following table shows the best time to sell in twenty different American cities, as well as the premium the average seller realizes when they sell in their area’s peak month:

City Best Month To Sell % Above Average Sale Price 2021
Anchorage, AK July 5.36%
Atlanta, GA June 5.36%
Austin, TX December 7.33%
Boston, MA June 2.39%
Burlington, VT December 9.21%
Chicago, IL June 5.26%
Detroit, MI October 8.94%
Los Angeles, CA June 2.37%
Louisville, KY July 8.42%
Madison, WI June 4.36%
Miami, FL April 4.59%
Minneapolis, MN September 7.34%
Nashville, TN October 7.39%
New York, NY September 10.45%
Orlando, FL November 4.13%
Phoenix, AZ November 5.73%
Portland, OR July 4.29%
Rochester, NY August 7.77%
Seattle, WA July 2.86%
Tulsa, OK June 6.33%
Washington, DC May 4.31%

How much difference can a well-timed sale make?

Even if you know there are times that are better to sell than others, you might be wondering how much of a difference all this makes. Turns out, it can make a lot.

“A well-timed sale really can benefit you by upwards of ten percent in the marketplace. That traditional market where the spring market was the best time to list, it really probably is the better part of ten percent,” said Huerkamp, referring to his market prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, even in 2021, those who sold their homes in March made 12.89% more than the average sale according to HomeLight data. So although the seller’s market might make timing less important overall, some trends still hold true.

If you want to get a sense of what your home might be worth before you list it for sale, use HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator. Our tool uses your home’s size, age, location, and other features and leverages trusted data sources of your local real estate market to generate an estimate. For a listing price that aligns with your selling goals, we recommend working with a top agent when selling your house.

Time Your Sale Correctly With a Top Agent

A top real estate agent will help you create a selling strategy that will best align with your goals, whether it’s to maximize your sale price or to sell your house quickly. It takes just two minutes for HomeLight to match clients with the best real estate agents, who will contact you and guide you through the process.

Thursdays are the best day to list

In addition to a best time to sell a house during the year, there’s also a best day to list your house. According to 39.69% of real estate agents surveyed for HomeLight’s Q1 2020 Top Agent Insights Report, Thursdays are the best day to list in order to maximize sale price. By listing on Thursday, you can hold open houses over the weekend, when buyers are most likely to be out and about. In the current seller’s market, buyers are likely to put in offers at the open houses themselves, meaning you’ll have plenty of offers come Monday morning.

“You want to prep the public. You wanna make sure you’ve got all your social media advertising alerting the public that there’s going to be an open house during the weekend,” says Lanham.

Worst times to sell

Just like most cities have a best time to sell a house, many also have a worst time to sell. These can be times where many houses are being listed, meaning you’ll have to compete with other sellers for a good sales price. They can also be times where buyers aren’t looking as much. For some areas, this can be the holiday season when people are more likely to be busy with family or out of town.

For example, Huerkamp shares that activity in the Twin Cities slows down in the winter due to the frigid Minnesota weather. In fact, November saw a 12.45% decrease in sales prices last November in Minneapolis.

Nationally, February is the worst time to sell in terms of sale price, and January is the worst month to sell in terms of speed. To find out the best and worst times in your area, use our tool here.

Anytime that we have a four week window before you’re looking to actually have the house hit the market, that’s how we can make sure that you’re most poised to sell in the least amount of time for the most amount of money.

Time your sale right with a top agent

Working with a top agent who knows the area can help you implement a timing strategy that will meet your needs. An agent can also help you understand the quirks of your town, city, or county, and help you achieve your goals, whether you’re hoping to sell fast or maximize price.

Agents can also help sellers understand what goes into preparing for a home sale, so they’re ready to hit the market at the right time with the house putting its best foot forward.

But before your agent helps you decide when to sell, you have to decide when to contact a real estate agent. Most agents have the same answer: as soon as possible. The more time they have to work with you, the more time they’ll have to prepare your house and meet your goals.

Anytime that we have a four week window before you’re looking to actually have the house hit the market, that’s how we can make sure that you’re most poised to sell in the least amount of time for the most amount of money.

Planning your target sell date

Knowing how much time to budget to get your home ready to list is vital. It can help inform the rest of your timeline, whether that includes moving, buying another property, or renting. Preparations include completing any necessary repairs, staging the house, photographing the house, and actually listing it.

Then, you’ll have time between listing your house, getting offers, and accepting an offer. To find how quickly your house “should” sell, ask your agent about your area’s average days on market. This statistic measures how long houses sit on the market before going under contract, and can change year-to-year and even month-to-month.

Many agents expect the average days houses stay listed to grow as the market balances itself out later this year due to rising interest prices and a slight increase in inventory, according to HomeLight’s 2022 New Year Report.

The average days on market can also help determine if your home is priced correctly.

“​What we typically tell consumers is anytime at your specific price point, if you’re on the market longer than the average days on market for your price point, then you need to do a price reduction of five percent,” Huerkamp says.

Updating your home before listing

You’ll want to leave some time in your sale timeline to make any necessary updates to your home. Both Huerkamp and Lanham share that updates aren’t as important in a seller’s market, where buyers are more willing to fix problems on their own if it means a shot at limited inventory.

“There’s not nearly as much preparation. In fact, the only preparation you should probably make is to make sure that your personal items are off the wall,” Lanham says, “so that people, even in this craziness, can still picture their families or themselves living in this property.”

However, there are some updates that are still recommended to boost your curb appeal and add value, including a fresh coat of paint and fixing any glaring errors. Keep in mind that contractors are busiest in the spring and summer, so you’ll have to account for that when planning your home sale.

Most common repairs

Your real estate agent can help you decide what repairs need to be made before listing. Some faults in your house can come up in an appraisal or inspection and potentially impact your sale. Common repairs include foundation repair, electrical repair, plumbing repair, roof repair, and HVAC replacement.

Filling a crack in a foundation can cost between $800-$1,500 according to the Foundation Repair Network and can take up to a week to complete, not including wait times. Replacing an HVAC system carries an average cost of $7,000, and can take a week to a month depending on what kind of system you’re using.

While many buyers might overlook necessary repairs in a seller’s market, you’ll have to stay on top of minimum loan requirements mandated by the FHA and VA. Buyers with these loan types need an appraisal to meet safety requirements in order to get financing.

Updates for sellers to consider

The most common updates that Huerkamp suggests are a fresh coat of paint, carpet cleaning, and a deep clean of the entire home.

“So, those three things are probably the most popular things that we recommend to sellers,” he says. “Two of them they can do themselves if they really have a good skill set of making sure everything’s totally clean with the deep clean and the paints.”

Painting the interior of a house costs about $1,895 on average, but you could save money by only painting certain rooms, or by doing it yourself. A deep clean usually costs a few hundred dollars when done professionally.

If you want to go for bigger updates, consider replacing outdated fixtures in your kitchen, such as appliances, countertops, or flooring. But make sure to talk to your real estate agent about what updates will get you the best return on investment.

Factors to consider

Ultimately, the timing of your sale has to be right for your individual circumstances. For example, if you have to move for a job relocation or new military placement, the timeline will be out of your control. In these instances, it’s best to sell your house as quickly as possible.

Even if you’re stressed with starting at a new school or moving across the country for a spouse’s new job, find a top real estate agent with HomeLight. An experienced agent can help make the most of your sale, even if you have to get it done quickly.

Header Image Source: (Roman Bozhko / Unsplash)