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Timing the Market – When to Sell and When to Buy a Home

When is best time to buy and sell a house? Can you really “time” the housing market? Although 2020 has been an unusual year in terms of the market due to COVID-19

When is best time to buy and sell a house? Can you really “time” the housing market? Although 2020 has been an unusual year in terms of the market due to COVID-19, there are some general trends that you can use to your advantage to sell your home or buy your home when the time is just right.

The Best Time to Buy a Home

The best month to buy a home depends on what’s more important to you: choice or price.

The market is most active in the spring and summer seasons, with the highest number of homes being put up for sale from April to June. That means you’ll have the most selection – and a higher chance of finding a home that ticks all the boxes on your dream home list – if you buy at this time.

The downside of buying a home in spring and summer is that you’re more likely to pay a higher price. However, as the start of the new school year approaches, sellers tend to drop their prices to make a sale, so you might find better deals in August and early September if you can wait a few months.

If you’re more interested in getting a good deal, wait even more. The late fall months and winter months are the best in which to buy a home below the asking price. The tradeoff is that you won’t have as much selection from which to choose.

The Best Time to Sell a Home

When it comes to selling your home, you probably have one main goal: sell it for as much as you can. In that case, putting it on the market in early spring and summer is the best time to sell, as discussed above. Even though you’ll have more competition, you’ll have more potential buyers, including buyers willing to pay top dollar.

April is the single best month for sellers, according to Realtor.com, as homes have 14% more views and sell an average of 6 days quicker. Note that this is an average for homes across the entire country, and in your individual market, the best time to sell may be April plus or minus a month or two.

Still, the overall trend holds that spring to summer is when the real estate market is the hottest. Waiting until winter means less competition from other listings, but you may have to drop your price to get the deal done.

What About the Economy?

So far we’ve looked at the best times to sell or buy during the year. But another very important factor to consider is the economy. Interest rates, unemployment rates, and ease or difficulty of securing financing all contribute to the health of the housing market.

For example, you can see how sales of existing homes have varied over the years, from a high during the housing bubble in 2005 and 2006 down to lows during the Great Recession. The last few years have remained steady. (Note this graph includes projected figures for 2020 and 2021; we’ll have to wait to see COVID-19’s true impact on the market.)

While it’s important to keep this in mind, the state of the economy may ultimately be less important than other factors already discussed. Since buying and selling decisions are often tied to life events – moving for a job, expanding to accommodate a growing family, or downsizing, for example – the reality is that most families looking to buy or sell can wait a matter of months but not a matter of years.

The “Best” Time Is the Time That’s Best for Your Family

When it comes down to it, the best time to buy or sell is what makes sense for you and your family. No matter when you’re listing or looking for a home, working with a knowledgeable real estate agent can help.

My name is Kenton Selvey, and I’m a Realtor in Charleston, helping people buy and sell their dream homes in the beautiful Charleston, South Carolina area. Call me at 843-806-7222 or email me here. Let me know how I can help you with your real estate needs. I look forward to hearing from you.

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