When is the best time of the year to buy or sell your home?

…The answer may surprise you!

The best time of year, hands down, is the very beginning of the new year. January 2nd, the phones start ringing and the contracts start rolling in. This has been the pattern for at least the past five or six years in Northern Virginia. February is the absolute BEST month of the year to sell a home. The highest prices and lthe east days on the market.

I will never forget last year cancelling an open house because of an ice storm that was predicted on that Sunday. I did not have time to take it off the websites and I told my clients that if anyone came by, feel free to let them in and show them around. The open was supposed to start at 1 and at 2, I contacted my seller casually to see how things were going. He breathlessly said “I can’t talk, we have had 11 people come to see the house in the first hour!” During an ice storm! Wouldn’t you know that the people that bought the house came during that open. They must have thought if there was that much traffic during an ice storm, it certainly would sell quickly!

I have hypothesized that the reasons for this are:

  1. Much of the inventory that was on in the Fall, has been withdrawn to come back on in the Spring, so inventory levels are low.
  2. Perhaps buyers get cabin fever when they are “home for the holidays” with family and friends and decide that come the New Year, they will look for a bigger home! 😉
  3. A new year always brings “plans” to fruition that have been back burnered during the holidays!

This New Year buying frenzy generally continues through the middle of March when ALL of the Spring inventory seems to begin to come on the market. There may still be alot of buyers out there but there is also alot of inventory and so more choices means more days on the market for sellers!

Things tend to flat line a bit until the middle of May and then the relocations and all of the buyers that want to be in before school begins kit in and June is the next best time to sell a home. This frenzy continues through the end of July and sometimes in August depending on how high inventory levels are.

The fall is the best time to buy but the worst time to list a home. Whatever is leftover from spring is languishing on the market and if they have to sell prices are going down, down, down! This pattern continues until most of the homes that do not need to sell immediately have been withdrawn for the holidays and things pick up a bit after Thanksgiving and through the New Year.

Crazy patterns, but the statistics bear this out in our area.