When Is The Best Time To Sell Your House? Does It Even Matter?

Lockdown #2 update: You can still buy a home, sell your home and move home during the lockdown in England starting on Tuesday 5 January 2021 (unlike the first lockdown in March 2020). But you must follow Covid safety guidance.

Best Time To Sell Your House

Spring, summer, autumn, winterwhen is best time to sell your house?

The property market is traditionally most active in spring, which means the best time to sell a property is during the months of March, April, and May! Especially March.

What do I mean by “best”? Simply, you’re more likely to sell your home the quickest during spring over any other period of the year (because there are more active buyers)!

But does it really matter? And what if you want to sell during the quieter months? Then what, huh?

At a glance: the best and worst time to sell your house!

To make life easy-peasy (cause that’s what we’re all about over here), here’s a nifty visual that nicely shows typical market activity throughout the year. The data is based on historical trends and Rightmove data gathered by The Advisory.

The best and worst time to sell your house diagram

Why is Spring (March, April, May) the best time to sell a house?

The property market is generally most active during spring for a couple of unsurprising reasons:

  • The weather starts to brighten up after a cold winter, which means people are more inclined to leave the comfort of their home
  • People aren’t away for holidays or preparing for the lead up to Christmas

Okay, so when is the worst time to sell a house?

I’m guessing no one is going to drop dead in shock to learn that the property market virtually packs up and dies during December & early January, when the nation is preoccupied preparing to stuff the Christmas turkey and lapse into several food commas.

August, too. Dead as a doornail! People are too busy enjoying the summer holidays.

Avoid these months if impossible!

When in spring is the best time to sell a house? Which day? Which hour?

Stop it.

No, seriously, stop it!

You’re being silly now, just like the people that have dedicated their precious time curating statistical data on the best day(s) of the week and hour(s) of the day to sell particular types of houses. Bless them for curating the data, but where does it stop? I can’t help but feel it generates unnecessary delays and diminishing returns.

When you start breaking down house selling data to such a granular level and rely on it, you can easily start losing your way as you start meddling with circumstantial data that won’t really make any difference to you, as opposed to overarching and reliable trends (which is more likely to serve you better).

Personally, if I had the luxury of selling a house at any point during a calendar year – no matter what type of house – I’d ignore all the nuance statistical data, and I’d market my property during spring (March, April, May).

But I think it’s important to remember that all I’ve shared with you are the traditionally best (quickest) and worst (slowest) times to sell a property, but it’s not a hard-and-fast rule. There are active buyers’ all year round, and every day there’s an opportunity. All it takes is one buyer to achieve a sale.

It’s not spring, but I want to sell fast… what should I do?

In my opinion? Do what you need to do.

If you need to sell today, then you need to sell today. To help you along the way, here’s a guide on how you can sell your property fast! That said, I’d definitely avoid selling in December and January if possible – they’re truly ghastly months to flog bricks ‘n mortar.

If you can wait until peak season, then wisdom would suggest waiting. If you’re forced to sell during a quiet month for circumstantial reasons, then there’s no need to worry!

The most important factor when selling – no matter when – is to maximise exposure in order to attract as many eyeballs onto your property advert as possible. In today’s climate, that typically means working with a reputable local agent and/or getting your property listed onto Rightmove & Zoopla.

Of course, if you’re literally a “desperate-seller” and looking for a rapid cash sale, it’s likely that the marketing and exposure crap matters little, ’cause you might need a ‘We buy any house’ company. As the name implies, they’ll pretty much buy any property in any condition for hard cash, but you’ll be expected to sell cheap (typically between 10% – 20% below market value).

No, that’s certainly not ideal, but it’s definitely the quickest way to sell your house and get cash in your pocket pronto.

The potential consequences of selling at the wrong time year!

While there isn’t any guarantee that taking heed of seasonal trends will result in an efficient sale for you, I still think it’s important to stack the odds in your favour.

Make no mistake, there are potential problems with putting your house on the market during the deadest-of-dead periods of the year, so the last thing I want you to do is walk away thinking that there aren’t advantages and disadvantages to taking a strategic approach to selling your home (because there is)!

  • If your property fails to sell in reasonable time, then it can lose its freshness, which can make buyers’ wonder if there’s anything wrong with the property. Quite commonly, there are questions about the result of any structural surveys that may have been conducted.
  • Buyers’ often order their search results on Rightmove and Zoopla by ‘date added’, so that means the longer your property is on the market for, the further it gets pushed back in the queue, meaning it’s less likely to be seen.
  • Estate agents can become despondent and unmotivated by a stagnant property, so their efforts may stray onto more promising opportunities. After all, they work on commission.

Other factors that can impact the speed of a house sale!

Needless to say, selling a house during the optimal months is only one of several variables that can determine the success (or failure). Perhaps this is common sense, but I’d feel incomplete if I didn’t mention a few of the other variables, just so no one is under the impression that “time” alone will make or break a deal. Be mindful of other contributing factors that can play a significant role:

  • The condition of your local market (i.e. supply and demand, property price booms and busts etc)
  • Sale price
  • Condition of property
  • Presentation of property

My final thoughts…

Sell during spring if you can. Preferably March.

Definitely avoid selling in December or January if possible.

Remember that seasonal trends won’t guarantee faster or slower sales, there are active buyers all year around, and you just need to find one of them.

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