Wait, what? Everyone knows that you should list your home for sale in the spring or summer.

That’s when the most buyers are looking. Savvy sellers may even know that the seasonal cycle of home values peaks in the spring. A fall listing? All the conventional wisdom says spring or summer is when you list; everyone knows that.

Oh contraire, friends. Rules are made to be broken.

Have I ever told you about the time I listed my own home for sale on November 21st? And it was under contract with an amazing offer by the end of the month? No? Well, I did and it was. You may say to yourself, but that’s just because you’re a Realtor who knows all the tricks. You might be right, but the timing of my listing was no accident and its quick sale was no fluke.

So when it seems like all the cards are stacked against a fall or winter home sale – fewer buyers, depressed market activity, lower average sale prices – what is the benefit? How is success possible? I’ll tell you. There are fewer buyers on the market – but there are even fewer new listings. So that means that if you can make sure your home is move-in ready, well presented, and effectively marketed, then those hungry buyers will pounce on your listing like children tearing into Halloween candy after an evening of trick-or-treating.

Figure 1: Average Seasonal Value Adjustment
Figure 1: Average Seasonal Value Adjustment

Well that’s great Steve, but what about the fact that in autumn home values are cycling downward toward their lowest yearly mark? (figure 1) That’s a simple answer too. There are more to those statistics than may be apparent at face value. Sure when it comes to the likely sale price of stale, undesirable or poorly presented listings that were on market during peak season and didn’t get scooped up then – those prices are often falling faster than congressional approval ratings. But a desirable home is still desirable regardless of the season. Potentially more enticing in the fall because of the lack of suitable competing listings; so you’re still likely to be able to get top dollar when you sell if you’re careful to get all your ducks in a row before coming to market. And that’s where the other benefit comes in.

If you’re selling so that you can buy another home, that home you’re buying may not be new to market – one of those stale listings with a plummeting likely sale price. If that’s the case they’ve probably already reduced the price a time or two and may be open to offers that would have seemed too low during those peak months. And that means you may be in for a deal.

But before you get too excited, listing during the fall is not some magic formula by itself. It takes an extra degree of intention to point you on the path toward success. You have to make sure everything is completely dialed in to ensure your home will have the broadest possible appeal. Your home has to be marketed aggressively so that it reaches that smaller pool of potential buyers. You have to have a great Realtor who can make it happen for you.

And you have to rake the leaves.

About the author

Steve Smith
Senior broker and team leader at Irish Realty, Steve has been a top producing agent since 2005 and has represented clients in transactions totaling well over $130M in career sales. With a broad experience base that is not simply limited to single family homes, coupled with his market leading track record of success, Steve has established himself as one of the South Bend area’s most respected Realtors. You can follow Steve on Facebook and several other social media platforms.

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