Should You List in January or Wait for the Spring Selling Season?
This is a common question we are asked about from our clients – when should I list my home? Check out this recent article by Zillow. However, many additional factors play into this question. In our listing appointments we are able to talk specifically about your home, the local market, and your help advise you on your listing options. Give us a call and we are happy to meet with you to discuss this decision.
Thousands of homeowners speak to their real estate agent this time of year to consider their sale options – typically for the spring. It takes a few months for the agent and seller to plan and prep to list the home, so starting now makes sense.
Over the years, Ive asked sellers if they would consider listing their home in January, right after the first of the year. At first, they look at me like Im crazy. Who sells a home in the dead of winter? they ask.
As it turns out, many sellers not only successfully make it happen, but actually end up better off. Heres why.
Buyers are out 24/7/365
In the past, buyers waited for spring to start their shopping because thats when the majority of listings hit the market for the spring selling season.
Todays buyers look at listings all day, every day. They have apps on their phone, get listings texted and emailed to them, and dont care about the time of year.
Theyre looking for inventory, and will buy homes well before the spring. List your home in January, and you will have a captive audience.
Bonuses, inheritances and tax implications
Each year, real estate agents phones ring come January. Previously active buyers want to re-engage, and new buyers come out of the woodwork. What causes this yearly phenomenon?
The end of the year often brings family events, financial activities and discussions about gifting for tax implications. Conversations about inheritances and taxes, money and homeownership seem to occur at many families holiday dinners.
Additionally, at years end, people take stock of their incomes, find out about work bonuses, and start thinking about whether they want to spend another year renting. Buyers start to take a second look at the tax implications of homeownership, too.
Whether its a new buyer who moves quickly or a previously active buyer who re-engages, these house hunters are around in January and will look at your home if its for sale.
Wheres the competition?
Typical sellers wait until spring to list. Theres no doubt that visible grass, blooming flowerbeds, and a spotlight on outdoor areas make houses more inviting.
But that also means that there might be two or three similar houses for sale in your neighborhood or school district, in your price range. Thus, it changes the supply-and-demand balance.
Youre better off being the only game in town when its time to sell. The more homes on the market, the more the buyers spread out.
Buyers shopping in January understand that the home wont show as well as it does in the spring and summer months. Many of them dont care. Having photos of your home during these times of year will help them envision it in the warmer seasons.
If youre a flexible seller – meaning that you arent under any time restrictions or time frames to sell, and your home is already in showing condition – consider listing in mid- to late January. You can always control and negotiate your closing deadline with a buyer. If someone falls in love with the home, they may not mind waiting until April to close.
Also, many buyers have been at it for many months (sometimes years). So, come January, they are tired of open houses Sundays and the real estate hunt. This is your target buyer and, in part, theyre why its better to list in January than to wait until spring.