When to List Your House in the New Year?


At this time of the year - right before and after the holidays - “When should I list my house in the New Year?” is the question I hear most from sellers. And what that question really means is when is the best time for me to list my house in the New Year when I will maximize the activity of the Spring market and sell my house for the most amount of money. Of course as I always like to say, there is never an answer that is 100% right or wrong in the world of real estate, but there are some trends and behaviors upon which we can draw to come up with a best guess answer. I know that’s a bit frustrating, but there isn’t a real estate crystal ball plus we don’t know how the market is faring until we’re actually right in the middle of it. That being said, here are some things to consider about the best timing for listing your house in the New Year to try to maximize the Spring market activity and get the best price for your house.

Market Trends to Consider

  • We know that the height of the Spring market for Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns generally runs from the end of February after school vacation week through Memorial Day - and often into the first few weeks of June.

  • During this 3+ month timeframe, buyer demand is theoretically at its zenith but so are competitive listings. That being said, many sellers don’t get their homes on the market until mid-end of March into April when they’ve finally finished preparing their homes for the market; this process often takes much longer than anticipated.

  • There are definitely less competitive listings on the market in January and early-mid February, which can give your home an advantage in the market all things considered*.

Buyer Behaviors

  • Buyer demand can be strong at the start of a New Year when there is still pent-up demand from those who didn’t buy in the prior Fall market. These buyers will hit the ground running and will be ready to act when they see the right home. But others will want to wait “to see what else comes on the market.”

  • External factors, such as upticks in the interest rates, volatility in the stock market, a downturn in consumer confidence/the economy among other things, can cause buyers to hold back on home buying.

  • Some buyers would rather buy now when they know the state of these external factors rather than wait to buy when these external factors could be better but also could be worse.

  • Weather can also affect home buying behavior. If there are mounds and mounds of snow and ice on the ground, buyers are less interested in going out to tour - and therefore ultimately buy - homes. Not to mention that buyers can’t see the land/yard they are buying when it is covered in snow - another disincentive to buy.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line that I’ve found is that sellers who can list their homes earlier in the Spring market - late January into early February - can often get higher prices for their homes than those who wait. At this time, there are less listings with which to compete, and there are active, serious buyers who want to buy now. These buyers will act regardless of the fact that they don’t have a full inventory from which to choose, and they feel more comfortable buying when they know what the external factors are and the effects therein on their home purchase. Given where we are in January 2019 with some talk of a softening of the market, an uptick in interest rates, the recent volatility of the stock market plus the lack of snow, I believe that listing your home sooner than later this year will behoove you**. Best of luck, and Happy Selling!

What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you ever sold a home in the Spring market? Were you able to list your house earlier or later in the Spring market? What was your experience given the timing? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

*By all things considered, I mean if your property is competitively priced (and not overpriced), if it’s in good condition, and if it’s effectively marketed.

**All this said, if you can’t get your house on the market earlier in the Spring market, don’t despair. Sometimes it’s just not physically possible to get your house ready for sale as soon as you’d like, and there is always a certain amount of buyer demand throughout the Spring market and the rest of the year.