When Is the Right Time to Sell Your Home?

Homeowners have plenty of work to do before declaring themselves ready to sell their residences. But, when is the right time to do so? Leigh Marcus at Marcus Realty Team and @properties says the best time is when prospective sellers are stocked with the tools, team and resources to list their homes.

Selling your home can be downright scary.

It’s one thing we all can relate to: we often pretend to know what we’re doing, when in actuality we might not. The same goes for preparing to list your property on the open market. But, selling your residence cannot be just another quick, off-the-cuff decision you make while browsing Netflix. It requires you to do (and finish) your homework. Every home, neighborhood and market is different.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who’s preparing to list your home without life’s hard knocks forcing you to, there are some questions you need to know the answers to. This is where Leigh Marcus, of the Marcus Realty Team and @properties, comes in and offers some sage advice to those pondering whether or not they’re equipped to begin the long, tedious process after staking that “For Sale” sign in the front yard.

What kinds of questions should homeowners ask themselves when they're considering selling their home?

Marcus says there are three basic questions that prospective home sellers need to know the answers to:

  • What changes can I make to the home to get the highest return on my investment?
  • What is my ideal closing date?
  • When do I need to list the home in order to sell by that date?

It can be costly to sell a home, or at least spruce it up in an effort to make it the most attractive in an inundated market. Sometimes, in order to get the highest return on investment, it requires homeowners to spend their money updating bathrooms, kitchens and countertops or applying a fresh coat of paint in order to separate their properties from the other house for sale down the street. The amount of elbow grease to be applied is related to the time of year that sellers are preparing to list.

For example, if homeowners are gearing up to list their homes now, it might take a little more money and some rolled-up sleeves to make their properties that much more attractive, considering the spring tends to be the hottest home selling season.

“The market is hottest right after the Super Bowl,” Marcus said. “If you think about it, it’s due to the fact that people want to move in the summer when school’s out. This gives them enough time to prepare the home, put it on the market and close in that span.”

How can homeowners make their properties stand out if they are selling in March and April?

It can take anything from a fresh paint job to a full-on renovation to make your home appeal to a buyer. But, this is where it’s important to lean on real estate agents assisting in the sale of your property.

“Part of your agent’s job to help your listing stand out against the competition,” Marcus said. “We do this by reaching out to the other top agents who have the most motivated buyers and giving sellers the advice on what changes can be made to make it most marketable.”

Marcus recommends painting living rooms neutral colors – like a grey or beige – because research shows buyers tend to be more drawn to the living space itself, rather than the colors on the wall. It’s also vital to take down any personal items, like family photos, so that buyers can envision what the space will look like with their belongings hanging on the wall or on the mantle.

When is the best time to sell a home?

Ask yourself the questions Marcus listed. Can you answer those questions comfortably? Great. Now it’s time to find an agent. Marcus recommends doing your research here because there’s so much information out there today. Find an agent who makes your life a little easier and who knows his or her stuff. The home selling process is overwhelming, so working alongside an expert agent can at least lighten the load.

“Choose an agent who is going to give you the best chance at selling,” Marcus said.

It’s also important to know both yourself and your wallet. When people are looking to move into a new place, they typically want to do it by summer’s end, so list accordingly. If you have the flexibility to list a home in the off season, it might cost you less to renovate, since there will be less competition on the market.

But at the end of the day, there is no single best time of the year to sell. It comes down to selling your home when you’re best prepared to deal with all the tasks and challenges that go along with it.