One question I am asked all the time from homeowners who are considering putting their house on the market is: When is the best time to list? Many people feel they should wait until the Spring when the grass is green, the flowers are blooming and more people are out looking. I question, are those people out looking because the grass is green and the flowers are blooming and they just enjoy looking? In other words, are they serious buyers or those infamous “Lookey-loos”?
My advice to someone considering selling is to, number one, list when you need to sell. But, number 2, don’t be afraid to list in the winter. In fact, listing in the winter might be to your advantage. If someone is needing to buy a home in the winter months, they will have to choose from what’s available. So if your neighbors all decide to wait until the snow and ice is gone and the temperatures are above freezing, then those buyers looking at that time will have to choose from the homes that are listed. If fewer homes are listed then it’s less competition for your home.
A quick look at the statistics from the Midlands Multiple Listing Service shows the most popular months for listing a home are typically April – July. For 2013, the last year with a full 12-months of numbers available, the busiest month for listing homes was July. During that month, there were 674 Single Family Residential Listings processed on the MLS. The slowest month that year was December, when only 314 listings were processed. As well, the MLS stats show the busiest months for homes sold in 2013 was July, with 489 single family homes sold. The slowest month was February with 208.
Yes, there may be more people looking in the warmer months and more people wanting to move at that time. However, if someone is out there looking at homes when the days are shorter and the temperatures are colder, you can imagine they are pretty serious about wanting to find a new home.
So my advice is keep the snow shovel handy, keep the firewood stocked, put out the welcome mat and beat the competition to the buyers.
In other news, a review of stats from the Midlands MLS from recent years reveals two very interesting developments. The number of homes available for sale on the MLS has steadily dropped since the high in 2008. At any point in time during 2008, there was an average of 2,319 of homes listed for sale on the MLS. Compare that to 2013, when the average number of homes listed for sale was 1,342. It’s not totally clear why there has been such a decline in the number of homes listed for sale. But clearly this has created good news for home sellers and a challenge for home buyers. People looking to buy a home have much fewer options on the MLS than they had just a few years ago. This has often resulted in homes selling faster and for higher prices. That’s the second development. The average sales price of a single family home according to the MLS has steadily increased in recent years. For the year 2008, the average single family home sold for $154,221. In 2013, that number had improved to $163,731.