Timing Your Listing

Many factors go into a successful sale and timing of the listing is one of the most critical aspects. For the past three years in Houston, the highest dollar value for homes has come in May, June, and July with December being another high dollar month. Consider the following when deciding when to list:

• What is the make-up of your neighborhood? If you live in an area where many homes are occupied by families with school-aged children, you will want to list in the spring when most of those buyers are looking or consider a December list – some families are willing to relocate at the mid-year mark for school.

• Are you listing a townhome or a patio home? These homes serve a wide variety of future homeowners and therefore offer you the greatest flexibility.

• Consider the market. While the spring offers the largest pool of buyers, it also offers the greatest competition. Listing when fewer homes are in inventory can result in a higher sales price, especially for homes in coveted areas or with unique sought-after features.

• Holiday listings sell. Homes decorated for the holidays usually evoke warm memories for homebuyers and who doesn’t appreciate the smell of fresh baked goods that are prevalent that time of year? In addition, psychologically, people are more open to spending.

• Meet the needs of the last minute-buyer. Late July and early August listings can appeal to those buyers who have lost out in spring bidding wars and by overlooking listings through nitpicky critiques. By the end of July, they are starting to recognize the need to move quickly or wait another year if they want to get their children in a home prior to the start of school.

• Watch for fluctuations in the interest rate. I know what you’re thinking – I am listing, not buying. But rising interest rates will limit what your buyer can spend thus effecting resale. If interest rates are looking to climb, list sooner rather than later.

• Election years can mean big payoffs for sellers and buyers. Very little movement is likely in the bond market and so for sellers, selling prior to the results can result in a big win.

• Consider the landscape – the actual one, not just the political one. The dead of winter is just that. Dead. It often means dreary curb appeal and overcast days which means your home looks gloomy – not exactly a great selling feature. This is partly the reason October, January, and February traditionally bring the lowest sales prices. The spring brings blooms and blooming sales.

• A relocation based on a job opportunity doesn’t always appear in the most ideal month. Weigh the long-term benefits of the move vs. the small price sacrifice you may need to make now and price it to sell.

• Finally – you have to be ready to make the move and commit to showings. Do not set yourself up to fail. Take down all your personal effects and mentally separate yourself from the home.