When Is The Best Time To Sell A House?

Erica Clibborn October 24, 2023

Selling a house is a significant decision that impacts not only your financial situation but your emotional well-being, too. Choosing the right moment to make the move can be tricky, especially given that real estate markets can be so volatile. The joy of sealing a beneficial deal can be incomparable, and likewise, the regret of a hasty sale can be deeply unsettling. So when is the perfect moment? The answer depends on a multitude of factors, from market trends to personal needs. However, this guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding to help you make an informed choice.

Factors Affecting the Best Time to Sell

Seasonal Trends

There's a certain rhythm to life, and in many parts of the world, the changing seasons dictate that rhythm. Houses, gardens, and outdoor areas often look their best in spring and early summer. The days are longer, flowers are in bloom, and everything looks a little brighter. It's no wonder that buyers feel more inclined to step out and explore homes during this season.

Economic Indicators

The broader economic climate affects buyer confidence. A booming economy usually sees more people willing to invest in real estate. On the flip side, if the economy is struggling, buyers may be more hesitant, causing you to lower your asking price or wait longer for a sale.

Personal Circumstances

Let’s not forget the impact of your personal situation. If you're relocating for a job or expecting a new member in the family, you may not have the luxury of choosing the ideal time to sell. In such cases, maximizing the appeal of your home and pricing it appropriately becomes even more critical.

Best Months to Sell

When looking at the best months to sell, it's essential to turn to reliable data to inform your decision. According to a decade's worth of data spanning from 2011 to 2021, some months indeed outshine others when it comes to median sales prices, seller premiums, and other important metrics.

Interpreting the Data

From this data, it's clear that May, June, and July are your best months if you're aiming for a higher sales price and a seller's premium. The joy of getting more than you expected for your beloved home is undeniably satisfying, and these months offer the best chance for that extra windfall. On the other hand, the winter months, like January and February, see a dip in both the sales price and the seller premium.

Tips for Selling Outside the Peak Season

If your personal circumstances demand that you sell your house outside of the peak months, don't lose heart. There are several strategies you can employ to make your home attractive to buyers.

Stage Your Home

Use home staging techniques to bring out the best in your property. This could mean anything from a fresh coat of paint to rearranging furniture to showcase the space better.

Price it Right

A competitive pricing strategy can make your home more appealing, even during off-peak months. Work with a real estate agent who understands the local market dynamics to find that perfect price point.

Be Flexible with Showings

Buyers may have limited availability, especially during holiday seasons or school vacations. Being flexible with showings can expose your home to a broader audience, increasing the likelihood of a quicker sale.

Seasons and their impact on selling your house

Making a sale in the autumn

While the real estate market tends to cool down with the weather, it’s not necessarily a bad time to sell a house. Parents who've been hunting all summer might be looking to close the deal before the school year progresses. Less competition can be a gift in disguise, providing a chance to showcase your home's cozy appeal. Don't underestimate the power of a lit fireplace or the scent of cinnamon wafting through the air; these touches can make your home more inviting to potential buyers. And let’s face it, who doesn't love the idea of starting anew as the year winds down?

Unveiling your home in the cold winter months

Winter often gets a bad rap when it comes to home sales. Buyer demand tends to dip, but don’t forget, those who are house hunting in the winter months are often serious buyers. With less inventory in the local housing market, your home might just be the warm sanctuary someone has been searching for. Staging your home with warm lighting and thick blankets can evoke a sense of shelter and warmth, turning winter buyers into excited homeowners.

Listing your property as spring blossoms

Many buyers emerge from winter hibernation ready to make a purchase. The school year is coming to an end, and families are scouting locations to settle before the next academic year. Gardens and outdoor spaces are in tip-top shape, and the extended daylight hours of daylight savings time mean more time for home tours. As the market value of homes often sees a spike during this time, you're likely to get top dollar for your property. It's the moment many homeowners have been waiting for.

Closing deals in the heat of summer

Summer, with its longer days and vacation vibes, is a time when many potential buyers are feeling optimistic. However, selling a house in the summer months can be a bit of a mixed bag. Families are often focused on vacations and day trips rather than committing to a real estate transaction. That said, the market can still be quite active, especially in the early summer, before school starts and the holiday season approaches. Remember to keep your home cool for viewings; a hot, stuffy house can send potential buyers running.

Seizing opportunity in fluctuating market conditions

Offloading your property in a buyer's market

The buyer’s market is a time when it seems like every other house on the block is for sale. Though this period may not be the best time to sell from a seller's standpoint, it doesn't mean you can't make a successful sale. Pricing your home correctly becomes even more crucial in this period, as buyers have the luxury of choice. A savvy real estate agent like Erica can help you attract buyers by setting the perfect asking price that neither undersells your home nor scares potential buyers away.

Initiating a sale in a seller's market

A seller's market is almost like a dream scenario for anyone looking to sell a house. Demand is high, but supply is low. This often leads to bidding wars that could significantly raise your home’s market value. However, don't get too comfortable. Even in a seller's market, overpricing your home could keep buyers at bay, making it crucial to consult with a knowledgeable real estate agent.

Timing it right when mortgage rates drop

When mortgage rates drop, the buyers come out in droves. Low interest rates mean lower monthly payments, so you can expect a surge of potential buyers flocking to the housing market. It could be an excellent time for you to list your home, capitalizing on the increased buyer demand.

When your personal life signals it’s time to sell

Time for a change in lifestyle

Is your nest now empty? Or perhaps a bit too small? Lifestyle changes are often the most emotionally charged reasons to sell your home. The place where you've made so many memories may no longer suit your current needs. This emotional transition can be smoothed over by the comfort that comes with knowing you're making the right move for this new chapter in your life.

All repairs are done and dusted

There's a sense of achievement and readiness when all repairs in your home have been completed. Now's the perfect time to sell, as homes in tip-top shape often attract serious buyers willing to pay higher prices. Plus, who wouldn't love the emotional satisfaction of handing over a well-maintained home to another family?

You’ve achieved financial stability

Being in top financial shape can be liberating. If your finances are well in order—perhaps due to a promotion, inheritance, or wise investments—selling your home could be the next logical step in capitalizing on your good fortune.

In the whirlwind of emotions that accompany selling your house, the right timing can bring you both financial gain and peace of mind. Whether you're waiting for the flowers to bloom or the mortgage rates to drop, your decision should harmonize with both the local housing market and your personal life. By doing so, you open the door to not just a successful sale but also a fulfilling transition to whatever awaits you next in your life’s journey.

About Erica Clibborn

Erica Clibborn is an established agent and Windermere Executive Director who blends 20 years of real estate wisdom with heartfelt assertiveness to assist clients in their real estate pursuits. If you're looking to buy or sell a home or have any questions about the Washington real estate market, contact Erica Clibborn today.

*Header photo courtesy of Erica Clibborn


Erica thrives on living local. When she lived downtown, she contributed to the transformation and expansion of its communities. Her twenty years of experience have earned invaluable connections and her peers’ respect: In 2012, she joined Forum XXII, the invitation-only network for Seattle’s leading agents, and became one of 12 Executive Directors for Windermere’s Premier Properties program.