For many in the United States it seems as though real estate season starts in the spring and ends just as the kids head back to school in the early fall. While many home and property sales take place in the spring and summer, the reality of the real estate market in the United States is that it's all about timing. Whether you're a buyer or a seller of a home or property, there are optimal times throughout the year, but for the most part, the real estate market and when it's 'hot' depends on where you're located and the time of year or season.
Spring and Summer
Real estate inventory fluctuates with each season. For many of us that peruse the market throughout the year, the spring and summer months (for the majority of the country) seem to be when the most properties are available. Spring and summer and even early fall are considered the best times for real estate for buyers as the market will see a wide variety of properties, but it also likely means more competition from other buyers. The reality of this, though, is that if you live in a competitive real estate market, no matter the time of year people will search for real estate and sellers will be able to sell their properties.
One of the main things that drives an influx of real estate in the spring and summer are households with children - parents want and like to move when kids are out of school. If you live in an area where there are a number of families, or where schools are relatively close, spring and summer are great seasons for properties.
Location plays a huge part in the best time to list a property. Areas that are known for their seasonal visitors (think snowbirds) will see more traffic during those seasonal times when people are in town. For example, if you live in a mountain area that sees more visitors in the winter because of snow or winter sports, listing in the winter might be a better way to attract potential buyers than listing in the summer when visitors are limited.
A handy tip for sellers: if you're going to have an open house, the first Sunday of every month is considered the best day to host it. Many listings will hit the market on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning and have a rushed open house the Sunday after. To create intrigue and build momentum for your property, talk with your agent or Realtor to have your listing appear on Monday or Tuesday and follow with an open house the following weekend.
Fall and Winter
Early fall is also a very popular time to list property. Buyers will find a good number of listings hitting the market by those sellers who were not quite ready to list over the summer. If you're a buyer, the winter is also a great time of year for buyers as sellers who are motivated and eager to sell will have no issue listing in the winter and making a deal. Listing in the winter allows sellers to get what they want for their property rather than feel pressured to make quick decisions in the spring or summer when competition is hot.
Real Estate in General
The real estate market in the U.S. will always see motivated sellers and buyers throughout the year. There are times in each season when listings and properties will be more plentiful. But it's important to remember that while there might be more properties in the summer, that doesn't mean the market will be any less competitive. Competition is the name of the game in many U.S. markets; if you're interested in a new home or property, start your search as soon as possible.
Spring and summer will see more properties and greater competition while the late fall and winter will attract more serious sellers and buyers will find less competition overall. If you're looking to buy or sell remember to enjoy yourself, and work with your agent or Realtor so you have the best real estate experience you can have.