The Best Time to Sell a House

How to Time Your Home Listing: Generally, it’s best to list as early as possible on a Friday Prime time for real estate agents to post on Multiple Listing Service is 12:01 am on a Friday On Mondays, people tend to think more about the upcoming work week than buying a home (Mondays are also when federal holidays occur) Weekend-working agents usually take Thursdays off The best time of month to post is the second week (after you’ve made your mortgage payment) Spring is usually considered the best time to list a home

Image by Emilie Dunphy © The Balance 2020

When it comes time to sell a house, many people don't have much choice in the matter. Whether it's relocating for a new job opportunity, to be closer to family, or simply finding a place that better fits your needs, it may be most important to get your house on the market as soon as possible. But if you have a little bit more flexibility in your situation, you may be able to use that to your advantage.

If you have the opportunity to choose, learn some of the tips about the best time to sell your house.

Key Takeaways

  • Many people don't have a choice about when to list their home for sale, but others wonder: When is the best time to list a house?
  • It's not an exact science, but some real estate professionals say May, June, or other summer months are good choices.
  • Even if you can't choose the time of year, the best time to list with the MLS (multiple listing service) or other platforms is early on Friday.
  • These factors all may vary based on your local market, so do some research specific to your area.

The Best Months to Sell

Which month is best to sell your house? There might not be an exact consensus among real estate professionals—Zillow says May, while ATTOM says June, but selling your home in the summer months seems to be a good bet. However, this also may vary greatly, depending on your local market.

Deciding on the Right Time

List your house for sale as early as possible on a Friday for the best results. Potential homebuyers often use the weekend to look at homes, and they'll check online listings from their real estate agents on Fridays to identify homes they'd like to see. Obviously, a desirable home is likely to sell regardless of when it is listed, and a less desirable home may linger on the market even if the sellers do everything perfectly. However, putting a fresh listing in front of potential buyers when they are most likely to be looking can give you an edge.

Posting on MLS

Multiple Listing Service (MLS) works with real estate professionals to create a database of homes available on the market. Real estate agents often send their clients automated emails based on MLS listings on Fridays, so listings that hit MLS before emails go out will be among the most recent. Automatic listings from MLS usually are released when Internet traffic slows in the wee morning hours.

Homebuyers receiving these emails sometimes contact their buyers' agents before even they know about the listings, if they were just posted. When listings hit buyers' computers, they stand out as new and available for showing that day.

Buyers are motivated to check out brand-new listings—in any kind of market—because everyone wants to check out that squeaky-clean and sparkly new home.

For this reason, the best time for agents to post homes on MLS is 12:01 a.m. on a Friday. They even can create the listings ahead of time in a private status that only they can see, and they can schedule it to go live at 12:01 a.m. on a Friday. In addition to showing up as new listings when people wake up on a Friday morning, these will reach those who stay up late on Thursdays.

Other Days

While Fridays offer advantages for when to list homes, it's certainly possible to list homes on other days and still sell them. There tend to be more arguments against listing on other days, however, than there are against listing on Fridays.

The problem with Mondays is that people tend to be more focused on the workweek than on shopping for homes. Moreover, Mondays often are when federal holidays land. The weekend also is not a great time to list your home for sale, because most people like to plan a weekend in advance. Thursdays are a bad idea, because agents who work weekends typically take Thursdays off. That leaves Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which allow buyers to plan for the weekend but don't offer the same benefits as Fridays.

Best Time of the Year

In addition to knowing which day is the best to list a home, it's a good idea to know the best and worst times of the year to list one. For example, you might not want to go on the market just before Christmas if you can help it. It's not that your home definitely won't sell during the holidays, but the pool of potential buyers will be much smaller. That means it might take longer to sell, and you might get less for it than you would during an optimum season.

Springtime is usually considered the best time of year to list a home. The National Association of Realtors designated April 20 and 21 as Nationwide Open House Weekend in 2013.

In some parts of the country where it doesn't snow, February or March might be an excellent time to list your home. Your local real estate agent would be your best source of information about which month inthe spring is best for you, and they can specifically offer tips about selling in spring.

If you miss the spring market, the second-best option is the fall market, right after Labor Day weekend. Contrary to popular belief, most people don't want to move over the summer. It is a time for vacations, family get-togethers, kicking back, or home-improvement projects that are in line with planned fall activities.

Best Time of the Month

In addition to the best day and the best time of year, there is the best time of the month to list a house. From a financial standpoint, it is a week after you've made your mortgage payment, or the second week of the month. With any luck, your home should sell within the next 21 days. After you make the mortgage payment for the following month, that should be the last payment you'll have to make before closing.

If you are moving up and buying a new home to close concurrently, you would be closing escrow at the end of the month. Because of the way interest prorations are handled, you will not have a mortgage payment on your new home for another month. It's almost like getting a free month, even though you are paying interest.