Any property you own is an investment. For most people, this is an investment in security and comfort for their families. But there will come a time that the asset will be primarily valuable for its financial possibilities. Selling it may unlock some incredible opportunities for you and your family.
Yet, there are various elements that can affect the return you’re likely to see on your property. Square footage, condition, and location play a role. Certainly, selling via the multiple listing service (MLS) means you’re not subject to all of Florida’s realtor fees that might cut into your profits. But you should also be aware that even the time of year you choose to sell can be an influential factor.
We’re going to look at what is the worst time of year to sell a house and how you can navigate the challenges related to this.
What’s the worst time of year to sell a house? It is generally accepted that selling a property between October and January isn’t wise. Though, pinning it down to a single month, October tends to sit at the bottom of the pile. Wherever possible, you should aim to put your home on the market in the late spring and early summer months.
This certainly isn’t a hard-and-fast rule by any means. As with any generalization, there are exceptions. Not to mention that any property sale is subject to the whims of the market and the behavior of buyers and sellers alike. As a result, the best and worst times of year may well change in the near future.
Rather than simply adhering to the accepted wisdom on the worst time of year to sell a house, it’s better to gain a better understanding of this component of the sales process. Get to know what tends to make a certain season more effective for sellers. Your knowledge here can not only empower you to make calendar-savvy decisions. It can also mean you’re able to identify the most appropriate solutions to the challenges of selling at traditionally difficult times of the year.
There are a range of factors that contribute to what the worst time of year to sell a house is. If you’re selling independently by placing your property on the MLS, it’s important to get to know these. You can then establish whether the elements are likely to apply and incorporate them into your sales plan. Some of the key factors determining the right time to sell include:
Where your property is located can certainly factor into the worst time of year to sell. Some areas of the country and even parts of states will experience different market conditions occasionally. You’ll also find that there are likely to be popular or in-demand properties no matter what time of the year they’re being sold. By the same token, certain neighborhoods are prone to falling in and out of fashion depending on the whims of buyers.
The economic situation is a key influencer of what time of the year is worst for selling. At the most basic level, the end of the year is often difficult because people are traditionally a little more cautious with their finances in order to navigate the holiday season. If the state or the country is experiencing a period of economic hardship, such as a recession, this can also impact whether some times of the year may be prone to poor selling conditions than others.
Understandably, the worst time of year can be influenced by how much or little inventory is available in the local real estate market. Fewer properties being available — particularly for in-demand property types — tends to mean that sellers are able to expect to sell for higher prices. Similarly, if there is a lot of inventory available during the traditionally peak selling season, you may find that you’re not able to achieve quite the same results you might have expected in precious low-inventory years. It is, therefore, important to be mindful of how many properties are for sale no matter what time of year your plan to list.
Believe it or not, climate can make a difference to whether a time of year is good or bad for sales. It’s no coincidence that spring and summer are generally better times for sales. This is because pleasant weather tends to present properties in the best possible landscape. Whereas drab and rainy weather can make buyers somewhat less enthusiastic about a property. Indeed, the tendency for buyers to prefer more pleasant weather to view properties can bring more traffic to your listing, which increases your chances of a better sale. Certainly, most places in Florida are likely to see more pleasant weather in the months before the fall sets in.
Mitigating the Challenges
There will be times when it is not practical for you to wait until after the worst time of year to sell a house. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to resign yourself to a significantly lower profit margin. With the aforementioned contributing factors in mind and some effective planning, you can implement measures to mitigate the issues. Some of the ways to navigate the challenges of the worst time of year to sell a house include:
In tough economic periods, there may be no avoiding the potential for your home to sell for lower prices at the worst time of year. Nevertheless, you can reduce the negative impact this has on your finances by minimizing your costs during the selling process. Using a flat fee MLS service tends to reduce the amount you’ll be paying for realtor fees. This is a significant saving, as the average realtor fee in Florida is 5.4% of the sales price. Utilizing this type of service also means that while you pay a relatively small upfront fee to a broker, you’re able to dictate the maximum commission you’re willing to pay buyer’s agents.
Using social media
One of the key challenges when selling at the worst times of year is attracting potential buyers to your listing. This is because, oftentimes, they’re simply not going out of their way to look for properties until the peak months. As a result, you need to make efforts to highlight the availability of your property. Posting your listing on social media can be effective. By utilizing the relevant hashtags and keywords, you can attract those who may be looking for real estate. Not to mention that it expands your reach to property investors that live outside of your immediate vicinity.
Leveraging images and video
As we’ve previously outlined, selling your property during the fall and winter months can be difficult due to less-than-ideal climate conditions. Therefore, you’ll need to establish ways to present your property at its best. This is where good-quality photos and videos come into play. Wherever possible, start taking your external shots, including drone shots, when the weather is at its best. If you record the exterior portion of your video tour in the spring or summer, you can always edit this together with internal footage you record closer to your intended selling time. The key is to give your potential buyers a sense of what the property looks like at the most attractive times of year, even if they end up visiting or buying at the worst time of year to sell.
In general, the worst time of year to sell a house is considered to be between October and January. This tends to be the same whether you’re selling via the MLS or a traditional realtor. Nevertheless, it’s important to bear in mind what contributes to better or worse times of year to sell. Variances in climate, geography, inventory, and the economy can make a difference. Whether or not you can choose what time of year you’re selling, taking some well-informed steps can help you to mitigate the challenges you face.
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