Common belief has held that the best time to sell a home is in the spring, and the best time to buy is in the fall. Although there is merit to this argument, not everything can be so definitive and concrete. There are so many variables at play that all must be weighed before jumping into the real estate ring.
1. The Best Time to Sell
Spring is most commonly believed to be the best time to sell. It’s the most agreeable weather for showings, most people want to get settled before summer, it’s easiest logistically for moving (who wants to move boxes and furniture through snow?), provides longer days and daylight, avoids the school season and shifting schools mid year for kids, and shows off the landscaping and gardens. However, this is also statistically the time with the most competing sellers on the market. This will affect you most if your home is one of many identical houses in a subdivision. Consider professional staging as a way to make your home stand out if forced to sell in this high-competition season.
2. The Worst Time to Sell
Yes, the holiday season is not the ideal time to sell. People are busy or stressed out and are prioritizing family and holidays rather than home buying or selling. Mid December to mid January is the highest travel season, and thus there are fewer buyers around to view homes. There’s also the perception that you are desperate or need to sell if you are listing your home during this time. Buyers will try to be more aggressive with you as a result.
However, it is a misconception to say that January and February are not ideal months to sell. The Toronto market has shown great sales in these months and these tend to be high transaction periods for my team. There are tons of buyers and activity on the market, and especially if the weather is moderate.
3. Show Off Your Home’s Best Assets
Sell when the features of your home have the most impact. If you have a pool with beautiful stone work or tiling, be sure to sell your home in appropriate weather. Buyers will love your pool when they are viewing on a hot day or be dazzled by pool lights at night versus a pool cover with piles of leaves or melted snow in the winter.
If you have tons of windows and skylights, show your home when the sun is shining and you can have the longest showing days (spring and summer).
If you have a small bungalow, but an amazing landscaped garden, show when your garden is in full bloom. Buyers may be swayed by the sight of your garden and overlook other shortcomings.
If you don't have central air, and you like your house hot and use lots of standing fans, sell your home in the fall or early spring when the weather is more moderate and appealing to the general masses. You can have the windows open for fresh air and avoid the clutter and noise of fans.
If you have a showpiece fireplace, have it burning for late fall and winter viewings. Buyers will want to make some cocoa and curl up in your living room.
4. The First Weeks of Summer—Take Caution
Cocktails, patios, and cottages, in no particular order or combination, are the holy trinity for Torontonians once the weather shifts into summer. After being cooped up all winter and during the wet spring, Toronto becomes obsessed with the outdoors and socializing. Good luck tearing potential buyers away from their summer holidays to come view your home during early summer. You will have a lot less action on your listing during this time.
5. Condos and Lofts
Typically, condos and lofts have a longer sales period as freehold homes, given that the buyers are typically first-time home buyers, or do not have kids. The buyers are not restricted by school seasons and landscaping issues, and moving is less impeded by weather, as they have loading bays and elevators.
You can always sell you home, regardless of the season, but you need to be realistic about the circumstances of your sale. Sometimes life forces your hand, but as long as you are realistic with your expectations and smart about your strategy, you should be able to maximize your value.
Speak to your realtor to advise you about the sellable features of your home, what is sought after in your neighbourhood, and what season will best showcase your home!