Common folklore is that most real estate home sales occur in the spring and summer. The reality is that homes are sold every month of the year.
I like to look at the numbers and base my decisions on facts.
The facts show that a small percentage of the annual sales actually close each month, ranging from 5-11% of the annual sales in St. Louis occurring each month.
While there are definitely more buyers looking in the spring and summer months, there are also more non-serious buyers and there is more competition. If you price your home correctly, you can sell your home in December…or any other month of the year.
If you are trying to decide when to sell your home, the answer is that there are buyers every month. However, if you also need to buy a new home and you want as many homes to choose from as possible, then selling in spring gives you the most choices for your new home.
Note: Homes sales were artificially inflated in September – November 2009 and April – June 2010 due to federal tax credits that were expiring.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most St. Louis area real estate home sales take about 30-45 days from the time they get an accepted contract until they are closed. The homes that ‘SOLD’ in May usually went under contract in March or April.
If you plan to sell during the spring or summer market, the time to list your home is January through March.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Contract?
This week we had a home that sold in 3 days and another that sold in 6 days. Others in areas with lower demand can take months.
Properties that are priced correctly for the market demand and what they offer will sell. Homes that offer exceptional features and are in great condition for their area sell the fastest. Homes that are aggressively priced to sell also sell quickly. The rest take time.
St. Louis Home Sales (2011):
The list below shows the median number of days between when a home was put on the market and when it got an accepted contract which later closed:
Single Family Homes:
- St. Louis County – 74
- St. Louis City – 73
- St. Charles County – 96
Median days on market based on approximately 15,000 homes that closed in 2011 and were listed by an agent in the MLS system.
Condos and Villas:
- St. Louis County – 132
- St. Louis City – 143
- St. Charles County – 115
Median days on market based on approximately 2,200 condos that closed in 2011 and were listed by an agent in the MLS system.
If you are planning on selling your home and buying another one in the summer, it’s important to consider how long it takes for homes to sell. If you put your house on the market in June and sell in the average time frame, you would be looking at getting an accepted contract in August or September. This contract would then close 4-6 weeks later, meaning your home wouldn’t close until September, October or November. If your plans involve being settled in a new home before school starts, then waiting until June to list your home is simply too late.
If you are trying to sell a condo, the time frames are even longer with most condos taking 4-5 months to sell, plus another 45-60 days to close.
HINT: if you don’t want it to take months for your home to sell, make sure your home is priced no higher than the truly comparable homes in your area rather than taking a couple of months to give it a shot at an unrealistic price.
If you want to take advantage of the biggest rush of buyers who close on homes in May through August (and BUY in March through June!), it’s time to get on the market now.
Of course, if you aren’t ready now, there will be buyers every single month looking for homes. So if you don’t care about moving during school summer break or having the highest amount of inventory available to choose from for your next home, then the BEST TIME TO SELL is when you are ready.