The conversation between agents and home sellers at this time of year is pretty predicable.

Agents try to explain how there are fewer buyers during the fall and winter, and warn home owners to be prepared for days or weeks or even months between showings.

Some agents even suggest that the sellers take their homes off the market. In St. Louis, once a home has been off the market for over 60 days, the days on market resets to zero.

The strategy is to pull the house off the market sometime in November, and then put it back on the market in January. It goes back on the market with zero days on market and looks like a new property has hit the market…until buyer’s agents check the pricing history and see the truth of when it was really put on the market.

Another question that every agent must tackle is if they should put a new listing on the market during the off-season (October through February) or if they should wait until spring to list the house.

When is the Best Time to Put a Home on the Market?

The answer to this question depends on where you live and the price point of your home.

I’m a number cruncher.

So when we were approached by one of our clients on Friday with this question, I went to the data. I ran several reports to look at how many similar homes sold each month in the last year.

Parkway West homes sales by month 2009-2010

The house I am evaluating is in Chesterfield in the Parkway West High School area. It was listed for $699,900 when it came off the market earlier this year. I looked at the immediate area (2 mile radius while still in the same high school boundary), the entire high school boundary (one of the best in the city) and 2 story floor plans in the high school boundary.

Last year, sales in the area started climbing in February and peaked in May. Since most homes in the St. Louis area close 30-45 days after getting an accepted contract, these homes most likely went under contract in December – March. If our clients waits until spring to put the house on the market, they will have missed out on the busiest months.

Another factor I considered is that homes in the Parkway West High School boundaries sold fairly evenly throughout the year. With home sales ranging from 1-3 sales in 10 of the last 12 months, there really doesn’t seem to be a season when homes are unlikely to sell.

In this case, my recommendation is that we should list the house as soon as they are ready.

I’m not saying that it is always wrong to pull a house off the market for the winter or to wait until spring to list a home. I’m just saying that you need to make this decision based on sales data for similar nearby homes.

If you would like some help evaluating if your house should go on the market in the winter or wait until spring, contact us for a free evaluation. If you are outside of the St. Louis region, we’ll connect you to an agent who understands the importance of evaluating your local sales data before making a decision.