Friday, November 24, 2006

Don't Wait Until Spring to Sell Your Home

Many homeowners that I've spoken to over the last couple of months have asked if the spring would be a good time to list their home. The prevailing belief seems to be that the real estate market "picks up" in the springtime, and thus, it is the best time to list one's home.

True. And false.

Yes, there is an up tick in activity in the springtime, particularly in the Midwest. Its warmer outside, there's no snow and ice to dodge, and home shoppers are happier to go from home to home, appointment to appointment, and open house to open house. Homeowners know this, and so they wait until the spring to list their home. After all, you don't want your listing to get "stale".

The problem? There's a deep inventory in Chicago now. There are many homeowners waiting until spring to put their home on the market. Unless there's a sudden boom in home purchases, there will be more homes on the market in the spring than there are now. There will be no sudden boom.

Prices are driven by the age-old battle between supply and demand. While the demand for homes may dip in the winter months, the supply will also dip. The ratio between supply and demand will be somewhat preserved. There will always be people buying and selling homes, even on the coldest day of the year. In the springtime, I believe that the combination of homes already on the market, and the new "spring chickens", will impact that balance between supply and demand. Time on market for homes will increase, and prices may hold steady, or even lag a little bit.

Other considerations:
  • When it's nice outside, everyone is looking at open houses and eyeing homes for sale. When it's cold, only serious homebuyers are shopping. Separate the wheat from the chaff!
  • Many corporate transfers occur at the beginning of the calendar year. If you wait for April or May to list, you will miss out.
  • Your home looks nicer during the holiday season, doesn't it? More enticing? More home-like? That's what sells a home - looking like a home.
Don't wait for the influx of spring listings to compete with your place. List now. Sell now, and present potential homebuyers the best value in your price range.