The Best Time to Sell a House

On average, homes sell fastest and at the highest prices in June and July in most areas of the country.
Barbara MarquandSep 24, 2021

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Timing isn't everything when selling a house, but it can make a huge difference in how fast and at what price your home sells.

Here are things to consider when deciding how to time a home sale.

The traditional homebuying season begins in late spring and runs through the summer in most parts of the country. As temperatures rise, listings and sales heat up. That means in most areas you'll face more competition with other home sellers in the summer, but more prospective buyers will be out there shopping.

In typical years, homes generally sell for the highest prices in June and July and the lowest prices in January and February, according to a of market trends in 50 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. The analysis looked at 2015 through 2019 data from Realtor.com.

There are exceptions, though, so it's important to understand your local market. For example, NerdWallet's analysis found that six metro areas bucked the trend of when home prices peaked. Home sale prices were highest in:

Prices saw the steepest rise from the cheapest to the most expensive months in the most populous of the metros analyzed. Sale prices jumped 9% from January to June, on average, nationwide, according to NerdWallet's analysis, but leapt 13%, on average, in the largest metros.

Homes also sell quickest in the summer. NerdWallet found that homes spent an average of 76 days on the market in lowest-priced months, compared with 51 days in the most expensive months.

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Yes, it's . Here are two big reasons why:

Homes sell faster and at higher prices when there are more buyers than homes for sale — known as a seller's market. This is the case across the country right now.

Of the sold in August 2021, 87% were on the market for less than a month, according to the National Association of Realtors. The typical time on the market was just 17 days, unchanged from the previous month and down from 22 days in August 2020, the association said.

The median existing home price was $356,700 in August, 14.9% higher than August 2020.

The downside, though, is you'll be on the other side of the deal if you want to purchase a home to replace the one you're selling. Finding an affordable home to buy is challenging now, due to rising prices and low inventory.

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Low can help make homebuying more affordable. As a seller, that can benefit you in two ways:

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 2.9% in August, according to rates provided to NerdWallet by Zillow.

The market and the time of year aren't the only things to consider when timing the sale of a house. You'll also want to factor in your finances and living situation as well as the condition and value of your current home.

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Your equity is the market value of your home minus the balance on your home loan and any. So if your property’s worth $250,000, and you owe a balance of $200,000, you have $50,000 in equity.

Ideally the property will sell for enough to pay off your mortgage and any related selling costs, and provide some cash to put toward moving and buying another home.

If you have little or no equity, it might be better to wait until your home increases in value, you pay down the mortgage, or both.

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Although ideally it will result in a profit, selling a home costs money:

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If you sell your house for a lot more than what’s owed on the mortgage, you may have plenty of money to pay these expenses from the sale proceeds. But if you think you'll come up short, it might be better to wait and save up before putting the house on the market. And you might also build equity as you pay down your mortgage.

Take a fresh look at your house, and tackle any repair or sprucing-up projects before listing it. A real estate agent may be able to recommend value-adding updates based on what they know about your local market.

Here are some general guidelines:

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Changing life circumstances may signal it's a good time to sell. Expanding your family could prompt the need for more space, or becoming an empty-nester might make a smaller home appealing. Or maybe you want to be closer to friends and family.

If your home and neighborhood no longer fit your needs, the time may be right to sell and find a place that complements your lifestyle and goals.

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