Real Talk: Spring versus fall selling

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Real Talk: Spring versus fall selling
Mary Ellen Rotondo. (Courtesy photo)
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By Mary Ellen Rotondo

As the real estate market continues to evolve, homeowners and agents are constantly evaluating the best time to sell a property. Two popular seasons for selling a home are spring and fall, each offering unique advantages and disadvantages. Understanding the pros and cons of selling in these seasons can help homeowners make informed decisions when it comes to listing their properties.

The spring market has historically been the busiest time for real estate activity for many reasons:

1. Curb appeal: Spring is known for its blooming flowers, lush greenery and sunny weather, making properties look more attractive to potential buyers.

2. Increased buyer activity: Many families prefer to move during the summer months to avoid disrupting the school year, leading to a surge in home buying activity.

3. Longer days: With longer daylight hours, there’s more time for potential buyers to view properties, leading to increased foot traffic at open houses and showings.

However, as with any decision, there are some challenges or consequences that come with selling during the spring market:

1. Higher competition and market saturation: The spring season often sees an influx of new listings, leading to increased competition among sellers. The abundance of properties on the market can sometimes lead to longer selling times and more negotiation power for buyers.

2. Busy schedules: With end-of-school-year activities and vacations, some potential buyers may have limited availability for home tours and inspections.

While the market activity tends to cool down in the summer, especially between Independence Day and Labor Day holidays, there is generally a lift in market activity in the fall. The fall market picks up in September and goes until the holiday season gets into full swing, in mid-to-late December. Some advantages of selling in the fall include:

1. Serious buyers: Buyers in the fall are often more motivated, as they may be looking to complete a purchase before the holiday season.

2. Less competition: With fewer homes on the market compared to spring, sellers may benefit from less competition and more serious inquiries.

3. Cozy atmosphere: As the weather cools down, homes can exude a cozy and welcoming ambiance, appealing to buyers looking for comfort.

As in the spring, there are cons of selling in the fall.

1. Weather challenges: Inclement weather in some regions may make it difficult to showcase a property’s exterior features, such as landscaping and outdoor amenities.

2. School schedules: Families with children may be hesitant to move during the school year, potentially limiting the pool of potential buyers.

3. Holiday distractions: The holiday season can be a busy time for many people, leading to fewer house-hunting opportunities and distractions for potential buyers.

Ultimately, the decision to sell your home in spring or fall should be based on your individual circumstances, market conditions and the specific features of your property. I always tell clients that the best time to put their houses on the market is when it is best for them and their families.

By carefully considering the pros and cons of each season, you and your agent can strategically time your listing to maximize its chances of a successful sale. When it comes to real estate, timing is everything and understanding the seasonal nuances can make a significant difference in the selling process.

The writer is a Realtor licensed in Washington, D.C. and Virginia.

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