One of the really common questions that I get is; 'When is the best time of year to list my property?'
The common belief is that the Spring is the best time list. There is some logic behind this, a lot of people want possession in time for the summer (or after the school season ends). There are some other realities, road conditions are generally better and in our area of the Columbia Valley there are more visitors and more traffic in the warmer months. These factors have likely combined to create a belief that "more people are looking in the spring- and that means it's better to list in the spring".
However; here is the reality- there are ALWAYS people looking, all times of the year. They might not all be looking in person, a lot of the viewing of properties is done at home and online- but those that are hunting for property are ALWAYS looking.
Because so many people wait until the spring to look, and because many of the listings sell through the summer and the fall or eventually expire- when you get into the November to January periods there is significantly less listings on the market- there is a lot less for those who are looking- to look at. This can actually frustrate some buyers, and although they are still looking- they may decide to hold off on making a trip in person until the spring comes and until there are more properties to choose from. In this case, the spring being the best time to list can be a bit of a 'self fulfilling prophecy'- more people come out to view properties in the spring because there are more properties to view in the spring.
The other reality of listing in the spring- so is everyone else. Your property might be one of ten or twenty listed that day or fifty or seventy that week. Easy to get lost in that volume. Other times of the year your property might be one of one or two listed that day, or four or five that week.
Here is the real truth- the best time to list your property.... ready for it... is when you are ready (and your property is ready).
There is no advantage to rushing to listing in the spring if you haven't had the chance to finish some little projects and some cleaning you were planning to do (you only get one shot at first impressions). There is no point in waiting to list until the spring if you are ready to go in the middle of winter and there are buyers just waiting for new listings to hit the market.
If you and your property is ready to list- then it is the right time to list. The only time of year where I found attention is diverted, a few weeks before Christmas, but even if listing then, when people start searching for properties again on Boxing-day- you will still be a 'fresh' listing.
What is more important than the time of year you list?
There is one thing that matters more then anything else, whether it is time of year you list, the agent you chose to list with, the photos on your listing, the write up- the most important thing about your listing?
(of course all of these other factors matter too, and even two listings with the same price will have different results depending on marketing efforts).
There is no time of year or secret weapon that will compensate for a listing being over priced. Unfortunately many people want to "test the market" and start high. They lose very important momentum of being a new listing, they do not get as many showings initially as they should. A high price can be as bad of a first impression as a messy/dirty property that needs immediate renovation. It becomes a sign to buyers- ignore this listing for at least six months until they start dropping their price. Unfortunately, a listing that has been on the market for six months or longer and then has a number of price reductions, will often sell for less then it would have had it been more aggressively priced when it was first listed. And this painful process of dropping the price and eventually taking an offer below the reduced asking price, can take a year or longer before the sale actually occurs.
A competent REALTOR® will be able to provide you with accurate market data for recent sales, and strong breakdown of actual sale prices compared to listing prices and updates on market trends and activities. It can be painful to hear that your property will not sell quickly for as much as you were hoping for- but ignoring this advice and listing higher rarely works out well for the seller.
In conclusion, the best time to list is when you and you're property is ready- and price not time of year is the most important consideration when listing.
Interested in getting an honest market assessment for your property? I can help!