Selling a Home. Buying a Home. What Time's the Best Time?

The simple answer is: The best time to buy or sell a home is when you are financially and emotionally prepared to enter into the biggest transaction most people make in a lifetime. In other words, the “best time” depends on your unique circumstances.

Once you are fully prepared, it is helpful to understand the seasonal trends in residential real estate sales. Even if you live in places with milder climates, the seasons can impact home prices and the inventory of homes for sale.

You’ve probably heard or seen plenty of talk about “the spring Home-Buying Season.” So, is spring the best time to buy or sell a home? Maybe.


Listing a home for sale in winter months may bring you the best price

  • Historically, fewer people have put their homes up for sale in the winter and, subsequently, the inventory of homes to available to buy is smaller.
  • But, when supply is limited, buyers must compete when making offers on a home. This competition usually results in a higher selling price for the home. This, in part, explains the findings in a four-year study done by Redfin, the online realty brokerage.
  • Looking at data from 2010 through 2014, the researchers found that: if a seller wants to receive more than the asking price for their home, listing the home in December, January, February or March gives a better chance of receiving a higher-than-asking-price than in the June through November timespan.1
  • For sellers more motivated by the speed of the sale, the Redfin study demonstrated that February is the best month to list a home, as an average of 66% of home listed in February sold within 90 days1.

Buyers have more choices in spring and fall months

  • Most homeowners do not buck the historical trend: they do not list their homes in the winter months. Most continue to list their homes for sale in spring and fall. That means the inventory of homes for sale is larger, and buyers may have a lot more homes to choose from.2
  • Having options is great, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get a better price on a home just because you’re making the offer in the spring or fall.


Strong housing markets in many areas of the U.S. have prevailed for several years now. Demand for homes is high, while the inventory of homes available is constrained. This is sometimes referred to as a “seller’s market,” which means buyers are competing to make offers and sellers are typically receiving higher prices.

But, if you’re in the market to buy a home this year, there’s good news about home prices, too. According to, housing prices will rise by 3% nationally in 2016, compared with 6% in 2015.3


1. Best time to list a home for sale? Winter, Redfin says. Kenneth R. Harney. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.
2.Best Times to Buy, Sell or List a Home. Brendon DeSimone. Web.11 Apr. 2014. Web. 3 Mar.2016.
3. 4 real estate trends we’ll see in 2016. Daniel Goldstein. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.

- By Lauren Howey, Jan 30, 2017