Selling a home can take months, but if you list it during specific dates, so-called “magic windows,” you might be able to speed up the process and sell at a higher price. The windows generally fall in the month of May—something to consider if you plan to sell your home next year.
The benefit to listing your home at the right time can be significant. Overall, U.S. homes listed during peak selling periods sell for a premium of $1,700, according to data from housing website Zillow, which analyzed residential listings and sales data from 2008 through 2015. During these periods, homes also went into contract 19 days faster than they do, on average, the rest of the year.
While May is generally the best month to sell, the specific weeks depend on variables such as climate and local real estate markets. In some areas, such as New York and Northern New Jersey, the first two weeks of May is typically the optimal time to sell. In other markets, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, the peak season comes later—during the last two weeks of May.
Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow, says that the market is currently strong for sellers. Home values are up and inventory is down 6 percent from one year ago. Even so, Gudell advises that you find out how strong the market is in your area. Ask your real estate agent to tell you the average number of days homes are on market and how much inventory is available. It’s also a good idea, she says, to ask your agent for the ratio between sales prices and list prices. If the ratio is above 1, homes are selling for more than their list prices. It it’s below 0.92 you may not get the price you were hoping for. If it falls in-between you’ll probably sell at your asking price.
Here are the best times to sell your home for several regions and cities, as measured by Zillow’s data.
May 1-15: Across the U.S. generally, as well as New York and Northern New Jersey; Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth; Philadelphia; Detroit; Riverside, California; Phoenix; Seattle; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Tampa, Florida; Baltimore; Pittsburgh; and Portland, Oregon.
May 16-30: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim; Boston; San Francisco; Denver.
June 1-15: Houston.