When is a Good Time to Sell a Home?

By MICHAEL EDLEN | Special to the Palisadian-Post

Ihave talked with many people recently who are considering when the best time would be to get their property on the market. Most feel that it is better to wait until the spring, when they believe more homes are sold. Others believe that it would not be wise to be on the market during the holiday season, so they will wait until at least February. Many real estate agents discourage home sellers from winter listings and often take homes off the market by mid-November so they can re-list by spring as a fresh start.

There are a number of reasons and advantages to putting a home on the market during the fall/winter period, however. Nearly all homebuyers are doing their initial searching online and obviously can only look at homes currently on the market when they are researching.

Even if they are out of town on vacations, they all have internet access. Any home withdrawn from the market or not yet listed will be out of sight and therefore not considered by those buyers.

Some of the reasons why it may be a mistake to wait until March or April of 2018 are:

The most active sales period in the Palisades in the second half of the year is from early October through mid-November.

During the slightly slower period from Thanksgiving through the start of January, the supply of listings is lower, which means less competition from other homes for sale.

In the spring, the inventory increases substantially, which logically lowers the potential demand for each home for sale.

Buyers tend to be more serious at this time of the year, with fewer people just looking at listings.

Interest rates are still near all-time low levels and generally expected to increase soon, which will make our rather highly appreciated values more difficult for buyers to afford.

Owners who might decide to wait to sell until after January because of not wanting to move during holiday season could sell now and negotiate a longer escrow or extended occupancy until January.

One advantage of selling now is that it may enable buying during the spring when more houses are on the market.

We never know when history will not repeat itself, but the Westside real estate market has tended to move in nine to 10 year cycles since the 1970s and the last downward moving period began in 2008. In Pacific Palisades, the average home price correction during those cycles was about 29 percent.

Although statistically we are still experiencing a “seller’s market,” with less than a four-month level of inventory based on current Palisades sale rates, there are some signs of a slowing down in process.

In reviewing our team’s sales over the last 20 years, we have found that 80 percent of the time, we have had transactions enter escrow during the holiday period. Also, we noted that multiple offers have occurred in 50 percent of the Palisades winter contracts over the last four years.

The bottom line is that though it may seem to be counter intuitive, it may well be that the end of year is an excellent time to be in the market place. Simply put, even though there may be fewer showings, because of less competition, there will probably be more qualified buyers looking at your home.

Michael Edlen has provided real estate counseling services to thousands of prospective sellers and buyers for 30-plus years. If you would like input about the current market or any particular property, call him at 310-230-7373 or michael@michaeledlen.com.