Richmond Dawson: The myth of Spring time selling

Bentley's Real Estate
Bentley's Real Estate
Published on December 19, 2017

It’s that time of year; it gets darker a whole lot earlier, all of the local towns are having parades and tree lighting, and people thinking of selling their homes are telling us at Bentley’s Real Estate some version of “we want to wait for the spring market…” As realtors we hear statements like this every winter!

You have to ask – where did this notion come from? Is it even accurate? At Bentley’s Real Estate we have discussed this amongst ourselves, with other Realtors, with sellers, with real estate attorneys, and with mortgage professionals. We have come to the simple conclusion that it is not always best to wait to list your property.

First we will look at some data culled from Massachusetts Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and then we will look into why “waiting” may actually prove detrimental to your goals as a seller.  For the purposes of this article we will look at Newburyport and single family homes sold in 2016 and that were listed through the MLS.

In Total there were 200 single family homes sold (and listed in MLS) in Newburyport in 2016. Of those properties 28 sold in the first quarter of 2016 and 48 sold in the fourth quarter… Comparing Q4 of 2016 with the year as a whole single family homes sold for 97 percent of the list price… However, the homes that sold in Q4 averaged 72.52 days on market (DOM) compared to 90 days DOM for the year as a whole. Likewise, the average days to offer (DTO) was less for Q4 (42.02) compared to 57 DTO for the year overall. To get a true picture of the market you’d have to look into Q1 of 2017 – as many properties listed in Q4 of 2016 did not close until Q1 of 2017. The numbers there are similar: The average sales price for Q1 0f 2017 was 637,331 or 98% of listing price – compared to 97% of list price for 2016. Again, analyzing the data shows that the average sale price per square foot for 2016 was $299; while it reached $309 for Q1 of 2017 (again – most of these properties were listed in Q4 of 2016 and closed in early 2017).

So, what does all this mean? At Bentley’s Real Estate we look at this data and conclude that the long-held believe that sellers must wait until spring to maximize the sale of their home is just not accurate; the axiom just does not hold up in the current market and environment.  But why? Following are some reasons why sellers may benefit from listing their property sooner rather than later:

  1. The simple fact is there will be more competition for your property in the spring than there is in the fall. If most people believe that waiting until spring is the most advantageous path then there will be more sellers/competition on the market come spring time. Buyers will have more choices and you will be competing with all those other properties for buyers. Statistically more homes sell in the spring, but that’s because more homes are on the market in the spring.
  1. By waiting for spring you may, without even knowing, lessen the pool of potential buyers who can afford to buy your home; the Federal Reserve is expected to continue raising interest rates throughout the remainder of the year and into next. Some experts predict that the average rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage will rise continuously throughout 2018, reaching 4.9% by Q4 of 2018 (Qualified Mortgage Forecast). If rates go up and buyers can borrow less they may be priced out of buying your home.
  1. As noted in the data crunch above homes can sell more quickly in the winter months.
  1. “Looky loo’s” do not like the cold! Fall/Winter months bring out the serious and qualified buyers and all but eliminates the neighbor who pokes their head into an open house to see what you did with the basement or how your new kitchen cabinets look, etc… Also, the open house brigade (those who spend their Saturdays and/or Sundays “just looking” at open houses) tend to stay home during the colder months – leaving the serious buyers ready to see your house.
  1. Again, there will be less competition: because many sellers wait until spring there will be many less homes for sale for your house to compete with. At Bentley’s Real Estate we have qualified buyers who are searching to find a home to buy, but there is not enough inventory for the buyers.

The numbers show, the market indicates and we, at Bentley’s Real Estate,  think it is the perfect time to sell your home. If you want to learn more, contact Richmond Dawson or any one of our Bentley’s Real Estate Realtor professionals today!