If you’ve been thinking about selling soon, you’re probably leaning toward doing so when the spring market rolls around, since it’s often considered the best time of year to sell a house. However, you might want to reconsider what constitutes the “best” time for you to sell your house.
It’s hard to qualify any specific time of year as the best time to sell, but spring probably gets ranked highest more so because it’s when more people tend to list their homes, and more buyers tend to look for a home. But that doesn’t mean it’s the most strategic time to sell yours.
In fact, listing your house well ahead of the official start to the spring market could be the most strategic thing you do in any market, but even more so given the current market conditions. Let’s take a look at 8 reasons you should seriously consider listing your house in January 2023:
1. Spring Market Actually Unofficially Begins in January
First off, even defining when the spring market begins is a moving target, but March, April, May probably sounds right to most people.
Unless you’re in the real estate business, the chances are you wouldn’t lump January into the mix of months to describe the spring market. However, March comes pretty quickly, and agents see a lot of activity from buyers who want to buy in the spring market, but actually start looking in January. Some of them just want to get a head start, while others want to beat their competition… and some simply want to be in their new home by spring.
2. Less Competition
Just like early bird buyers jump into action in January to avoid competition from other buyers, homeowners who list their house in January capitalize on less competition from other sellers who are waiting for spring.
Over the past couple of years, that probably didn’t matter quite as much, since there weren’t enough houses for sale to keep up with the number of buyers in the market. But now that the market is shifting—and there are fewer buyers competing for more listings in many areas—listing before more sellers add to the number of choices buyers have might be a wise move.
3. Prices Are Still Historically High
While there’s a lot of chatter about real estate prices coming down, according to this Forbes article, home prices are still 6% higher than they were last year, when prices were considered historically high. However, it also speculates that a drop in prices could happen depending upon what happens with mortgage rates moving forward.
Whether or not home prices are actually higher, lower, or about the same depends a lot upon your area and price range. But overall, prices haven’t taken a dive off of a cliff… yet.
4. Mortgage Rates Are Currently Lower
You’re probably well aware of the fact that interest rates skyrocketed from being historically low for years, to over 7% in October of 2022. While they certainly aren’t back down below 3% like they were in 2021, they’ve recently come down to around 6%, which has some buyers breathing a sigh of relief and trying to buy before they go up again.
That said, rates have a tendency to change quickly and often, so it’s hard to bank on lower rates being an enticement for buyers. But if they’re relatively lower than they have been, it’s something you don’t want to overlook.
5. Seasonally Pent Up Demand
There’s often pent up demand from buyers after the holiday season, since many of them take time off from searching during the last couple of months of the year. So when January rolls around, they can be anxious to start their search back up and find some new options on the market.
6. The Buyers Are More Serious
There are typically more active buyers during the official spring season, but they’re not all serious buyers. However, any buyer looking at houses in January tends to be highly motivated to buy a house. So, you’re not dealing with as many lookie-loos waltzing through your house like they’re auditioning for an HGTV show.
7. Shorter Days
As the days go by, they also get longer. More sunlight later in the day also means more buyers wanting to see your house in the evening. Most people prefer to see a house while the sun is out, so listing in January increases your odds of having less buyers coming through when you’d prefer to be home relaxing.
If you’ve been thinking about selling, and you were leaning toward waiting until the spring market officially arrived, you might want to consider listing in January instead.
There are always strategic benefits to listing your house in January, but given the current shift in the market, there are even more reasons to do so.