Timing is everything. The old saying is especially true when it comes to selling a home, especially in Pittsburgh, where weather sways from furnace to frigid depending on the time of year.
This guide provides the best time for sellers to sell and buyers to buy. If you plan to play both roles, there is a time for that, too. We highly suggest reading the whole guide to find the best time for you and our home, but feel free to skip around using the buttons below.
|Pro: Slower season||Pro: Lots of buyers||Pro: Less competition|
|Con: Switching schools mid year||Con: Busiest season||Con: Patio is less appealing|
If selling one home also means building another, please visit our new home guide for tips on beginning that process.
Selling in the Spring
Spring might be everyone’s favorite season, but for realtors, builders, and anyone with their house on the market Spring is by absolutely the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Sorry Christmas!)
The weather is usually perfect, not too hot or not too cold. And everyone is full of energy and ready to relieve their cabin fever- often through visiting open houses and taking community tours!
There are also many non-weather related reasons to sell a home in the spring. See why we think spring is a great time to list a house.
So Why is Spring the Best Time of the Year to Sell Your Home?
But weather first: Warmer weather means that more people are outside. And our senses are heightened during the spring. You hear birds chirping, you smell the combination of fresh cut grass and barbecue, you feel the soft spring breeze, and the sunshine brings everything back to life. And now you just need is them to taste a little sample of your home’s awesomeness!
Let’s face it the Spring is a busy time of the year for everyone. If you are not getting out your house just for the sake of getting out of your house, than you are still out to get groceries, drop the kids off at soccer, baseball, dance, lacrosse, track, and everything else that little kiddos play these days. And chances are if your home is properly marketed, they will either see your advertising or at least plan a second or two out of their busy life to take a tour between baseball and track, or lacrosse and dance, or grocery shopping and little Susie’s birthday party on Saturday.
If you are selling a vacant home, you usually do not have to heat or cool an additional home like you would in the winter and summer months, saving you money in utility bills for a home you no longer live in.
REMEMBER: If your home is too hot or too cold, your home will easily be eliminated by home buyers. Your home should always be at a comfortable temperature for every prospect that tours your home.
Another advantage to selling your home in the spring is that no one wants to move their children mid-school year. When a buyer purchases a home in the spring, they are most likely to move in during the early summer. Plenty of time for your kids to adjust and adapt to the area before the new school year begins. They may even make a friend or two with the neighborhood kids before the first day of school.
Some Things to be Aware of When Selling Your Home in the Spring.
April showers bring more than just May flowers! Rain can bring out the worst in a home. From areas of standing water in your yard, to leaky basements, clogged gutters, and if your home is really outdated you may have the ol’ indoor waterfall. Be sure to patch up, repair and prevent any of these issues. General contractors and the internet are both great resources.
All of the cool kids are doing it! Another road block to selling your home during the spring is that everyone else is putting their home on the market too. And if more people are selling their home, there is more competition. You may find yourself in a price war with your neighbors if they are trying to sell their home as well. Be careful not to undervalue your home.
Garden of weEden! Maintaining your yard in the spring can be more work than other months. When there is snow on the ground the majority of your outdoor staging is shoveling the driveway and clearing the walk from ice. But in the Spring you have to spend more time and effort on curb appeal. Weeds, leaves, tall grass, weeds, brown dry grass, weeds, overgrown bushes, and did we say weeds? All of the for mentioned plant details should be your focus as well as decluttering and painting your home. These are generally problems that you do not have to focus on when selling your home in the winter.
Selling in the Summer
The Summer is arguably the best time of the year to sell your home. (or Spring) The sun shines longer and hotter, and people are generally more active during the long summer days. In this blog post we have compiled a list of why summer is the best time of the year to sell your home, and some helpful tips that will help you list and stage your home for a buyer’s market!
In real estate timing is everything. Sometimes it is just in the stars whether or not your home will sell within one month. But do not believe for a second that real estate is a waiting game. Be aware of the local market. Pay attention to trends in your area as well as local news (job hirings, major developments, etc.) Contact a realtor and be aggressive, selling your home can be as simple as posting a couple of advertisements when the weather and the market is hot!
Too Cool For School
Schools are a major driving force behind buying and selling a home during the summer season. In regards to scheduling parents typically do not have to worry about picking the kids up from school in the afternoon. Freeing up there schedule to visit a home, meet with a bank, close a home, and move into a home without worrying about the little kiddies schedules.
Speaking of moving, parents typically hate to move their children into a new school district mid-school year. There is an overwhelming pressure to beat the August 31st deadline that benefits you, the seller!
If you find your home on the market a little bit longer than you anticipated. Don’t freak out! The summer can be a busy time of the year. Look at your own schedule- how many vacation days, graduation parties, and projects do you have planned? Real buyers are out there and if you stage it, they will come!
The summer is also filled with other great homes on the market, or as we like to call them…the competition.
Follow our tips when staging your home, and you will be moving out in no time!
If You Got It, Flaunt It
If you have a beautiful yard, or great outdoor amenities like a large deck, cozy front porch, or a charming outdoor living space now is the time to showcase these features.
Green = Green
Be sure to water your lawn! A green lawn can add green to your wallet, or at least prevent losing curb appeal from potential buyers.
Like the Other Side of the Pillow
Keep your house coooool when showing your home. During the dog days of summer, a potential buyer will stay in a cool home longer to avoid the grueling heat. If your home is hot, forget it! They will be out of there faster than you can “Summer Solstice”
So Fresh and So Clean
Be sure to give each room a fresh coat of paint, and to clean each room like the In-Laws will be in for an inspection at a moment’s notice. Neutral colors are the safe and recommended choice for paint color. And be sure to clean your kitchen and bathroom until they **sparkle** these two rooms are most likely to receive more scrutiny than any other room in the house
Quick Hints for a Last Minute Open House
- Open the drapes and blinds for maximum sunlight
- Remove excess items and put them into storage
- Burn candles or bake cookies to fill you home with delicious aromas
- Make small adjustments to your landscaping to increase curb appeal
- Do everything you can to make your home look like it is easy to maintain
Selling in the Winter
It is difficult to motivate anyone once the snow begins to fall, roads get bad, and everything is slushy, grey and cold. It takes a special approach to convince potential home buyers that your house is worth the energy to brave the winter — although, I bought/sold a house in the winter and it was a great experience.
That said, there are many strategic advantages to selling in the winter. Most importantly, you have every buyer’s attention. Fewer people sell their home in the winter, making the few available in higher demand. However, a seller’s approach must change. Here are some winter sales tips.
Use the Sharpest Tool in the Shed
The most important thing to do is list your home with a realtor. The days of staking an orange and black “For Sale by Owner” sign in the front yard are long gone. Realtors have the tools, clients, and resources to sell your home. With listing websites, social media, thousands of buyers in databases, and a professional background in real estate, the secret weapon to selling a home in the winter is your local real estate agent.
The Mother-In-Law Test
Besides the basic rules of staging your home, keeping it clean is the most important tool to selling your home in the winter. You might have cabin fever, the winter blues might have hit hard, but keeping your home beautiful and ready for an inspection at a moment’s notice is the best game plan. Rule of thumb: Make sure your home will pass the unexpected visit from your mother in-law test!
The 3 S’s of Winter
Shovel, Scrape and Salt, if a potential buyer struggles to pull into the driveway, slips on the sidewalk, or has to walk through a pile of snow; chances are they are thinking that maintaining your home is too much work. Make your home appear to be low maintenance. Shovel the snow and do whatever it takes to get rid of ice!
Make sure that your kitchen and bathroom sparkle! These areas will receive more scrutiny than any other room in your home. Rule of thumb: Clean these rooms 3 times better than you normally do.
Make Your Home Say Cheese!
If you know you will be listing your home and it could potentially stay listed into the winter, take pictures of the exterior of your home year round. Create a photo album of your home, and showcase how beautiful your home looks when it is not covered in 4 inches of dirty snow.
Keeping a photo album next to the paper work and information sheets during an open house is a great way to show off your beautiful yard or that spacious deck that is perfect for a summer barbecue.
Selling a Vacant House
If you have moved out already and are selling an old vacant home, remember to keep your home warm. Potential buyers left their warm and cozy homes to visit yours, and will leave in a heartbeat if your home is freezing. A warm home is a sold home- it can be that easy! Having a second utility bill for a home that is empty doesn’t make that much sense either! Use timers or stop by and turn the heat on the night before a scheduled showing. If a buyer sees their breath before they see the upstairs, they probably will not buy.
Clearly, there are advantages and disadvantages to each season. Like we saw, spring can be a fantastic season as long as long as the weather holds and kids don’t have to change districts during the school year. Summer is the busiest, meaning houses can sell instantly as long as you are ready for a quick pace. Winter is affected by weather more than any other season, but you have buyer’s attention because fewer houses are on the market.