Boston Homes
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When is the best time to sell a home?



Q: I’ve just retired and am going to be selling my home to move to North Carolina soon. I’ve heard conflicting opinions about timing. My house certainly shows better in the summer when everything is green and all the flowers are in full bloom as well as trees shielding surrounding houses for privacy. I have a lovely outside patio area and hot tub.


People with children typically want to close and move in before school starts which is understandable. On the other hand, I’ve been told that it’s best to sell your house offseason when the inventory is low. Others say it’s all driven by the interest rates and not the season. I’d like your opinion.


A: My opinion is, “all of the above.” The arguments you laid out for each scenario – selling in spring and summer, selling offseason, interest rates – all have an impact on buying and selling a home.


But there are other factors, too. For example the potential market for your home. A large home and yard in a community known for its schools will appeal to families, who as you say, often try to time their move before school starts.


The overall strength of the housing market in your area is another consideration and may lead to good success if you list your home offseason.


I know in my own area, realtors say this winter season was very strong. If your home does not show particularly well, listing your home offseason when there is less competition might be advisable, although in your case, your home with all of its landscaping and outdoor attractions sounds very appealing in spring and summer.


Interest rates, of course, are a significant factor all year long and for every population. In fact, I think one reason the winter housing market was so strong is because people were anxious to buy before interest rates rose higher. I know my sister and her husband bought their retirement home in December - even though it was well before they were ready and my brother-in-law had at least another year to work – because at that time interest rates were on the rise. With the Federal Reserve Board backing off any more interest rate hikes, at least temporarily, rising interest rates have become less a factor in buying and selling decisions.


Your own timing and needs are other considerations in determining when to list your home. If you have to move then you will probably have to sell whether it’s high season or offseason, interest rates high or low. If you have the luxury of selling when you want, then you have the luxury of experimenting.


You could list your house this spring and see what kind of response you get. If you are not happy, take the house off the market and try listing it in the offseason. If interest rates start to rise again, then you need to reassess and maybe move faster.


Linda Goodspeed is a longtime real estate writer and author of “In and out of Darkness.” Email her at: