Sellers looking to maximize profits should list their homes for sale in the first two weeks of May. A new Zillow analysis found that those homes sell for a $1,600 premium, and six days faster. In 19 of the 35 largest metros, the best month to sell for the biggest sales premium is May.
That said, the best time to list a home varies by market, and could be impacted by local market dynamics or even weather patterns. The earliest is in Pittsburgh, where the magic window is the second half of March, while a handful of markets don't hit the prime listing time until the first two weeks of July.
Early signals for the 2019 housing market suggest that the balance is tilting toward buyers, as inventory is showing modest gains and appreciation is stabilizing or slowing in some of the previously hottest markets. As the market shifts, it's increasingly important for sellers to understand what's happening in their market as they approach the home shopping season. Sellers with the freedom to choose when to sell their home may be able to earn an extra boost by listing at the right time.
Before putting their homes on the market, sellers spend about seven months on average thinking about their decision. During that time, most sellers complete at least one home improvement project before listingi. Knowing the best listing window gives them time to prepare their home.
"Sellers time their listings to optimize their sale in all sorts of ways," said Skylar Olsen, Zillow Director of Economic Research and Outreach. "Some need to time the sale just right to manage their own synchronized home purchase. Others are seeking to get the highest sale price possible. Balancing these two common priorities suggests that an early May listing date is your best bet, but working with an agent who can weigh the local market and your unique priorities is still our lasting advice."
The biggest premium for timing a listing is in Minneapolis, where homes listed in the first half of May sold for a 1.8 percent premium. That translates to an extra $4,900 on the sale. Sellers in Austin and Miami, on the other hand, saw the smallest sales premiums. In those markets, listing during the "magic window" gained sellers a 0.5 percent premium – about $1,400.
Cleveland sellers who list their homes in the first half of May could see their homes sell nearly two weeks faster than the typical home. In Las Vegas, when a home is listed has little impact on how quickly it sells. Homes listed during the ideal window in early July sold just half a day faster.
The day a home is listed can also affect how many potential buyers see it, as the majority of home shoppers (79 percent) use online resources during their search, according to the 2018 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report. Homes listed on Saturdays get the most page views in the first week, and 20 percent more views than homes listed on Tuesdays, which get the fewest page views.