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When to list your home for maximum profit or a fast sale

By Mike Wheatley | March 4, 2020

To get the most money when selling your home, the best time to list it for sale is typically the first half of May, a new Zillow analysis shows. Listing your home during this window can bring a median premium of $2,100 on the typical U.S. home, and as much as $24,400 in the most expensive markets.

Spring is commonly known as the beginning to home shopping season, when the weather starts to turn for the better and home shoppers return to the market in droves. Early signs for 2020 suggest inventory will be historically tight and we could see the most competitive home shopping season in years. While bidding wars could be the norm in many markets this year, savvy sellers may be able to maximize their returns by listing their home at the right time.

Early May is the best time to list in 17 of the 35 largest metros in the U.S. But there are some differences across the country, which could be impacted by local market dynamics or even the weather - buyers don't want to drive to showings or open houses through the snow, if they can avoid it. The earliest is in San Diego, where the second half of March is typically the best time to list. The latest is in Cincinnati, where sellers see the greatest premium when listing their home in the first half of July.

The typical premiums when listing during these windows are greatest in San Jose, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Seattle. Homes in San Jose listed in late April bring a 2.1% premium, or $24,400 on a typical home there. The typical premium sellers in the Twin Cities that list in the suggested early May window can earn is 2%, or $5,700 on the median home there, while those in Seattle that list at the same time typically earn a 1.8% premium, or $9,500.

If selling quickly is your top concern, then listing your home in late April is the way to go when selling traditionally. Homes listed then sell seven days faster at the median and typically bring a $1,500 premium. Potential sellers in Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Columbus may have more time to prepare, as homes typically sell the fastest there when listed in the first half of June. But those in San Francisco or Denver may have already missed the window – the median sales in those metros come the fastest when listed in early February.

"Home buyer demand ebbs and flows in a predictable cycle every year, which means that an astute seller can time their listing date like a sailor reading a tide chart to embark at high tide," said Jeff Tucker, a Zillow economist. "Many sellers are motivated to get their homes on the market by external forces, such as job moves or school years. But to the extent a home seller can target a certain time of year, it's hard to beat selling in early May, when listings fetch the highest sale prices and move off the market quickly. Late April is not a bad option either, when homes sell even more quickly than in May, thanks to early-bird buyers rushing to beat the crowds. If this winter's surprisingly hot leadup to home shopping season is any indication, sellers this spring will see plenty of demand and little competing inventory for their listings."

Zillow pageview data shows that first impressions matter a great deal. Homes average 74 page views their first day on the market. By the fifth day, that's cut nearly in half to 38 views, and falls all the way to 18 views per day after two weeks.

Saturday is the best day to list your home for sale. Homes listed on Saturday average the most page views in the first week, and 24.8% more than homes listed on Tuesday, the worst day.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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