Best time to Buy/Sell

This is a long post – sorry. It’s a complicated question. If you don’t have the patience, go ahead and skip to the Short Answer.

The graph of Active Listings (by month) above shows hundreds or thousands of available homes every month of the year. So even though there are twice as many homes for sale in September, there is still plenty on the market in January.

​If you’re a seller, we know historically that competition tends to depress pricing; so is it better to sell when there is less competition (fewer active listings)? That said, are there enough buyers looking for homes in January to make it worthwhile? Sellers, it looks like you have the most competition from other sellers in September/October.

Buyers, especially in a low-inventory market like Denver today, may be better off shopping at a time when there’s more selection, and ideally when there may be less competition from other buyers. It may not be obvious from the graph, but most of those inventory peaks are in September . . .

Under Contracts. So let’s assume that the number of “under contract”
listings (offer has been accepted) is the best indicator of how many buyers are active in the market. Look again at the graph above: every one of those peaks is in May/June. Buyers, you’re going to have the most competition from other buyers in the spring.

Short Answer: Sell in the spring, Buy in the fall.

​Real Answer: It’s not going to make that much difference. Let’s suppose you’re a seller in the spring, and you turn around and buy another home right away (which is what most people do). Whatever springtime advantage you may have had as a seller is offset by becoming a buyer in virtually the same market. Right?

​Broker’s Answer: The majority of people don’t have the luxury of choosing their timing for a sale. In most cases there will be a triggering event (birth, death, divorce, job transfer, etc.) that makes a sale necessary and provides the motivation to buy or sell.

So regardless of the season, the time to buy or sell is when you want to AND need to. We call that motivation. When you think about it, that’s why there’s still a market in every month of the year. Somebody out there doesn’t have a choice whether to start their new position in January, or whether to allow the kids to finish school before moving to a new neighborhood. Bottom line: don’t stress too much about timing. There’s someone out there with whom you can make a deal.

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