The Art of When to List

Picking the ideal time to either list or shop for a home can be tricky. There are times with more or less activity, more or less inventory, when people have different priorities all with good and bad effects. You also have to consider what would be happening in 60 or 90 days when the house closes.

Glorious Spring

The busiest time in real estate in Toronto is definitely Spring. Come April and May, it seems like there’s a house for sale on every block. Sellers believe blooming flowers will boost curb appeal and potential buyers are excited to be out in the sunshine going from open house to open house. There’s a lot of activity and a lot of inventory. What that means for sellers is watered down prices.

I say forget the flowers and list early Spring, like February or March. There is less inventory but still a lot of people looking because many want a Spring closing date. This lack of inventory, combined with high activity, leads to bidding wars or better prices for sellers! Maybe not the best time price-wise for buyers, but if you want to move in good weather, it’s the best time.

Sluggish Summer

July and August are not great months to sell for a number of reasons:
•    Potential buyers forget their winter misery and put off looking to enjoy the season.
•    Parents are pre-occupied with their out-of-school children.
•    Real estate agents are less actively involved in the market, themselves enjoying summer.
•    A 60-90 day close means moving in the busy Fall and that’s not appealing to most.

All this means there just isn’t much activity or inventory during the summer months. However, though less to choose from, it may be a good time for buyers to get a good price because bidding wars that jack up prices are unlikely.

Frantic Fall

Autumn is the second business (busiest?) period, though not even close to Spring, in real estate that is. Fall is a time of new beginnings which means really busy personal lives, getting kids settled in school and grown-ups back to working long hours. Most people prefer to move in the summer so they are settled in their new home for this busy period, and to give kids an opportunity to meet some new kids before heading to a new school. Both buyers and sellers are too busy to stage homes and traipse around open houses, too pre-occupied to make big decisions.

Plus, a Fall sale means moving in winter, which is just no fun. So, there is more for buyers to choose from than in summer, and less risk of bidding wars. For sellers, there’s just not going to be as much traffic at your open houses as there may have been in Spring.

The Dead of Winter

No one wants to list in November, December or January. There’s too much going on with the holidays, family visiting, Christmas decorations, parties, etc. The weather is bad, making shopping less exciting. Speaking of shopping, post-holiday bills don’t exactly inspire thoughts of making large purchases.

People who do list then usually need to, maybe they’ve been transferred or something’s happened within the family. This doesn’t mean it’s a better deal for buyers, just perhaps less competition for the limited inventory.

What a Good Deal Means in Toronto

Let me clarify that there are no good deals in Toronto. Period. When I say ‘get a good price’ I mean they may get market value as opposed to prices inflated by bidding wars.

But Spring…

If you’re really concerned about your flowers, be sure to include photos of the garden in the brochure or the Open House (what?), and include phrases like ‘a gardener’s delight’ in the descriptive copy. In my opinion, the best time to list is definitely February or March. Buyers weigh the benefits of choice versus bidding wars any season.

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Categories: Buying a Home, Real Estate Market Tips, Selling Your Home  |  Tags: ,
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