Why The Season Matters In Real Estate

Oct 30, 2019 | Picture KC

If you work in real estate or real estate photography, you’re likely aware that spring and summer are traditionally the (pardon the pun) hottest months to sell a home. But home buyers and sellers may not know it, and often when a home hits the market is based on factors like a new job forcing a relocation that doesn’t allow an owner to choose the season to list their home.

There are, of course, other factors at play, with the biggest denominator being the location. If you’re listing in Florida, seasonality may not have as big of an impact as the northeast or midwest, but there are generally ebbs and flows in the market that trend with the changing seasons, and mastering them can help you get an edge.

Consider the Winter Discount

While the winter cold certainly doesn’t mean you can’t list a home, it means you have to take special considerations. First of all, think about how listing in winter can affect the price. Listing offseason can affect the price of a home by as much as 10 percent, which may seem like a small number, but when you consider that we’re talking about a home, which typically costs into the hundreds of thousands, that 10 percent can be a huge difference.

Therefore, if you’re a buyer, shopping for a home in the winter may offer you a great deal, while the spring and summer will see a spike in prices due to supply and demand. Owners may also be more willing to negotiate on price because they may not be getting a lot of interest.

As a seller, you want to list your home at peak season when you can fetch the highest price, but you may not always have this luxury. If you don’t immediately need the funds from selling your home to purchase your next one, perhaps you can hold off on selling your previous home until the spring could be a great way to maximize the tradeoff.

Kansas City Luxury Property covered in fresh winter snow.  By Picture KC Real Estate and Commercial Photography

Hiring a professional photographer is the best way to ensure your home is presented well in any season. Professional photographers have the skill to recognize the best angles and utilize modern editing techniques to achieve results throughout the year.

Consider Your Region

As we mentioned, location plays a huge role in determining the listing price, home buying volume, etc., but it isn’t universal. Southern cities such as Phoenix experience what is known as a “snowbird effect,” in which buyers, typically flocking from the north, come seeking a reprieve from the cold by relocating or buying a second home. Being able to identify regional factors like these can make a huge difference in deciding when to list a home to fetch the highest price.

Kansas City home in the fall of 2019.  By Picture KC Real Estate and Commercial Photography

If your planning on selling and have the option to choose the season, it is important to consider the landscaping. Grass, shrubs and other foliage typically go dormant December thru March in the midwest. For heavily treed homes, Spring is often best to show exteriors while also having some colorful blooms.

Consider the Time of Year

Yes, this goes along with seasonality of course, but here we’re talking about specific parts of the year like the start of school and the holiday season. Each has a large influence on the supply and demand of the housing market in any locale. Families generally don’t want to move while their children are in school and will wait until the year is over if they can help it so they can offer a fresh start before the next school year.

This is a large contributor to summer being the busiest season during which to move. This means these families are likely shopping for homes as summer approaches so they can move once the school year ends and be settled in before the new year begins.

On the other hand, very few people move during the holidays, with the housing market being slowest across the country from November through January. The logistics of moving add too much to the hectic holiday season, especially if people are in a region that deals with unpredictable winter weather.

Consider Educating Your Buyer 

Agents need to be able to understand the market metrics in their given area. Knowing the patterns in average sales price during each month in your area can be a great tool to have when you are advising someone on when to list or when to buy. You’ll be able to identify where the peaks and valleys are to find a discount or offer the greatest profit.

On the other hand, don’t let the inconvenience of buying and moving in the “off-season” scare you or clients away. Consider the money that can be saved by moving during this time as you face less demand and competition, and you may just find your clients their dream home at a lesser price. Because don’t forget — that 10 percent can mean tens of thousands of dollars.

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