How To Know When To List Your House

Dated: 02/21/2019

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Knowing when to list your house can be about as much of a perfect "science" as a Groundhog predicting the arrival of spring. While the reliability of Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow is right about 39% of the time according to Stormfax's Almanac, we know based on our own experience what to look for indicating the arrival of spring: the sighting of a robin, a crocus breaking through in the garden, or the days getting longer. Similarly, indications are there that the timing might be right for you to list your house as the temperature heats up, and so does the market.

Statistics to speak with your real estate agent about when you're deciding when to list is the inventory of homes that are available, the state of the market that you are in, and price. We say that it's a "seller's market" when demand of homes exceeds supply and owners can have an advantage over buyers in price and terms in negotiations. We say that it's a buyer's market when supply exceeds demand and purchasers can have an advantage over owners in price and terms. It's important to place your house in position to outsell others in your price point according to what's going on in the market now. Not last spring. Not last year. Today.

Your house should be listed when it's in the best possible condition that you can make it. Does this mean you're putting in a brand-new kitchen and redoing all the landscaping? Not necessarily. It means that it's ready according to what you're able and willing (physically, emotionally and financially), to do to get it there. If that means you're decluttering, cleaning, making some repairs and staging, then that's what it means. If it means it makes sense to do some more extensive preparation, and you're able, then that's what you do. Having the timeline in place based on all the above first, can help to "time-it-right" to list. Often sellers will overestimate their ability to prep their house on a tight timeline and what ends up happening is that the "live" date ends up being pushed further and further out or, rather than feel like their missing out on a lot of buyers, they'll list the house when it's not ready to do so. Be realistic of what "show ready" means, and what it will take to get your house there, to entice the most possible buyers, and offers, on your home.

Perhaps the biggest factor in knowing when to list your house is timing it for your family based on when you want, or need, to get the house sold. School-aged children that you'd like them to finish the school year in one district and start in another? You've bought another house already, and need to sell this house to move into that house? Triplets are on the way and need to sell to get into a bigger house...quick! You've lost a job. Got a job. Got married. Divorced...the list goes on and on. Keep the "why" on why you're moving at the forefront of your mind. It can most certainly play a role in your timeline.

It's important to remember that houses sell at any time of the year. Like the temperature, inventory levels and buyer activity may rise and fall, buyer activity may ebb and flow, but there will always be buyers looking, and there will always be sellers selling. Knowing why you want to sell, what it's going to take to get your house ready to sell, and keeping tabs on the condition of the market, like the groundhog does with its shadow, are key when selling your home.

Melissa Rolland is a Real Estate Salesperson and Realtor®, Accredited Home Stager, and author of the book Straight from the Kitchen Table: Every Day Real Estate. She lives in Tolland, CT along with her husband Todd, an Associate Broker and Realtor®. Together they manage the Rolland Realty Group powered by eXp Realty of CT, LLC. You can connect with them at or (866) 408-8059.

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Melissa and Todd Rolland

Melissa Rolland is a real estate salesperson, accredited home stager and has been a real estate investor for over a decade, helping hundreds of homeowners buy houses, sell houses, and invest in real e....

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