With both the Cubs and the White Sox missing the Postseason yet again, “Wait ‘til next spring,” is a common refrain throughout Chicagoland at this time of year. It’s also a thought on the minds of many would-be home sellers, who believe that listing during the spring gives them the best chance of a speedy and lucrative sale. After all, about 40% of home sales are contracted in the spring (those sales then typically close in late spring/summer). But this also means that 60% of sales occur at other times of the year, including fall. And this fall may just be a very opportune time for sellers to put their homes on the market for a variety of reasons. Let’s delve into them.
There’s Less Competition
One of the key advantages of selling your home during non-peak seasons is that there is less competition in the market. For-sale inventory has been at record-low levels for years. Nationally, it would take about 3 years to absorb the current inventory – about half the normal pace – and in many local markets that number is much lower. But inventory is starting to creep back up, and there is growing sentiment that spring ’24 will finally see a big release of supply back into the market. Listing your home ahead of that expected surge allows you to take advantage of today’s strong demand while standing out against a smaller pool of properties.
Off Peak Buyers Are Serious
Buyers who are on the hunt during off-peak seasons tend to be more serious about their purchase. They are often driven by factors such as job relocation, family changes, lease expirations and other considerations that can’t be postponed until spring. These motivated buyers are typically willing to act quickly and make attractive offers since they want to secure a property as soon as possible. Thus, selling in the fall or winter may not only lead to a quick contract but also easier negotiations.
The Market Is Unpredictable
A common thought process among would-be sellers today is that when mortgage rates come down, home prices will go up, rewarding sellers for waiting. A good idea in theory, but markets don’t always behave the way we expect them to. Remember last year when everyone said rates would be in the 5% range by December? Instead, they went up. But guess what – so did home prices. Today, most sellers are in a situation where demand exceeds supply and prices are at or near all-time highs. That’s a pretty good position to be in, and no one knows what things will look like in six months or a year. So, if you’ve been wanting to sell, now is a good time.
Seasonality Is Less of a Factor
Buying a home in the fall or winter used to be an inconvenience. Bad weather, the holidays, vacations and more – they all used to complicate the process. Technology has changed a lot of that. Today, online listings, virtual walkthroughs, social media, and digitally enabled transactions make it possible for buyers to view properties anytime, anywhere. The market is less reliant on seasonality and well-staged, well-photographed and well-priced homes sell all year ‘round.
While spring is often seen as the ideal time for selling a home, fall shouldn’t be dismissed as a valuable opportunity for sellers. With less competition in the market, motivated buyers, an unpredictable market that defies expectations, and the advent of online listings and social media, fall can be a prime time to list your home. Don’t underestimate the potential of this season; instead of waiting for next spring, consider taking advantage of the current market conditions and seize the opportunity to sell your home this fall.