All the time, people lament to me that because they missed the spring market, they might as well not put their house on the market until next year.

That is totally wrong, and today I’ll explain why.

People buy and sell homes all year long; it’s not like nobody buys or sells in the fall and winter! Mind you, the market is seasonal and tends to slow down, so while there aren’t as many people looking for houses, there’s also not as much inventory—that means less competition for you.

When you have one of the only two Colonial homes in your school district, for example, and a buyer has to move soon, that means yours is one of the two homes that that buyer will choose from.

If you want to sell your house, you have to list it. Don’t try to be super strategic about it in terms of timing. Remember, when you list in the springtime, you’ll be competing with a lot of fresh inventory, as well, and especially if you plan you test the price of your home.

“If you’re looking for a May, June, or July closing, I strongly recommend having your home on the market by the second week of January.”

Last year, I had five homes that sold in just the first week of January, and they had been on the market since August. So if you have a home on the market and you’re thinking of taking it off the market, don’t. Leave it on. If you don’t want to do showings during the holidays, then you don’t have to. Just cancel the showing; your agent can still collect the information from the buyer’s agent who tried to schedule the listing and then schedule a follow-up when your time is freer. If your house is totally off the market, then you won’t get any showings at all and you won’t sell your home.

You might have decided that the spring market is best for you because, for example, you don’t plan to close until June or July, so you’re just going to wait until after the Superbowl. Keep this in mind: It’s cold after the Superbowl! I don’t really abide by that strategy because you’ll still have to compete with all the other fresh inventory. Plus, if you list your home in March or April and you either miss the first rush or you’ve overpriced your home, you’ll only ride the market down until you have to start doing price reductions.

That’s why I prefer to list my houses earlier in the year, rather than later. If you’re looking for a May, June, or July closing, I strongly recommend having your home on the market by the second week of January. In case you end up selling your home before your initial plan, I’ll make sure to ask if you have temporary housing or someplace to go before you list—if you don’t, that would be a situation where it might be better to list a bit later in the year. However, the price may have to be a bit lower if you want an offer right away.

In the end, I always say it’s better to list your house when you’re ready to move; if you need to move now, then list your house now. There are always people looking for homes, even if certain times of the year are slower than others. But at least you’ll have the chance to sell—if you don’t list your home, then you are definitely not going to sell anything.

If you have any questions about buying or selling homes in the fall and spring months, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be glad to help you.