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FairfaxReal EstateSurvey says: Timing is key in getting top dollar

Survey says: Timing is key in getting top dollar

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Homes are selling fast year-round these days, with a difference of only a few days between the fastest and slowest periods. But one thing that’s remained constant: Listing a home for sale in the spring will yield the best results.

Nationwide, a Thursday during the second half of April is the best time to list a home for sale, according to a new Zillow analysis of millions of 2021 home sales.

Homes listed during then can expect to fetch 2.8 percent more, or about $9,300 on the typical U.S. home. And homes listed on any Thursday, when shoppers are planning for weekend showings, can sell for about $1,100 more.

The potential price benefit from listing at the right time has grown as home values have increased. Listing during the best or worst times of the year can impact a sale price by as much as $21,000, compared to a difference of only $12,500 before the pandemic.


In the Washington area, picking the right month time to sell (which isn’t exactly the same as the national time) can result in a sales-price differential of more than $35,000 compared to selecting the wrong time.

Zillow believes that late March is the best time to put a home on in the Washington market, and can provide a pricing boost of $15,300, while early October is the worst time, and could knock prices down $20,100.

If 2021 trends hold true this year, among the 35 largest metro areas, San Francisco, San Jose, Portland and Austin would have seen the best time to list a home to be as early as the second half of February.

Los Angeles, where winter weather does not deter buyers, has the latest ideal time to list; those who listed their home in late December last year saw the biggest price benefit, just edging out late March.

Still, those markets are outliers. In most large markets, listing in April or May is the sweet spot. Nationwide, the worst time to list a home is during the first two weeks of November, when homes sell for a 3.5-percent discount.

All that being said, at the moment – given how depressed inventory is – it seems likely just about any home can find a buyer expeditiously.

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