11 Things to Know About Selling Your Home in Spring and Summer

Prepare to put your home on the market during the hottest selling seasons.

By Devon Thorsby, Editor, Real Estate |May 8, 2019, at 4:17 p.m.

11 Things to Know About Selling Your Home in Spring and Summer

Slideshow

Take advantage of the peak home-selling season.

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House.

(Getty Images)

If you’re thinking spring or summer is the ideal time to put your house on the market, you’re certainly not the only one. Real estate information site Zillow reports home sellers make the most money and sell fastest in the first two weeks of May, with July and June, respectively, serving as the next best months to list your home. While the market may be as hot as the weather this time of year, there are still some key steps you shouldn’t skip – and details you should know about – before selling your property in spring and summer.

There are more buyers.

There are more buyers.

Real estate. Warsaw, Poland.

(Getty Images)

The change of seasons naturally encourages people to start thinking about options to move to a new home, and for homebuyers who are financially ready, that’s certainly the case. Many buyers may also be excited to move forward with a home purchase knowing that mortgage interest rates aren’t expected to climb particularly high in the near future. In March, the Federal Reserve confirmed its plans to not increase interest rates from the current 2.5% for the remainder of 2019. While mortgage rates vary based on the individual financial history and current market conditions, the Fed’s decision helps many first-time homebuyers start shopping for a home confidently.

There is more competition among sellers.

There is more competition among sellers.

A row of colorful, well maintained homes, with green grass in the foreground, and a crystal clear blue sky above.

(Getty Images)

A seasonal influx of buyers certainly won’t go unnoticed by other homeowners. Many sellers wait to put their house on the market in the spring with hopes of a higher number of potential buyers. But they also choose to hold off because it makes sense to sell, find a new place to live and move before summer ends – especially if school-age kids live in the home. Keep the extra competition in mind as you prepare your house for the market. Consider checking out open houses in your neighborhood to see what nearby homes look like inside, what price they’re listed for and how your home measures up.

This year won't be the same as last year.

This year won't be the same as last year.

Aerial view of residential housing development

(Getty Images)

The spring and summer months tend to be the most active for home sales, but that doesn’t mean you’ll always see home prices climb year over year. While some markets are still as hot as ever, places like San Francisco and Seattle have slowed significantly, with home values even dropping slightly compared to recent years when houses couldn’t stay on the market more than a couple days, says Skylar Olsen, director of economic research for Zillow. Even if you live in a more moderate housing market, expect a slower pace than previous years. “It’s still in the whole scope of history a seller’s market, but it’s not quite as extreme as it was,” Olsen says.

Your buyer may be on a specific timeline.

Your buyer may be on a specific timeline.

Planner Organizer Date Events Schedule Concept

(Rawpixel/Getty Images)

Spring and summer are ideal for many buyers not just because the weather’s nice, but also because the timing gets them moved before fall, explains Dario Cardile, vice president of growth for real estate brokerage Owners.com. That said, if your house goes under contract in early May, the buyer may ask for a delay in closing or move-in until the school year finishes or his current home has sold. Alternatively, a buyer later in summer may be looking to close quickly and move in under a month. Remain flexible to keep the deal running smoothly, and your buyer may be willing to throw in concessions, like covering some of your closing costs or overlooking the old roof.

The market varies from city to city.

The market varies from city to city.

Sunrise scene over residential zone of Saga City, Kyushu, Japan - July 2018

(Getty Images)

As housing markets are shifting, you should expect to see more differences from city to city. “Last year and the year before, everyone’s story was a little bit more similar than it is now,” Olsen says. Tracking national housing information can be valuable, but for an understanding of the housing market and how it pertains to the sale of your home, focus on the local market only. If homebuyers start house hunting later in summer, for example, your real estate agent may suggest holding more open houses, adjusting the asking price or even waiting to put it on the market.

Landscaping can make a difference.

Landscaping can make a difference.

Landscaped front yard of a house with flowers and green lawn

(Getty Images)

Green grass and blooming trees help your home’s exterior look its best for photos and open houses, but that doesn’t mean you should let nature do all the work. Keep your grass cut, plant fresh flowers and trim shrubs or bushes that have a tendency to grow into walkways. If your grass didn’t return from the winter as green as it could be, you may want to consider new sod to improve your curb appeal.

More days on the market doesn't spell doom.

More days on the market doesn't spell doom.

exterior shot of house with for sale sign in front yard

(Getty Images)

No one wants their house sitting on the market for months with little buyer activity, but don’t be afraid of a house that needs a few weeks – or even a couple months – to find the right buyer. The median days on market for properties nationwide ebbs and flows throughout the year, and it changes as conditions shift more slowly to a buyer’s market. Real estate brokerage Redfin reports the median number of days on the market for U.S. housing hit its lowest point last year in June at just 35 days. In March 2019, the median number of days on the market was 49. While you can expect that median to drop again during the spring and summer, you’ll likely see more houses sitting on the market as buyers are more selective.

You may have to lower your asking price.

You may have to lower your asking price.

House made of cash and coins

(Getty Images)

You may have watched friends and family sell their homes in previous spring seasons with multiple offers on the first day and above the list price. In many parts of the U.S., however, that part of the real estate cycle is over. Instead, you may find your real estate agent recommending a drop in the asking price to ensure the right buyers are touring your property. “That initial list price needs to come down,” Olsen says.

Some staging is required.

Some staging is required.

Modern living room and kitchen in stylish apartment

(Getty Images)

As with your home’s exterior, there’s no reason to slack off when it comes to preparing your house to impress would-be buyers. “Staging is one of the things that is very important,” Cardile stresses. That means decluttering the house, emptying closets to make them appear larger, moving some furniture to storage to help rooms look bigger and keeping counters clear and show-ready at all times.

Some projects can be DIY.

Some projects can be DIY.

Close up of unrecognizable house painter pouring paint while preparing it for home decoration.

(Getty Images)

It’s common for real estate agents to recommend that home sellers repaint some rooms, clean the carpet and power-wash the deck or driveway. Fortunately, many of these smaller projects can become a do-it-yourself task that requires minimal cash to get your home looking fresh. But taking on a task yourself doesn’t mean it’s OK to get sloppy – especially with paint, Olsen says. “Be careful – use a drop cloth and everything,” she says.

A professional touch on bigger upgrades may see more return.

A professional touch on bigger upgrades may see more return.

Home contractor modifying the project plans.

(iStockPhoto)

For certain parts of your home that need work outside your skill set, incurring the cost of a professional will be worth it in the end. “You can upgrade the bathroom on your own, … but that’s also something you can hire a professional to do,” Olsen says. While spending money often isn’t what you have in mind when you think about selling your home, a bad DIY tile job could become a sticking point with buyers, who may be concerned other work was done poorly elsewhere in the house.

Here are 11 things you should know about selling your home in spring and summer:

Here are 11 things you should know about selling your home in spring and summer:

(Getty Images)

  • There are more buyers.
  • There are also more sellers to compete with.
  • This year won't be the same as last year.
  • Your buyer may be on a specific timeline.
  • The market varies from city to city.
  • Landscaping can make a difference.
  • More days on market doesn't spell doom.
  • You may have to lower your asking price.
  • Some staging is required.
  • Some projects can be DIY.
  • A professional touch on bigger upgrades may see more return.

Read More

Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at dthorsby@usnews.com.

Recommended Articles

Should You Live in a Single-Family Home?

Steven Gottlieb | Aug. 11, 2020

Depending on your own priorities, finances and bandwidth, one style of living might be better for you.

Denver Housing Market Forecast

Andrew Fortune | Aug. 6, 2020

Here's what you need to know about the Denver housing market now, and what to expect in the future.

How to Make and Accept an Bid on a Home

Devon Thorsby | Aug. 6, 2020

Here's what you need to know to go under contract and move toward a successful home purchase or sale.

Considerations Before Buying a Vacation Home

Geoff Williams | Aug. 5, 2020

You'll want to think about money, rental challenges and market.

How to Build a Fire Pit in Your Backyard

Devon Thorsby | Aug. 4, 2020

Follow these 10 simple steps to transform your backyard into a rustic retreat.

What to Know About the LA Housing Market

Devon Thorsby | July 30, 2020

Before you try to buy, sell or rent in Los Angeles, know what to expect.

What to Know About Moving to Seattle

Devon Thorsby | July 28, 2020

Consider cost of living and your love of the outdoors if you're thinking about a move to Seattle.

What to Know About Month-to-Month Leases

Devon Thorsby | July 24, 2020

Skipping the long-term lease agreement may give you the flexibility you need, but be aware of the control you give up.

Should You Buy a Fixer-Upper?

Devon Thorsby | July 23, 2020

When deciding between a new house and one that needs some work, a few details can be the deciding factors.

Tenant Rights in Pennsylvania

Devon Thorsby | July 21, 2020

Before you get in a dispute with your landlord in Pennsylvania, it's best to know your basic rights as a renter.

The Guide to Title Insurance

Devon Thorsby | July 16, 2020

Getting title insurance is a key step in the homebuying process. Here's what you need to know.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent

Devon Thorsby | July 14, 2020

Follow these steps to start on the path to being a successful real estate agent.

The Guide to Living in a Co-Op

Devon Thorsby | July 9, 2020

Here's what you need to know about how a co-op works differently from traditional homeownership.

What to Do if You Get Evicted

Maryalene LaPonsie | July 8, 2020

With government protections being lifted, many people could face eviction notices in the months to come.

How to Find a Real Estate Agent

Devon Thorsby | June 30, 2020

Here's how to find a real estate agent to help you confidently navigate a home sale or purchase.

Should You Buy a Condo?

Geoff Williams | June 26, 2020

Before you commit to owning a home, consider factors like maintenance fees and proximity to neighbors.

What to Know About Moving to Canada

Devon Thorsby | June 25, 2020

Planning and preparation can make your move to Canada a success.

The Guide to Buying a Home Sight Unseen

Dima Williams | June 24, 2020

While feasible, purchasing a home sight unseen requires more work and attention.

How to Look Up the History of Your House

Devon Thorsby | June 23, 2020

Find out anything from previous owners and environmental records to who died on a property.

Is My Agent Selling My Home Right?

Steven Gottlieb | June 19, 2020

A few questions can help you know if your real estate agent has the skills to sell your home at the right price.