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Best Time to List Your Home For Sale

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As soon as you decide to sell your home, you must make a laundry list of choices and one major decision is when to list your home for sale. Believe it or not, there is a right time to list a home for sale and it actually differs by property type and by market.

Knowing the best time to list your home can stack the odds in your favour, allowing you to sell your home faster or for a higher asking price, or both.

When is the best time to sell in Canada?

No matter where you live, the universal answer for the best time to sell a home is “in the spring.” Historically, there is a spike in the number of properties listed for sale during the spring months of March, April and May. The assumption is the increased inventory on the market triggers higher sales activity making it the ideal time to sell a home. But that’s not always the case. Other factors can influence the best time to put your house on the market, including the specifics of your local housing market, job growth, current and projected mortgage rates, recent and proposed housing regulations as well as tax incentives.

So, when is the best time to sell a home in Canada? To find an answer we analyzed over a decade of sales data for two of the most active markets in Canada — Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver.

According to this analysis, the best-selling window to list a home in the Greater Toronto area isn’t always in the spring.

If you’re selling a house in York, Simcoe, Aurora, Burlington, Mississauga or Pickering, you may want to wait and list your home for sale in late summer or early fall.

Sellers who skipped the spring market and listed in the fall earned more on the sale than sellers who listed at any other time of the year. How much more? Anywhere from $6,800 to almost $90,000, on average.

Those selling a condo in the Peel, York, Halton, Mississauga and Brampton regions may also want to wait and list in the fall, when sellers earned, on average, from $3,600 to just over $43,000.

Infographic Toronto FINAL (1)

For the Greater Vancouver Area, the best-selling window to list if you’re selling a house in Vancouver, the North Shore, Squamish, Coquitlam, South Surrey and Richmond is sometime in early or late fall.

Sellers who skipped the spring market and listed in the fall earned, on average, $15,000 to almost $150,000 more on the sale of their home.

Those selling a condo in the Vancouver, the North Shore, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley regions may also want to wait and list in the fall, when sellers earned, on average, approximately $10,300 to just under $150,000.

Infographic Vancouver FINAL (1)

Keep in mind, these ideal listing windows are not based on conventional wisdom or gut feelings — it’s based on the analysis of seasonal sales patterns of homes based on the month they were first listed. Use this information to make a more informed choice on when to list your house or condo for sale.

Seasonal Differences When Selling Your Home

The best answer to “When is the best time of the year to sell?” really depends on the location of your home and the reasons for your decision. In order to get the best possible deal, here are tips for selling your home in any season.

Selling a house in the spring

People tend to shop for homes as the weather gets warmer, which is one reason why spring is the busiest time for buyer activity. Another advantage is that most people feel like their finances are in order by springtime because taxes are filed and, if applicable, a rebate is on its way. Finally, many buyers opt to look in the springtime, so that the move can take place before the fall when kids return to school. For sellers, it’s a good idea to use the winter months to prep your home to sell in spring. This means completing home upgrades, decluttering, depersonalizing and staging your home in the months leading up to the warmer weather.

Selling a house in the summer

Summer months are historically slower than spring when it comes to buying activity. Most buyers want to take advantage of the great weather and many will take vacations during these months when kids are out of school. But hotter weather doesn’t mean buying activity grinds to a halt. Buyers who are still looking during this time should be considered serious and, in some markets, the summer months showcase the property in a better light making it a stronger selling season.

Selling a house in the fall

Many buyers shopping in the fall will be highly motivated by short closing dates. That’s because buyers (particularly buyers with kids) want to get settled before school and schedules really get entrenched. That feeling of urgency can be a benefit to sellers, so use it wisely.

Selling a house in the winter

While winter is traditionally the slowest season for home sales, anyone who is shopping for a home during winter should be considered highly motivated. As a seller, be aware of this opportunity. To make it easier for buyers to access your home, make sure to keep sidewalks and patios clear of snow and leaves (if you live in a rainy climate) and add decor that showcases how cosy, comfortable and safe your home is given the blustery weather outside.

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Romana King

Romana King is an award-winning personal finance writer, real estate expert and the current Director of Content at Zolo Homebase. Romana has contributed to business and lifestyle publications including, Toronto Sun, Maclean’s, MoneySense, Globe & Mail Custom Content Team, and The Toronto Star. Among her achievements, Romana won silver for her annual Where to Buy Now real estate package in the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. In 2015, she won a SABEW Business Journalism award. When she was editor of CI Top Broker, Romana helped guide her team to obtain its first KRW Business Journalism nomination, and in 2011, she was part of a small team that helped MoneySense win Magazine of the Year at the 34th annual National Magazine Awards. Her north star is to consistently provide actionable, valuable and accurate information that helps elevate the financial literacy of everyone.