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For Sale by Owner Articles • - Home Selling Tips

The Best Time To Sell

By Robert Irwin
Many of those who are selling their homes on their own wonder if one time of the year is better than another for finding a buyer. Do you stand a better chance of selling in June or December? In August or January? Or is any time equally good... or bad!
The truth of the matter is that there are certain times of the year when buyers are out in flocks, and other times when they aren't. It relates to holidays and school. The bad time for selling a home is around the end of the year when there are many holidays. People tend to be more interested in parties and celebration than in house hunting. Indeed, probably the very worst home selling week of the year is between Christmas and New Years.
On the other hand, the best time of the year is right now. We're nearing the end of the school year and beginning of summer vacation for most children. This is perfect timing for a family to find a home and move. In fact, something like 40 percent or more of all home sales occur in the late spring and early summer. So, if you're thinking of selling, don't waste time - the hot buying season is right now.
Even if it's in a good time of the year for selling, is it also a good time for marketing a home "by owner"? Actually, it's an excellent time, given current strong market conditions in most (but not all) areas of the country. Interest rates, though rising, have remained relatively low. The economy seems to be improving with more jobs. And people are thinking about upgrading to a new (for them) home. In most parts of the country, the market is sizzling hot which translates into rising home prices and low inventories. This should be of particular interest to FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sellers. (If you're in an area where prices are soft, check next week's column on selling in a down market.) A hot market means there are more buyers than normal. That quickly depletes the inventory of existing homes until buyers, in some cases, make bids on home as soon as they reach the market. In some areas multiple bids are common. For example, in the area of Los Angeles where I live the normal inventory of existing homes is around 800 to 900 properties. Last month there were less than 200 properties for sale!
As a result, buyers are driven to consider properties that are higher in price, that are outside of their desired neighborhoods, and that may be larger or smaller than ideal for them. In other words, there's a scramble for the few remaining homes.
An inventory-shy market is a perfect opportunity to sell your home on your own. Just put out a sign, list on the Internet, and you should soon have buyers knocking at your door.
Interestingly enough, in a hot market when prices are rising and it's easier to sell, there can be fewer "by owner" sellers. I think the reason is that with price appreciation and increased equities many sellers feel they can more easily afford the commission. If you're thinking that way, keep in mind that money doesn't grow on trees. The substantial amount that you can save by selling on your own, is money you can put into another house, or in the bank. It's something you can count on when times aren't so prosperous.
Robert Irwin is the most prolific real estate writer in America having produced over 100 published books in the field. His TIPS & TRAPS McGraw-Hill series has sold well over a million copies and his FOR SALE BY OWNER KIT and FIND IT, BUY IT, FIX IT and other books have been strong sellers for Dearborn.
In addition Irwin writes a regular real estate column for The Wall Street Journal online and is introducing a new weekly column
Irwin has sold his own property "by owner" and during over 30 years in the business has been a broker and consultant to lenders, agents, buyers and sellers.
He can be reached through his website

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