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Ask Adam: Is Spring Really the Best Time to Sell a Home?

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

Question: I’ve heard that spring is the best time to sell a home, but I am having a hard time finding any way to substantiate this claim. Can you show me numbers that indicate when the most homes are going under contract?  

Ask Adam real estate seasons graphYou have likely found that most of the sales data available online is limited to when homes have sold. For your analysis it is more important to understand when homes are going under contract. I’ve been tracking this data and have put under contract sales for 2012 and 2013 in the following chart for you to review.

In both years the Arlington real estate market peaked in March, April and May.  As probably expected, the slowest months were January, February, November and December. That said, there were still 100 or more sales taking place during each of these slower months.  And, the sellers probably had fewer listings to compete with than if they had put their home on the market in prime selling season.

An argument can be made for selling during just about any given time of year if you are looking at things from a macro level. I suggest considering the trends for your neighborhood or condo building. For example, maybe your particular neighborhood sees the bulk of its sales as soon as yards come back in bloom or when schools let out for the summer.  If you own a townhouse in Ballston or Clarendon, you may find that sales are strong all 12 months of the year.

You’ll also want to take into consideration any current events that may affect your sale. For example, last year the government shutdown slowed homebuyer activity in the last quarter of the year. The coast appears clear at the moment, but you’ll want to keep abreast of local and national news.

There are some very knowledgeable realtors in Arlington that are engrossed in the real estate market 365 days a year. I recommend establishing a realtor relationship early in the decision making process. They can lend their expertise in helping you determine when and how to sell your home in order to maximize your return.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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