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Ask Eli: Best Time To Sell a House

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: When is the best time of year to sell a house?

Answer: Statistically, the best time to put a home on the market in Arlington is in March, with February and April a close second. August and September seem to be the worst statistical months to put a home up for sale, with December a runner-up.

However, this is simply based on historical averages and doesn’t mean you are guaranteed success in March and can’t have a wildly successful sale in August.

Remember, all it takes is one person to buy your home, so don’t let the data get in the way of the timing that makes the most sense for you.

The Data

I broke down past sales in Arlington from 2015-2017, broken out by single-family homes, townhouses and apartments (condos) based on the month they were put on the market for sale.

Cells highlighted in green historically perform better than the market in that category for the month listed. Average Negotiated Discount is the amount buyers are able to negotiate off of the original asking price.

I debated including Purchase Price because the data is a bit misleading.

For example, the average purchase price for a single-family home listed in March is about $100,000 more than the average purchase price of a single-family home listed just two months later in June, but that doesn’t mean that if you list your single-family home in March vs June, you can expect to sell it for $100,000 more.

I think the first three columns are the most important because they highlight the amount of bargaining power you command or lose (Negotiated Discount), how time of year impacts expected time to sell (Days on Market), and how much new competition you’re likely to face (New Listings).

One of the big advantages of listing in an unfavorable time of year, when buyers bargain more and sellers have longer sales cycles, is that you face less competition, which if you take the right home sale approach, may actually work in your favor.

The Data


The conclusion I want you to take away from this column is that if you have the luxury of choosing when you go to market, you should take advantage of historical trends to give yourself the best chance of maximizing your home sale.

However, most people don’t have the luxury of picking exactly when they put their home on the market, so it is more important to do what makes sense for you than to follow the averages because it only takes one buyer, not one hundred, for you to have a successful sale.

If you are planning to sell your home and would like more customized data specific to your home, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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