The best time to sell is generally anytime between mid-April and October 1, said Scott Sheldon, a senior loan officer at Sonoma County Mortgages, in California, and a Credit.com contributor. "The weather is nice. People are out looking for homes on the weekend."
More home buying activity means more demand, which could net you a higher price on your home, "especially if you're in an area of low inventory," Sheldon said.
Exceptions to the Rule
Of course, every housing market is different, and where you live could skew the timeline.
"Selling in the summer in Chicago is more favorable than selling in the summer in Phoenix or Miami," Heather McRae, a senior loan officer for Chicago Financial Services, explained in an email. "Now is a great time to be a seller in the Chicago market because the inventory is so low. There are so many buyers out there and not enough seller[s] … The cycle I see here is a big spring market, a slight slowdown in the middle of the summer, then a big fall market (but not as big as spring), and then a steady winter that is slower than summer but at a consistent, steady pace. If you're going to be a seller in Chicago and want to maximize your pool of buyers, I would venture to say listing your property for sale in March or April is the best time."
The unemployment rate could also affect your sale price, no matter when you list your home. High unemployment could mean low demand, which gives home owners less selling power. Conversely, "the lower the unemployment, the stronger the local economy is," Sheldon said. And that, like the warm weather, could put the ball back in a seller's court.
What If You're Looking to Buy?
Well, then you're probably going to be best served by waiting until winter. "Summer months to sell, winter months to buy in terms of the best deal," Sheldon reiterated.
Since good credit scores generally net the best terms and conditions on a mortgage, you'll want to make sure yours are in tip-top shape before you look for a new home.
If your credit is looking lackluster, you may be able to improve your score by disputing errors on your credit reports, paying down high credit card balances and limiting new credit inquiries until your score rebounds. You can also build good credit in the long-term by making all loan payments on time, keeping debt levels low and adding a mix of credit accounts as your wallet and score can afford them.
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