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Ask Adam: When Is the Best Time To Sell?

By ARLnow.com

Tuesday - 8/21/2012, 11:35am  ET

This periodic sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

Question: When is the best time of year to sell a home in Arlington?

This is a question that comes up quite a bit. I’m going to share a couple tools I use to analyze the peaks and valleys of market activity. As usual, I’ll also share my opinions.

Google Insights provides a graphical analysis of when people are searching various subjects. Obviously real estate is the subject of interest for this article. It seems that year-after-year there is an incline in the amount of people searching for real estate that starts around the beginning of the year and peaks in July. There is then a decline that continues into November. As you might guess, the number of searches for real estate are the lowest during the winter holiday season. This is a demonstration of interest level, but does it translate into sales?

RBI provides a graphical analysis of real estate sales activity based on information collected by MRIS (our local multiple listing service). As you can see in the chart (right), sales activity follows a very similar trend to that of Google searches for real estate.

According to these charts, late spring and early summer are going to give you largest audience for the sale of your home, especially if you have identified families with children as your target market. I’ve found that many parents prefer not to have their kids switch schools in the middle of the year. They often like to start looking for homes in May and June.

This is also the time of year when the most homes are on the market, so there is naturally more competition between sellers. If you are not targeting families with children, then I don’t think you need to feel as constrained to May and June. You may do just as well during one of the shoulder months.

If at all possible I recommend not listing your home in November, December or January. People are distracted by the holidays, it’s not the most desirable climate to be shopping for a home and if you have a yard it is not going to look its best this time of year. To be on the safe side, take some pictures of the exterior of your home when it is in full bloom so that you can display them if you do have to sell your home mid-winter.

Another consideration I’ve been hearing about lately is the election. If there is a transition to a new president, it will cause people to move in and out of our area. That said, I can’t find any evidence that this event would create a significant enough amount of movement in Arlington for you to benefit from planning around it.

Other non-seasonal factors you should pay attention to are interest rates, limited time tax incentives and employment rates.

If you are considering the sale of your home and would like a look how your local market is performing, please feel free to send me an email: adam@arbourrealty.com