Here's what the experts say about the right times and the wrong times for putting your home on the market and having a successful sale — provided, of course, that you're not making any other home seller blunders.

The best month to sell a house

Mom and Two Daughters Laughing and Hugging Outside their New Farmhouse Home
Ursula Page / Shutterstock
Parents are often very interested in getting settled in a new home before the new school year.

When is the best time to put your house on the market? In general, the best months for home sales are in the summer, which is when prospective home-buyers have more time for vacations and other activities outside of work.

Experts agree that May is the best month to list a house. On average, you'll get a price that's 5.9% over market value in May — better than in any other month, the Attom researchers say.

And according to Zillow, homes sell fastest and for the most money during the first half of May: 18.5 days more quickly than at other time of the year, and for an average $1,700 more.

Why early May? Spring and its warmer weather tend to bring out house shoppers, and by May buyers who have children are usually concerned about getting settled into a new home in time for the upcoming school year.

But the very best day of the year for sellers isn't in May; it's June 28, Attom says, when sellers get an average 9.1% more than the estimated market value of their homes.

Redfin even says some days of the week have advantages. Homes listed on Thursdays sell fastest, while putting your house on the market on a Wednesday brings the most money. The seller of a $500,000 home could make $2,650 extra by listing on a Wednesday instead of a Sunday.

The worst month to sell a house

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House in the Snow.
Andy Dean Photography / Shutterstock
Christmas week can be the worst week to sell your home.

According to Attom, those selling a house in the fall or early winter (i.e. October and December) reported the lowest premiums.

One day of the year is worse than all others for sellers, according to real estate information company Attom Data Solutions: Dec. 26. That's when buyers score their biggest discounts.

Few people are interested in closing on a home during Christmas week, and buyers play hardball because they assume sellers must be very motivated if they want to make a deal over the holidays.

Homebuyers are often able to get more repairs out of sellers, more help with closing costs — and a cheaper price.

Attom's research finds there are only 10 dates out a typical year when sellers are forced to give discounts below their home's market value in order to make a sale, and most of those are in December. It's usually the slowest month for the real estate market.

The conventional wisdom has said that winter is generally a tough time to sell, but that's not necessarily the case. More on in just a bit.

But what about winter?

Man and woman in winter clothes in the yard of their house.
Oleg Golovnev / Shutterstock
Homebuyers tend to be more serious in winter.

Sellers shouldn't hibernate in winter. The market can be good in places with warmer climates, like Florida and the Southwest, but even chillier locations can be hospitable for home sales during the cold weather months.

Many homeowners make the assumption that they shouldn't even bother trying to sell during the winter, so people who do put their houses on the market have less competition when buyers' attention.

And, the buyers tend to be more determined. These are people who, for whatever reason, may need to move NOW — or maybe they're just not willing to wait until spring, when there will be not only more homes but also more buyers competing for them.

Real estate brokers tell there are a couple of other reasons January can be a surprisingly hot month for home sales: Buyers often have year-end bonuses to spend, and the month seems to be a popular time for corporate relocations.

Find out if it's time to go homing! Compare today's mortgage rates below.

About the Author

Doug Whiteman

Doug Whiteman


Doug Whiteman is the editor-in-chief of MoneyWise. He has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and and has been interviewed on Fox Business, CBS Radio and the syndicated TV show "First Business."

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