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With over 45 years in the Central Ohio area
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When is the Best Time to Buy a Home or Sell a Home?   

Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? When is the best time to buy and sell real estate?

Would you rather make $50,000 when you sell your home or $25,000 when you sell?

It is often the case that people buy homes based on their feelings. They fall in love with the features and look of a home and want to buy it right then. While it is possible that they have found a very unique home and there are no homes similar, what we have seen in central Ohio is typically there are many homes with the features someone wants. In which case, why not fall in love with a home at a time which will maximize the money you can make?

Below we remove our feeling from the analysis and discuss the numbers which show that unless there is an overriding reason to buy or sell at a particular time, then it is in your financial interest to do it at certain times depending on your situation. Love your home and make more money too!

We have made more money buying and selling real estate than any other investment. We would like to help you do the same! When buying and selling real estate it is to your advantage that you work with both experienced Realtors and those who know the local real estate market. It is to your advantage that you work with The Selling Columbus Team. Contact us today and find out more about how we help with buying and selling real estate. Our service is free for buyers! If you need to both sell & buy we offer discounts.

Is Winter a Good Time to Buy or Sell Real Estate?

Do you want to buy or sell a home for less money?

Homes in the winter are listed for less money. That is what the Listing Prices chart shows with the median list and sale prices. The median price is found by putting all homes in order from highest price to lowest price and identifying the one in the middle, the median.

Because we are looking at a very large number of homes in this chart, all homes in the Columbus Multiple Listing Service, and there is no distinguishing factor between homes, the chart reflects overall prices as well as the median. As you can see, the chart shows that Listing Prices are lower in the winter with D-14 (December 2014), J-15 (January 2015), and F-15 (February 2015). The highest Listing Prices being in May, June, and July which is the start of the new price season in central Ohio.

The Listing Prices chart also starts at the left lower than it finishes at the right. As time passes real estate values typically increase. In central Ohio we typically do not have big up and down price swings seen in other areas in the country. This chart is typical of central Ohio Listing Prices from year to year where we see about 5% price increases.

Columbus and central Ohio single family home listing prices for December 2014 through November 2015

How important is length of time to sell a home?

It costs more money when your home is on the market longer. Homes which are on the market longer end up selling for less money. Buyers think there must be something wrong that no one has wanted to buy this home for so long, therefore they will make a very reduced offer. This is why when you are selling your home that pricing it right to begin with is so important. This means knowing the market and the likely amount you will be able to bring in a buyer who will make a good offer.

The Days on Market chart (Often thought of as Number of Days to Sell) shows that February and March have the highest CDOM (Continuous Days On Market). The days on market is determined after a home is sold. If February and March is when the home sold, then it is likely that the home was put in contract about 45 days or a month and a half prior, which would be December and January. The Buyers were looking and making their offer in the winter months.

Columbus and central Ohio single family home Days on Market (A.K.A. Days to Sell) for December 2014 through November 2015

How close to the asking price should you expect?

We are often asked for our opinion on how much to offer for home. Offer too little and the sellers may get offended. An offended seller is not the best to work with when buying as they do not want to give the buyer much in the way of reduced price or help them with other things which can come up during inspections. It is better to have the seller happy to sell their home and wanting to do what they can to help the buyer.

The Sold to List Ratio chart shows that in January the average seller gets about 92% of their asking price. Compare this with the high in June of about 96% If you are moving into a more expensive home, then doing this in the winter months is good for you. You may get less money for the home you currently own, but you are also paying less for the more expensive home. The Sold to List Ratio chart shows this to be about a 4% difference. If you are selling a $300,000 home, 4% is $12,000. If you are buying a $400,000 home, 4% is $16,000. That would put you ahead $4,000 just by selling and buying in the winter.

There are some benefits to selling in the winter:

  • Less competition from other sellers
  • Buyers are more determined to purchase
Columbus and central Ohio single family home Sold Price to List Price Ratio for December 2014 through November 2015

Do you benefit as a buyer or seller when there are fewer homes on the market?

People generally do not like looking for homes in the winter. This often requires being out in ice and snow and cold driving around. Then there is the getting out and walking through the cold and snow to look over the exterior of the home. For many of the same reasons, sellers prefer not having their home on the market in the winter. These things combined with the lower prices and lower List to Sale Ratio and people do not feel like selling during the winter.

As the Number of Listings chart shows there are fewer homes for sale during the February, March, and April months, about 8,000. Compare this with August when there are over 9,000 homes actively listed for sale. Who is selling in the winter? Sellers are often those who have to sell for one reason or another, such as relocating for job. Buyers are often those who are seriously looking (not just browsing around) and they are looking to get a deal before spring, when prices and demand tends to increase.

Columbus and central Ohio single family home Number of Listings (A.K.A. Homes for Sale) for December 2014 through November 2015

In Summary

Is winter a good time to buy or sell real estate? It really depends on each person's situation. If you are a buyer, then winter is a good time to get a lower price home as there are fewer buyers out looking and sellers are often willing to take less money or make other concessions. If you are a seller, then only when moving into a more expensive home are you typically ahead to sell in the winter. There are often other considerations, but if you have an option, then take the option which benefits you the most financially, when you can.

A home may be your largest investment. We want you to make a lot of money, just as we have, buying and selling real estate. There are other factors to consider besides time of the year. In our article Real Estate Growth Rate and Making Money From Your Home Sale we provide a real example of two similar homes purchased around the same time for the same price with very different sale results.

If you are thinking about selling or buying a home, then contact us. The Selling Columbus Team has the experience you want to handle your real estate needs in a smart and financially beneficial way. It is to your financial benefit to work with experienced real estate professionals who know the local market. It pays to work with The Selling Columbus Team.

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The Selling Columbus Team Saves People Money

Lori & Greg discuss one way they save people money by knowing the market for winter home sales and how this affects a buyer or seller.

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Multiple Listing Service (MLS) search is the number one source for available homes and condominiums for sale throughout Columbus and central Ohio. We have direct access to the Columbus Board of Realtors MLS and provide this information to our clients. With direct access there is no delay from the time a home is listed for sale to when we have access to the information.

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Lori Swearingen, Team Leader
Coldwell Banker Realty
Certified New Home Sales Professional
Mobile:(614) 595-5510

Greg Swearingen
Coldwell Banker Realty
Marketing Specialist
Mobile: (614) 595-0468

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If you are planning to buy a home or sell a home, let the Selling Columbus team help you. The Selling Columbus team provides customized searching and email notifications when a home comes on the market. You do not have to wait a week for it to show up in a search engine. The Selling Columbus team also provides information on the latest condos in the downtown, Arena District, Short North, German Village, and Brewery District areas. We give you direct access to homes for sale and condos for sale directly from the Columbus Ohio Multiple Listings Services (MLS). Put the experience of the Selling Columbus team to work for you.
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