Best Selection vs. Best Deals

Sell in May and go away.

–stock market saying

At least by lore, there are seasonally better (and worse) times to make moves in the stock market.

Are there any equivalents in real estate?


While seasonal timing can be trumped by events — Presidential elections, wars, expiring tax credits — there do seem to be some predictable peaks and troughs to the Twin Cities’ housing market.

To no one’s surprise, Spring is probably the best time to sell.

That’s when Buyers are out in force; families who buy then can be in place for the Fall school year; and, well, “animal spirits” just seem to be higher then (along with the sun and the temp!).

Best Selection vs. Best Deals

So when’s the best time to buy?

In terms of choices, definitely Spring again, because of the foregoing factors.

However, the best time to get a real estate deal is typically Fall.

That’s when Sellers who’ve been on the market all Summer (and perhaps Spring) have to decide whether they’re serious about selling.

If they are, they need to price their home to truly stand out from the competition, then give serious consideration to whatever offers materialize.

If not, they need to be prepared to own their home through much of the winter, because the Twin Cities housing market typically decelerates considerably between Thanksgiving and early Feb. (believe it or not, the Super Bowl traditionally marks the beginning of the “Spring” housing market locally!).

Tack on 6-8 weeks for a typical closing, and you’re suddenly not getting cashed out until April, 2010 (yes, 2010!).

So why isn’t Thanksgiving or Christmas day an even better time to buy?

While you certainly won’t have much competition from other Buyers then, as you might guess, most Sellers don’t want to spend the holidays prepping their homes for showings, vacating for inspections, etc.

Of course, that’s assuming that the Sellers’ homes are still on the market, and they’re not traveling or entertaining then.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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