We’re often asked this seemingly simple question: “When is the best time to sell my Chicago home?
Many assume the answer is of course spring. But a spring listing isn’t right for everyone.
To help decide what’s best for your situation, here are the pros and cons of selling in each season:
Let’s face it, few cities anticipate spring like Chicago!
It gets warm again, farmers’ markets are out in force, baseball is back in season, and street festivals start to get planned. So everybody’s out, celebrating the survival of another Chicago winter. And eager to find their new home before the next winter hits.
Pro: Largest buyer pool
Selling your house in spring means you’re hitting the ground running during the traditionally busiest season. The major advantage here is of course that you’re reaching the largest buyer pool.
Moreover, selling a house in the spring means less pressure to take an offer that doesn’t meet your expectations.
A spring listing gives you the luxury of time. You can confidently wait a few weeks for the right offer.
In addition, from the perspective of having your home look its best, spring means your outdoor space can begin to shine. And buyers are motivated by the idea they can immediately enjoy these outdoor spaces in the coming summer and fall.
However, let’s not assume spring is the best time to sell a house in Chicago.
Con: More listings on the market means your home needs to really stand out from the crowd
Since you’re getting access to a larger pool of buyers, you’ll have to redouble your effort to stand out from the crowd of other listings. You will really need to work and make your place look its best to attract the best offer.
It’s true that a larger pool means you can hold out for a better offer. But it also gives savvy buyers the opportunity to do the same.
Pro: More time to sell before next winter
This is especially important for those wishing to sell their home and then immediately close on a new home.
Or for those with a very unique property where more time is needed for the right buyer to surface.
If either of these are your situation, then of course appropriate planning will be more important than ever. Lean on your broker to help you get organized and schedule everything in a timely way.
Tip: Ask your broker to have your home professionally photographed during the season when it looks best!
When summer is in full swing, it’s hard to argue against Chicago’s endless curb appeal. The city truly shines.
Warm weather and bright skies means people will be out in force. Between bouts of beach time and languid walks around historic Chicago neighborhoods, many of the people who waited out the spring rush will be looking for their new home now.
Pro: Summer is the best chance to showcase your home’s outdoor spaces
If your home, townhouse, condo or loft has a swimming pool or some really beautiful outdoor space, Summer may be your best season to list.
Selling in summer means you can make the most of that pool, balcony, terrace or roof deck. Make them glorious and really wow potential buyers!
Pro: Summer brings unique buyer groups
Summer can be the best time to sell your Chicago home because of two unique buyer groups:
- Parents trying to buy a house and move in before the school year starts.
- First-time buyers whose leases are expiring (in Chicago many leases are timed to expire in summer).
Both provide unique challenges and rewards if courted properly.
To reach these buyers, create an ideal listing experience. One that propels your buyer to make a quick ‘YES’ decision.
So when selling your home in the summer, think about catering to first-time buyers or buyers with kids needing to get settled before school starts.
Con: Competing for attention with summer activities and vacations
Selling your house in summer means competing against all the other summer activities Chicago has to offer. Plus, there’s a similar volume of listing competition as in the spring.
Moreover, while it’s not France where people are on holiday the entire month of August, you will be competing for attention against summer vacation time.
It’s true, Chicago is a city with almost too much to do every summer. So for those buyers in less of a hurry, you’ll want to motivate them by making your home really stand out. In addition to getting your home ready for showing, make those outdoor spaces compelling!
Resource: Summer guide to Chicago
When the days start cooling off and you overcome the initial panic of seeing the first red leaves, you know fall is upon you.
Slowly, you start to realize that your friends who had been losing their heads all summer were right: Winter is coming! But luckily, it’s not too late to list your home.
Pro: A brief resurgence in the market with increased buyer urgency
The fall has some truly outstanding reasons that justify it as a candidate for the best time to list your home.
First of all, fall still has a window of expiring leases and back-to-school families trying to close before their year turns upside-down.
Furthermore, all those procrastinators who were focused on enjoying their summer now need to make buying their new home a top priority.
The various groups coming together make fall uniquely suited to a brief resurgence of the real estate market before Chicago winter hits.
Con: Need to sell it fast
With the holidays in sight, you’ll need to show well and sell fast.
Once you reach the the end of October, your chances of closing this year drop dramatically.
Common objections you’ll face, even if unsaid, will be potential buyers who are remiss to close on a property whose extras or amenities won’t be enjoyed for a few months.
This is especially true for those selling a Chicago condo, when buyers typically want to start enjoying their outdoor pools right away. For those selling a single-family home, the deeper you get into fall, the less impact your landscaping will have on curb appeal.
If you haven’t taken your photographs yet, get it done early in the season. The unique fall palette will give a warm and inviting look to your listing photos.
Winter – the time when all Chicagoans become power-walkers, spending as little time as possible outside.
If you haven’t listed your house yet, you’re either worried or confident. Whichever one you are, you’re right.
Chicago’s winter is still a contender for the best time to sell your house.
Whether winter is the best time for you to sell all depends on your needs and your strategy.
Pro: Limited competition
The winter’s opportunities come with an overall lack of competition. Comparatively speaking, few houses list in the winter.
As long as you’ve got a strong marketing plan and solid numbers to back up your list price, you’ll have access to an exclusive pool of buyers that are either unafraid of a winter move or planning ahead for a warmer climate.
Winter buyers are often relocating from out of town for a new job. Many of these buyers have corporate relocation packages. They’re motivated to get settled in quickly and get to work.
Con: Far fewer buyers
If you find your listing dragging in early winter, consider pulling it off the market for a few weeks. Sellers often underestimate how all consuming the holidays can be. In fact, it may be better to wait until the New Year.
If you’re selling a single-family homes in winter it can take hard work. For example, you’ll be shoveling snow quite a bit to keep up your listing’s curb appeal.
You’ll want to show buyers what their new home will look like during the most desirable months in the city.
Of course you already had your professional pictures taken earlier in the year, right?
If your place isn’t quite ready to list, winter is a great time to get it ready to list in the spring.
Conclusion: Every season has it’s advantages for selling your Chicago home
The best season really depends on your needs.
Not everyone has a choice as to timing. But if you do, this article has given you some pros and cons of selling your Chicago home in each season.
We hope it gives you some insight to answer for yourself the question, “when is the best time to sell my Chicago home?”
More questions? Contact us we’re here to help.