When is the best time to buy and sell a home?

It seems like timing may be just as important as location, location, location when it comes to buying a place.
It seems like timing may be just as important as location, location, location when it comes to buying a place. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

TORONTO — Timing can be everything. And choosing the right time to buy or sell a home could save you tens of thousands of dollars, according to some estimates.

Best time to sell

While there tends to be more inventory in the spring for buyers to choose from, there’s usually more competition as well, which bodes well for sellers.

The company came up with that date after analyzing five years of GTA real estate data. It showed May had the highest number of sales compared to any other month of the year and prices tended to be higher.

READ MORE: Sturdy as a house of cards? A look at Canada’s property boom

Possible reasons for that is that aside from nicer weather, a home tends to show better in spring and summer. More buyers may also be ready to buy as they might be using their tax refunds for the down payment. Plus, if they have kids, moving in summer means schooling isn’t interrupted.

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Fard added that, on average over the last five years in the GTA, selling in May can get you $60,000 more than if you were to sell in January.

Mark Di Vincenzo, the author of two books on timing including the bestseller Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noonhas also researched this topic and agreed that spring is the sweet spot for sellers and January is best for buyers.

Best time to buy went so far as to pinpoint the best day to buy down to the third Monday in January. But winter in general seems to be advantageous for buyers.

“If someone’s listing a house in the winter, it’s a fairly safe bet that they’re eager sellers and that they’re more open to negotiation. Otherwise they would wait for the spring,” Di Vincenzo explained.

“So if you’re a buyer, it really pays to be willing to trudge through bad weather…because you’re going to have eager sellers and you’re going to have less competition.”

READ MORE: House-hunting tips from the pros

Sellers can also be more motivated to accept an offer in January as the credit card bills from the holidays start to roll in, Di Vincenzo pointed out. The holidays themselves can also be a good opportunity for buyers.

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“Someone’s house can really be an emotional attachment, so the seller is thinking, ‘they must really love this house if they’re willing to make an offer on Christmas Day of all days.’

“And another factor that comes into play is …people are in good and generous moods on Christmas Day so they may very well be willing to accept less money than they normally would on any other day.”

People being just sick and tired of showings during the holidays can be another motivator, as B.C. realtor Sarah Daniels pointed out. She said she’s gotten some “very good deals” for buyers around Christmas time.

READ MORE: 4 dos and don’ts of buying your first home

Daniels is a firm believer, though, that the best time to buy and sell is whenever you’re ready.

“People are always looking to purchase a house…It’s not like there’s some giant rule that you have to list in spring.”

In fact, she has advised sellers who have a home in need of some work or that has a “less traditional layout” to put it on the market when there’s less competition (like fall or winter). It will likely have a better chance of being seen then and getting a good offer.

Pro tip: pricing

“There have been studies done that have shown that if people list their homes for an odd price, they make out better,” said Di Vincenzo.

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Walmart has figured this out, he added, saying it’s unusual to find a price in there that ends in a zero.

“It’s sort of an unexplainable psychological reasoning going on there. People rarely do it but it almost always pays off.”

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