The Best Time To Sell Your House? [Analyze This]



"Hey Osman, when should we list our home for sale?" It's one of the most common questions we get from new clients. 

Short answer: late winter. This maximizes limited supply and an increasing wave of buyers entering the market.

"Show me the data," you say? Of course. As our clients know, we don't make market predictions without evidence to support our conclusions. Fact based decision making is just how we roll. 

The chart above shows the absorption rate for the City of Boulder. The red line is for stand alone, single family houses. The white line is for town homes and condos. The series is based on the average absorption for a three year period. The data is from the MLS with an analysis by yours truly (the MLS doesn't show absorption directly). 

What's absorption?  
Absorption is the percentage of listings that sell in any given month. Once under contract, most deals close in 30-45 days. Our time series takes the most recent sales as a percentage of the previous month's inventory. 

Is it a perfect analysis? 
Of course not, there's no such thing. Conditions in your neighborhood, for your property type and price range will vary. This analysis is good enough to show you that, in general, the best time to list is late winter into early spring. 

It also shows you what happens if you chose the wrong agent. If you got poor advice and inferior marketing, here is what happens when your listing period extends into late summer or longer. The absorption begins to fall in June - from a peak of nearly 70% for attached dwellings and over 50% for detached houses, to 55% and 40% respectively. Worse, absorption keeps declining all the way to November. In December, there's a small boost in sales volume, most likely due to sellers capitulating to low offers. 

Most Realtors think it's always a good time to buy and sell. What they mean is that it's a good time to buy or sell for them. They have bills to pay, after all. The truth is that it simply can not be a good time to both buy and sell. 

Remember: All real estate markets are seasonal and cyclical, including Boulder real estate. We're nearing the end of a long cycle in the general economy. Some say we are already headed for a bear market. Where jobs go, real estate tends to follow. 

An intelligent real estate strategy considers your personal circumstances and seasonal/cyclical market dynamics. Talk to a Realtor who understands their fiduciary duty and can advise you on how to maximize the potential of your specific real estate situation.  


Osman Parvez  is the Founder and Employing Broker of House Einstein. Originally from the Finger Lakes region of New York, he lives in Boulder with his wife and their Labrador Retriever. He has been a Realtor since 2005.

Osman is the primary author of the House Einstein blog with over 1,200 published articles about Boulder real estate. His work has also appeared in many other blogs about Boulder as well as mainstream newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and Daily Camera. For more information, click HERE.

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Thinking about buying or selling and want professional advice?  Call us at 303.746.6896. Your referrals are deeply appreciated.  

The ideas and strategies described in this blog are the opinion of the writer and subject to business, economic, and competitive uncertainties. House Einstein strongly recommends conducting rigorous due diligence and obtaining professional advice before buying or selling real estate.  

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This document contains forward-looking statements. You are strongly cautioned that investment results are subject to business, economic and other uncertainties. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time. Always consult your financial advisor before making an investment decision.