Month by month guide to selling your house

Published on 15 February 2019

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that spring is the time to sell a house, but there are pros and cons to moving at any time of the year.

We take a look at why people wait for a particular month to get on the move.


January

New year, new you – new home? In between making (and breaking) new year's resolutions, many people also resolve to finally make that move they've been putting off over the previous 12 months.

A lot of first-time buyers, perhaps fed up with one too many Christmases at home, decide that the time is right to move out.

As people return to work and inevitably begin to scan the property sites in their spare time, you'll find that the start of the year is awash with new listings.

So the key is to get in early. Remember, surveys and getting your property listed can take time, so if you are planning to beat the rush, then you may need to make the necessary preparations before the Christmas break.

February

Typically, this is the time of year where the market is booming, and broadly speaking, the best time to sell is when the most people are looking.

But it works both ways: true, your property could get lost among the crowds with more choices now available; however, if you have a property that will stand out, you can benefit from the larger numbers browsing for a new house.

There is a school of thought that suggests you should see any potential property when the weather is miserable – if you see it at its worst, then you know what to expect. So while the freezing weather and snow are lingering, so are the hardiest of house-hunters.

March

With spring truly blooming, March is where you can get the perfect pictures of your property, and if anyone's coming round to view the house then (hopefully) any snow will have cleared. Good light and milder weather will certainly help create a feel-good factor.

It's also the case that the influx of new listings from the start of the year are starting to look a little stale by March.

If you can add something new to the mix, there is a good chance that your listing will be getting a great deal of attention, and according to Rightmove, this is the month that properties sell fastest.

April

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In 2019, the Easter holidays fall in April. For many, this is the first significant break in the school year to think about uprooting the family.

Many of those who’ve sold earlier in the year will be looking to move during the school holidays, and those thinking of moving in the summer will be beginning to search for their new home in earnest.

The Cumberland Sales & Lettings' local homes expert Emma Bell says: “Spring has always been the most popular time of year to move house.
"It is important to take advantage of the improved weather and make sure your property is looking its best, so that when people come to view it they are won over by how fresh and attractive it appears.”

May

Families are more prepared to go house hunting when the weather is nice. Most buyers form their first impressions of a house within seconds of arriving at a property, and in May you can see the houses in all their glory, while it also shows off the surrounding areas when they are looking their best.

The spring rush is usually dying down by this point, but the summer movers are getting ready to enter the party – your new listing will catch the eye of those planning to move during the school holidays.

Robyn Durdy, who sold her Lancaster home last spring to move to a larger new-build in Heysham, said: “The house we were moving into has a lovely big garden, so we wanted to get everything sorted in the spring so that it would be ready to enjoy in the summer.

"We put in the hard work straight away and were able to make the most of the great weather.”

June

The summer school holidays may be a good time to move, but house-hunting is no fun when you have the kids to keep entertained! June is seen by many as the last chance to tie-up a purchase in time for the six-week break, so again, it is a highly-motivated market at this time of year.

It's also worth noting that your competition will include a lot of houses that didn’t sell during the spring, so you will want to price your house accordingly.

July

You might think that summer holidays mean that people have a lot of free time for browsing and viewing properties, but the opposite is generally true.

Families tend to go away on holiday at the start of the break, so only the real dedicated house buyers will be keeping a close eye on property sites while everyone else is outside enjoying the sunshine.

August

Traditionally one of the slowest times of the year to sell, there's simply a lot going on that distracts people from looking for new homes.

Families are still heading off on holiday, and attention starts to turn towards preparing for the new school year.

But if you are confident that there would be plenty of interest in your house, it is worth considering listing your property while supply is at its lowest.

Ian Dunstan and his wife Jenny are both teachers in the South Lakes. They had sold their home in Ulverston as far back as April last year with the intention of having the whole summer holidays to settle into their new house in Urswick, but it was August before the process was complete.

Ian says: “Moving in the holiday was the plan, because we are both teachers. Perhaps we should have started the process earlier because we could have done with more time to transport our possessions as well as sorting them too.”

September

It's well-established that “nobody” wants to be moving house over Christmas, so the start of autumn sees the next big rush of houses coming onto the market.

First-time buyers often have the goal of getting into their new home in time for the festive period, so this is when they really step up their searches.

October

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As that Christmas 'deadline' starts to loom large, certain things start to happen in the housing market.

At the height of autumn it’s not unusual to see properties selling above their listing price as buyers compete to land a house.

Dean Abbott from The Cumberland Sales & Lettings says: “The countdown to Christmas motivates many house buyers into taking the plunge – there is little time to waste if they are to be in their dream home ready to welcome the family for the festive period.”

November

A month of two halves as we see a high number of houses bought at the start of November before all but the hardiest of buyers head into hibernation towards the end of the month.

As a result, houses listed for sale in November tend to take the longest to go to sale, according to Rightmove.

December

There are recent trends to suggest that a huge number of people are online in December planning out their moves for early next year, but very few people are actively viewing houses.

If you can hold out until Boxing Day, when those bored of Christmas television and turkey sandwiches tend to resume their searches, you can be in pole position to capitalise on the January rush.

Harry Atkinson, who bought his first flat in Carlisle last year, said: “I began my search before Christmas, but not many new listings came online until the new year.

"By January, there were a lot more options and I moved into my new flat the following month.”

Why The Cumberland Sales & Lettings?

The Cumberland Sales & Lettings sell more properties than any other estate agent in Cumbria and South West Scotland¹.

With our years of experience and in-depth local knowledge, selling your home with The Cumberland Sales & Lettings will help to make the biggest impact and maximise viewings of your property, so get in touch to book a valuation with our local property experts.

¹Based on Zoopla data covering sales between 1/1/18 to 31/10/18, sold subject to contract data only.