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When Is the Best Time to Sell a House?

A Complete Guide to Help You Decide Whether You Should Sell Your Home Now or Wait

Our definitive report uncovers the best (and worst) times to sell a house Up North Michigan. Using the most up-to-date hyperlocal market data, you’ll discover when homes sell for the highest prices, the months when real estate sells the fastest, and even when the most homes sell for cash.

The Home Selling Season Heats Up in the Spring

In the Michigan spring, when the snow thaws, trees bloom, and the days get longer, it’s easy to imagine why this season is thought to be the best time of year to sell a house throughout the state, including Up North.

But the biggest wish for the majority of home sellers is to sell for the most money in the shortest amount of time. So to help you make better decisions, this report details everything you need to know about the best and worst times to sell a house in Northern Michigan.

By using only the most up-to-date local market data, below we present detailed answers to the most important questions about when to sell a home in Petoskey and Harbor Springs, including:

The Best Time to Sell a House for the Highest Price

When it's time, selling a home for the highest price possible is usually everyone's number one priority. Of course, knowing when you can make the most money from your sale would certainly help achieve that goal.

While spring may be considered to be the best time to sell a house, is it really when sellers get the highest prices? Continue reading to find the time of year when homes sell for the most money and profit.

When Homes Sell for the Highest Prices

Standard Homes ($899,000 and less)

Prices per square foot for standard homes sold $899,000 and less, by month.
Month Square Foot Price
JunJune $315.13 /sqft
OctOctober $266.15 /sqft
JanJanuary $255.18 /sqft
FebFebruary $253.64 /sqft
JulJuly $253.15 /sqft
SepSeptember $252.86 /sqft
NovNovember $251.06 /sqft
MarMarch $249.79 /sqft
DecDecember $238.38 /sqft
AugAugust $236.98 /sqft
AprApril $229.32 /sqft
MayMay $225.28 /sqft

The best time to sell a standard house or condo for the highest price is June, when the average square foot price was $315.13. Perhaps surprisingly, October was next with homes selling at $266.15 per square foot followed by January of all months at $255.18.

The worst time for home sale prices is May, with an average closing price of $225.28 per square foot. April is a close second worst at $229.32 per square foot.

Context: Considering the best and worst months for selling prices, the standard home with the average size of 1,713-sqft sells for $539,818 in June (1,713-sqft x $315.13 per square foot) but just $385,905 a month earlier in May (1,713-sqft x 225.28).

So far, spring doesn't look too hot for selling prices after all, does it?

With a range of over 28% between the best month and the worst month, the time of year clearly makes a very big difference in the sale price of standard homes.

Just remember that the monthly prices shown here indicate when home sales were closed, which is often several weeks and sometimes months after the deals were made. So keep reading below where we find out when is the best time to list a home and put it on the market.

But first, let's next take a look at the best time for selling prices in the luxury home market Up North.

When Homes Sell for the Highest Prices

Luxury Homes ($900,000 and more)

Prices per square foot for luxury homes sold $900,000 and more, by month.
Month Square Foot Price
MayMay $733.17 /sqft
NovNovember $730.63 /sqft
DecDecember $628.35 /sqft
MarMarch $581.41 /sqft
JanJanuary $540.18 /sqft
OctOctober $510.59 /sqft
AugAugust $489.25 /sqft
FebFebruary $489.08 /sqft
JunJune $427.38 /sqft
SepSeptember $421.19 /sqft
JulJuly $413.48 /sqft
AprApril $406.09 /sqft

The luxury home market presents quite a different outlook when it comes to selling for the most money. May is currently the leading month with an average of $733.17 per square foot, followed closely by November with $730.63 per square foot, and lagging next is December at $628.35 per square foot.

As for the worst time for luxury home sale prices, April is the least profitable at $406.09 per square foot, nearly half as much as that in May!

While the luxury home market is much more nuanced compared to standard homes, it's pretty remarkable that there's a 45% difference between the best and worst months for selling prices.

The Best Time to List a Home for Sale

It’s one thing to know the months when a house or condo might sell for the highest price, but it's much more helpful to know when the best time is to list a home for sale.

Late Spring and Late Summer Listings Profit More

The vast majority of standard homes that sell for the highest prices are listed in the last month of spring. As we detailed above, June is the month when selling prices are highest, and 61% of those homes were put on the market in May.

The next best months to list a home for sale are August and September, when 53% (30% and 23% respectively) of these properties sold in October which was the second leading month for selling prices.

Home Sellers Beware the Ides of March

So the next biggest question might be when did the homes with the lowest selling prices go on the market?

Over half (52%) of the homes that sold in May, which was the worst month for selling prices, were listed in April. And when we consider the two worst months for selling prices, April and May, 64% were listed in March.

These one to two month timelines from listing (going on the market) to closing (actual sales) accurately reflect the average home sales cycles that we cover in our Local Home Market Reports.

Next we'll explore when homes sell the fastest and in which months it takes the longest to find a buyer.

When Sellers Find Buyers the Fastest

Now that we know the best months to list and sell a home for the highest price, the next priority is usually selling quickly. So how long does it take to get an offer on a house and find a buyer?

The chart below lists the months when contracts are signed the fastest and when getting an accepted offer takes the longest.

How Long it Takes to Get an Accepted Offer

This table shows the median days it takes to get an offer accepted and signed contract by the months homes were listed.

4 days
4 days
5 days
6 days
6 days
6 days
7 days
13 days
14 days
15 days
16 days
23 days

Months When Offers are Accepted the Fastest

The best months for getting an accepted offer the fastest are March and August, each taking a median time of just 4 days. But finding a buyer quickly takes just a day longer in December (5 days) which is slightly faster than in April, June and July which take a median of 6 days each.

Months that Take the Longest to Get Accepted Offers

September is the slowest month for sellers who want to get an offer and find a buyer quickly. Taking over three weeks, sellers have to wait a median 23 days before signing a contract with a buyer.

It also typically takes about two weeks to get an offer accepted in each of the months of January, May, October and November, which is a full week more than the rest of the year.

In the next section, we'll answer one of the most common questions that home sellers ask, "When is the most popular time to sell a house?"

The Best Months for Cash Offers

It’s not a secret that cash buyers are highly desired by home sellers and their agents. Homes that sell for cash tend to have less complicated closings, and without having to wait on financing approval (or a bank appraisal), cash sales often close the fastest. What’s not to like?

If a cash sale is a high priority, the months with the most cash buyers are March when 76% of home sales were cash, and September with 70% of transactions in cash. In fact, the period from January through March is, by far, the time of year with the highest percentage of cash sales at 65%.

When Is it Least Likely to Sell for Cash?

With the spring season in full swing, it may come as a surprise to many that it's the worst time to find a cash buyer. May is the worst month with when only 42% of home sales are for cash. But the entire spring quarter (April-June) is the time of year when sellers are least likely to find a cash buyer.

Key Takeaways

The most important points to consider from this report include:

  • Spring is when homes sell for the lowest prices and owners profit the least.
  • June is the best month for the highest home selling prices. But remember, this is when the sales closed, not when the sellers found buyers and signed contracts.
  • Sellers of luxury homes received the highest prices in May, but the holiday months of November and December are next best.
  • The majority of homes that sold for the most money were listed (put on the market) in May.
  • In terms of profit, it doesn't seem to matter when a luxury home is listed for sale.
  • Getting offers and finding a buyer quickly does not usually lead to the most profitable sales.
  • July stands out as a slower month for selling a home in Petoskey and Harbor Springs. This is likely due to 4th of July festivities, vacations and family commitments.
  • August and September mark the peak for home sales volume, but the least active months of January and February are when sellers profit more.
  • The first quarter of the year (January-March) is when the most homes are selling for cash, just ahead of the April tax filing deadline.
  • All real estate is local, and national trends cannot give you the whole picture. Instead, a local report like this article will always be mroe reliable and accurate because it combines data from a local source with local knowledge and specifics about the realities of our Northern Michigan housing market.

While conventional wisdom states that spring is the best time to sell a house in Michigan, this isn't always the case for the home market Up North. If nothing else, the information that is presented in this report highlights the value of working with a trusted real estate professional.

All content on this website is for information purposes only. Any information contained herein is not intended to provide legal or financial advice, nor does it create an agency relationship. All information is made available without any guarantee, warranty, or representation of any kind. It is your sole responsibility to seek the services of your own legal, financial, accounting, and real estate professionals prior to any such related decisions or transactions.

© Harbor Prime, All rights reserved. This information may not be copied, used, or distributed without Harbor Prime's consent.

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