Selling Your Home in the 4th Quarter of 2020

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Eventually, nearly all homeowners consider selling their properties. Whether it’s because of an upcoming move or a big lifestyle change, selling your home is a natural part of the real estate cycle.

If you’re a homeowner who’s at this stage right now, you’re faced with a choice: should you sell your home right now, or wait it out? As we begin the fourth quarter of 2020, it’s important for prospective sellers to understand the market conditions fueling today’s real estate trends.

The housing market follows its own ebbs and flows that impact the process and outcome of buying and selling houses. Usually, this acts as a basic guideline that buyers and sellers can follow to plan out their transactions and prepare for the best outcome.

However, 2020 will surely go down in history as the year when disruptions re-wrote all the norms we’re accustomed to – including the real estate sales cycle.

So far, this year has seen a pandemic, an economic decline, and long term market closures that have turned the regular rhythms upside down. Coupled with the socially-distant climate of remote real estate sales, 2020 is unlike anything we’ve seen before… or could even imagine.

All the while, these conditions are resulting in some interesting developments in the real estate sales arena. In this post, we’re breaking down exactly what homeowners need to know about selling their properties in the fourth quarter of 2020. 

The Fourth Quarter’s Legacy 

Spanning from October 1st to December 31st, quarter four is typically the slowest time for real estate. It’s the holiday season and the junction between autumn and winter, and these three months are customarily known for holiday vacations, settling into the school season, and taking time off to relax with friends and family.

As such, many sellers choose not to sell during this period, while buyers traditionally wait for springtime to plan their next move. If the fourth quarter is real estate’s slow season, then the second quarter is the hot season. In fact, data collected over the last 8 years shows that June is the best time to sell a home. Not surprisingly, that same report names fall and winter to be the worst times to sell a home.

This is one of the most fundamental real estate trends – sales typically follow a set high season and a slow season. Buyers and sellers have lived by these predictions for years, and these cycles rarely fall short of expectations.

Under normal circumstances, selling your home during quarter four can be difficult. The greatest advantage for sellers looking to list their home during real estate’s offseason is that there won’t be too much competition. With fewer homes for sale on the market, sellers have the advantage – but at a time when buyers are also scarce, it’s still tough to navigate. 

Breaking Out of the Box 

Keep in mind that it’s not impossible to sell during the fourth quarter, it’s simply more complicated because of the annual cycles. The truth is that people are constantly trying to move and relocate. The market will always see buyers and sellers step outside of the normal real estate trends – but, selling a home is certainly time-sensitive and requires a carefully considered strategy to move forward with ease. 

Life is full of surprises, and we never know what’s coming our way… a lesson that dominated 2020’s real estate market. 

2020 Market Conditions 

As a result of the pandemic and the global disruptions that came on COVID’s coattails, 2020’s real estate trends have been far outside of the norm. In the United States, the pandemic first made significant ground in March – which is right at the beginning of real estate’s typical high season. 

Inventory dropped, buyers fled the market, sellers removed their listings, and prices dipped all at once – in the middle of what was supposed to be the high season. This came as a major surprise to both buyers and sellers, many of whom had been waiting for this time to move forward with their real estate goals. 

For the most part, real estate transactions were put on pause during the spring and summer months. In the springtime, there was so much uncertainty that both buyers and sellers temporarily abandoned their efforts in the housing market. When summer finally rolled around, the outlook was significantly brighter than before. Real estate had successfully migrated online, markets began to reopen, and the world started living according to ‘new normals’. 

When this happened, buyers hit the market with an eagerness unparalleled as all of those pending sales were finally able to close and new transactions were kicking off. Today, we’re seeing a continuation of that buyer interest as homes are being picked off the market at incredible speeds. At the same time, many sellers have still not decided to list their homes. The sale inventory is far lower than usual as buyers are snapping up homes quicker this year. 

Right now, it’s not uncommon to see bidding wars happen over properties as the options are slim. Real estate experts are naming this a seller’s market, where sellers have the main advantage. 

Buyers are forced to choose from the low inventory, prompting them to be more flexible about pricing, timelines, and other sales details. In this real estate atmosphere, sellers don’t need to worry so much about their listings sitting unnoticed or having to win over buyers. Instead, buyers are flocking to sellers and their homes for sale. 

If this balance of supply and demand continues into the fourth quarter, sellers may be privy to unparalleled market conditions. These favorable circumstances can set the grounds for a successful, quick, and profitable sale.

To Sell or Not to Sell? 

Ultimately, the decision to sell your home is up to you. Each seller has their own set of conditions that will motivate their decision to list now or to bide their time and wait. The decision to sell your home is a monumental choice that will impact your life for years to come – meaning it’s nothing to take lightly. 

While the fourth quarter of any year is traditionally not the best time to sell, things are different this time around. 2020 has introduced a new set of unique and unexpected market conditions that are rewriting real estate trends and flows. 

As such, posting your home for sale right now may be a wise strategy. Buyers are looking for homes all around the country at a time when most sellers still aren’t confident enough to post their listings. The demand is severely outweighing the supply, providing sellers with leverage that’s rarely seen in real estate - especially in the middle of the ‘slow’ season. 

Considering these special circumstances, 2020’s fourth quarter might be time to take the leap and sell your home. After all, these conditions won’t last forever. Quarter four is gearing up to be a seller’s market, providing the chance to facilitate a powerful and profitable home sale. 

Who’s ready to sell? If you’re looking to move forward with your sale, consider listing your home on HomeFinder’s real estate platform. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts.