Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 10, 2017

Don’t wait till Spring to put your house on the market

The age-old logic has been that a homeowner should wait until spring to put their home on the market in preparation for summer selling season. Recent shifts in buying patterns and climate change have proven this logic to be flawed.

The first issue to consider is tax refunds and the first-time buyer. With the advent of electronic filing, the first-time buyer now has more money in their pocket at the end of February than any other point in the year.

This refund money is a prime candidate for the down payment on a new home. This practice starts the buying season earlier than past years when the postal service delivered refunds in March and April.

As a result, we are seeing homes sales peak earlier in the summer than has been the tradition. Home sales peaked at 977 units in June of 2016, closely followed by May at 944 units. July represented a distant fifth place with 843 homes sold. Thus the earlier listings are closing earlier in the year.

Another issue to consider is the amount of competition on the market.

The inventory of homes available for sale is at its lowest during the winter months. Using 2016 as an indicator, our market saw between 1,318 and 1,363 homes entering the market March-June.

While there is not an oversupply of properties for sale, there certainly is increased competition as we head into summer.

This would be in contrast to January 2016 when we saw 596 new listings enter the market. The flow of buyers began searching for homes online immediately after the holidays, finding a better supply than usual.

A final factor to consider, this year in particular, is the looming rise in interest rates and decreased affordability.

While there is no crystal ball to forecast how much mortgage rates will rise this year, they have certainly been on a slow march upward. Now is the time to get your home on the market and sold so you can lock in a low interest rate on your next home.

While it may be cold outside – and the natural inclination is to wait until Spring – get off the couch and call an experienced Realtor today. There is no better time to get your home on the market than now.

The Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,700 members and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors.

 GCAR services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. Go to www.GCAR.net for more information.