November is THE month to get in touch with your real estate agent and start planning for those contemplating selling a home in the spring, assuming you want a quick sale at top-dollar that will net you the most money at the closing table. 

For several reasons.

For starters, even the nicest homes are not in peak form for excellent real estate photos and showings. A certain amount of painting, decluttering and maintenance is nearly always advisable. Sometimes even a little facelift remodeling. And it takes time–probably more time than ever–to complete projects. There are simply too few participants in these labor industries to make it easy to quickly turn around high-quality, affordable projects.

That being said, November-January is when these contractors are least busy and looking for work, and maybe even open to bringing their prices down a bit, to stay busy. The agent-seller teams that plan in November and get rolling will have better contractor experiences and have their house ready when it counts.

Which, these days, is… by Feb 1.

That’s right, Feb 1–if not sooner. The old school idea that the “Spring Market” is in April-May needs a little adjustment. Those months are still the busiest for purchase contracts. But in recent years we are clearly seeing buyer activity pick up closer and closer to the New Year. Sellers that are ready first when inventory is lowest and buyer activity is starting to suddenly pick up are in a great position. And even if a seller wants to wait a bit before listing, they are in a position to do so knowing that their house will be ready to shine when they are ready to market it. 

Conversely, wait until February or March to get your plan afoot and you will likely be paying more for house-prep, waiting longer for it to be complete–because by March a lot of contractors, painters, etc are booked 2+ months out–and missing the Spring Market altogether.