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When should I put my home on the market?

Ready to move on? Before you pop up the for sale sign, here’s how to get the timing just right to get the best price for your home.

Words by: Nic Hopkirk

Senior Editor

Planning to sell your home and take your next step on the housing ladder?

You’ll want to make sure your most valuable asset is sold at the best time in the right way.

Springtime is the best time for marketing your home. 

Between February and June, the housing market bursts into action as buyers start looking for somewhere new.

The next best time is autumn, between September and October, as people hope to get settled into a new place in time before Christmas.

Thinking of selling?

Get the ball rolling with an in-person valuation of your home. It’s free and there’s no obligation to sell if you change your mind.

The quietest times of the year for the housing market are in the summer, from July to August, when everyone’s holiday, or just before Christmas, from November to December. 

If you put your home up for sale in a quieter time, it could mean it hangs around for a while.

That in turn may mean buyers might think there’s something wrong with it.

‘That first four to six weeks of marketing a property are so important,’ says Andrew Groocock, regional partner at Knight Frank. 

‘You are fresh on the market and it’s your best moment to capture the maximum number of eyeballs,’

So, timing is everything in helping you to attract the most buyers and get the best price for your place.

A couple looking at houses through an estate agent's window

What do I need to know before putting my house on the market?

How much your home is worth

You’ll want to get a good idea of what your home might sell for before you put it up for sale.

At Zoopla, we’re able to give you an instant online estimate of your home’s worth, based on powerful market data, for free.

Track your home's value

  • See how your estimate is changing every month

  • Check how your local area’s performing

  • Explore what’s on the market and what’s sold near you

  • Find out what local agents think you could sell for

You can also look back at a timeline of your property’s sales history - and see what other homes in your area have sold for, to give you a good idea of the current market rates.

What the local housing market is doing where you are

See what your neighbours' homes have sold for or what we estimate their home to be worth, if they haven't sold recently.

Search house prices

If prices are looking buoyant and homes are selling fast, you’ll know it’s a good time for you to enter the market.

Instructing an estate agent

Nothing beats having an estate agent come to your home to have a proper look around for an accurate property valuation.

They’ll be able to see all the work you’ve done to your place while you lived there - and calculate how much value it’s added to your property.

They’ll also be able to take in how well looked-after it is, learn about its best features and then highlight them to potential buyers.

Book a free agent valuation with Zoopla

Because local agents also know the area well - they'll have plenty of experience in selling a property like yours.

That means they’ll be able to highlight any great things about your home that may not be found in every property. 

Like if it’s a particularly spacious example of this type of home, if it’s filled with natural light or if the garden is nice and private.

We recommend asking three different agents to come and visit.

That way you'll see if their valuations are all fairly similar - and can then choose which agent you’d like to work with.

How to find the best estate agent for you

Instructing a solicitor

When you’re selling your home, you’ll be given lots of detailed questionnaires to fill in about your property.

It’s a good idea to bring in a solicitor or conveyancer to help you with these.

It’s illegal to sell a home without a current Energy Performance Certificate in place. Usually the estate agent who sells your property will handle this for you.

But you’ll also need to make sure you have: 

  • electrical installation and Gas Safety Certificates for any work done on the property

  • planning approval for any major works such as extensions or loft conversions

  • FENSA certificates for your windows and doors

You'll be asked to fill out a Seller's Property Information Form (or TA6), outlining lots of details about the property, such as the boundaries, utility connections and any disputes that might have taken place.

And you'll need to complete Fittings and Contents Form (or TA10), specifying everything that's included in the sale of your home.

What documents do you need when selling a home?

Should I put my house on the market before looking?

It's a good idea to have your home on the market when looking, as it puts you in a stronger position as a buyer.

In extremely competitive markets, as seen during lockdown, some sellers even chose to sell their home and rent a place for a while, so that they were chain-free buyers.

Having a home under offer or already sold shows other sellers that you’re a serious buyer who’s highly motivated to find their next home.

It reduces delays in the selling process, which is attractive to everyone else who's involved in the chain.

If you think you can handle staying with family or friends for several weeks or months while searching for your next place, it’s an option that’s worth considering. 

What time of year is best to sell a house?

In the spring, between February and June, the housing market leaps into action. 

And homes will always look more beautiful as gardens burst into bloom and the days get warmer and longer. 

Early autumn is the next best time to sell. 

Potential buyers have had a summer break, are rested and ready to start thinking about making a change in time for Christmas. 

The new year is also a good time, as buyers are looking for a fresh change of scene for the year ahead. 

How long do most houses take to sell?

On average, it takes around 25 weeks to sell a home, from the moment it's first listed to the moment you hand over the keys to your buyer.

Currently in 2023, homes are taking an average of 35 days to go under offer from the moment they're listed.

However, selling a home is dependent on many factors and the process can take anything between 17 and 34 weeks.

How long does it take to sell a house? 

The biggest hold ups are caused by poor communication, delays in the conveyancing or mortgage application process and the searches taking a long time to come back.

Get all the latest on what’s going on in the housing market from our data experts

We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.