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Understanding the Flow of the Market – Successful Tactics for Buyers and Sellers

Buying or selling in the DC metro market requires an understanding of not only the seasonal shifts in market activity but also the weekly flow of the market.

This ebb and flow is not quite so simple to understand at first, but after many years of seeing the same thing over and over again we started to see the patterns. Everything started to make sense and became expected like clockwork.

YOU don’t need years to see it, we’ll explain it for you right here!

Go With The Flow

Whether you’re listing a home or searching for one, you’ll need to change tactics depending on the current flow of the market. It’s time to think strategically when you decide you’re going to be a buyer or seller in today’s market.

Your understanding will not only help you find or sell your home but it also will make the home-selling and home-buying process so much more fun.

Don’t be frustrated about it, but rather become attuned to it:

  • What dates are best to list your home to attract buyers ready to purchase.
  • What day of the week is best to jump start your home search.
  • How to take advantage an increase in market activity or decrease in activity … yes, even a decrease.

Since the local housing market can change daily and reacts differently during different seasons of the year, you need to be prepared to respond to this cyclical flow.

If you’re a serious buyer or someone who is thinking about buying — you’ll get a better idea of why timing can affect how you go about looking for a home.

If you’re a serious seller or thinking of listing your home — you will gain some insight on why your strategies to attract buyers may change depending on the month.

When you learn to understand the twists and turns in our market, you CAN end up buying or selling well.

Let’s get started!


Weekly cycle homes tend to come on the market on Thursday or Friday.

  • So, be ready and plan your weekend outings! Seeing homes during the week sometimes doesn’t work because they already have offers and are going under contract.  So plan to be out looking at homes every weekend because they go under contract that quickly.
  • Certain times of the year like the springtime and early fall you could face lots of competition from other buyers, so be ready to make quick decisions with no regrets.
  • Sellers should plan on listing their home on Thursdays, or Fridays worst case. Any other day of the market and you’ll miss the flow of when people are seeing homes and lower your chance of the best offer.


The most popular month for new listings is April, followed by March, and then May. March 1st and April 1st were among the top ranked dates in 2016 to list a home..

If you are a buyer looking for a new home other times of the year, you may not see the best homes for sale or there won’t be many to see at all!   If you are looking during those months, know that these are best months to find something perfect and be ready to move quickly

There are two sides of the coin for sellers when it comes to these months.  One side is that listing during these months means you’ll have more homes to compete with and it may be harder to get buyers’ attention if they have too many choices.

On the flip side, if you list at certain times of the month, buyers may not be paying attention.  So, what’s a seller to do?  We recommend trying to list a few weeks before these peak inventory days.  You’ll have pent-up buyer demand from months of few homes being on the market and you’ll be ahead of the crowd.  So, plan according and get your home is show-shape sooner rather than later.


Suburban homes follow the school calendar and tend to become available in April/May/June.

Buyers who have targeted more suburban or family-friendly neighborhoods should prepare for heavy competition from other buyers and hectic weekends of looking in the late spring.

Even June 1st was a top-ranked day – 4th overall – to list a home last year. So don’t give up if you can’t find one earlier during the spring market.

No matter what, it’s important to be an education buyer ASAP if you want to be settled in your home by summer and prepare your children for the new neighborhood and school. That means know your budget, know your needs and wants (and deal breakers), and get ready to play hardball if necessary!

On the flip side, be on the lookout for homes that come on the market at other more quiet times of the year. This is perfect for many first-time buyers who aren’t wedded to the school calendar. Be patient, be flexible, and stay in touch with your agent so you don’t miss any opportunities that may come along.

The market slows down in July and August but picks up right after Labor Day.

Buyers who are serious and more flexible should still keep an eye on the market even though fewer homes are listed over the summer. So don’t go completely on “vacation” from looking! Keep in mind that sellers are usually more willing to negotiate on price and terms if they need to make a sale during this market lull.

Sellers need to tap into those serious buyers who haven’t completely stopped looking. If you live in a young, hip neighborhood, you’ll be better off attracting first-time buyers or couples who have more flexibility when it comes to moving. Price your home right, be generous with your terms, and make your home a summer oasis for them.

For those in suburbs or in neighborhoods tied to the school calendar, it’s critical to price your home correctly to bring in foot traffic during these “off” months. And even better, wow them with a home that is more move-in ready than not. Again, be generous with your terms and conditions and showcase your home so it looks like a great place for a summer staycation!

Understand the yearly highs and lows of market activity in several key categories.

  • Searches Buyers are searching the most in March. Some of these searches could be buyers just thinking of buying and learning about the market to prepare themselves for the spring. If you do need to list at this time, you could snag one of these many potential buyers if you market your home correctly.
  • Prices Prices appear to hold somewhat steady throughout the year with the lowest being in December and January. Sellers need to keep in mind that pricing their home correctly is important no matter what time of the year they list. Never get overconfident about the market as a seller even in low inventory times.
  • Housing Starts Construction of new inventory peaks in June, typically rising and falling along with the weather. Lots of construction in the springtime near condos and in certain neighborhoods can play a part in how sellers price and market “older” homes. Buyers need to be aware of the changing landscape of even urban neighborhoods now. What’s new and what’s coming down the road – both can impact buyer and sellers tactics.
  • Sales As expected, the number of sales starts to its steep climb up after February and then peaks in June. It’s a slower route going down through the remaining year. January usually has the least number of sales — cold or snowy weather can influence the lack of buyers trekking out to see homes.
  • Inventories Inventory does increase in the spring but not as drastically as one might think. The number of homes on the market is a steady curve rising until June and then going down until December. More buyers with almost the same amount of inventory mean lots of competition for those homes. But it also means your home will get traffic if you list it … how you market it depends on if it’s sold well.

We are here to help you, whether you are a first-time buyer or a seller who wants to trade up to another home.

Do you want to know how you can take advantage of these ebbs and flows in our housing market based on what you are looking for or what you have to sell? We can show you what to expect and how to react based on when you plan to enter the market. Call us today and we can get started!