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Best Time To Sell A House

Almost all home sellers want to know 'When is the best time to sell a house?' This year we also have the impact of Coronavirus and the upcoming 2020 NZ General Election to consider.

There are pros and cons of different seasons, some Government policies to consider and a range of other issues including banks moving the goal posts.

Find out about real estate commission and fees. Check out this quick reference commission scale.

Is now a good time to sell a house?

Buyer demand is currently high for fewer numbers of listings - a situation that creates more buyer competition and therefore good prices in most regions - the exception being Central Otago Lakes.

Following a joint survey of real estate agents with the Real Estate Institute of NZ, independent economist Tony Alexander said the responses showed the state of the property market after the first Covid-19 lockdown was nowhere near as dire as many were predicting when it began in March.

"Apart from a reduction in offshore enquiry, every other NZ-wide measure this month is stronger than in June and a net 52% of agents are seeing buyers as more motivated to get a deal over the line than vendors," he said on releasing the July 2020 report.

"Fewer investors are looking to sell, more first home buyers are in the market, and a net 34% of agents feel that prices are rising compared with a net 18% in June."

Buyers have become more concerned about shortages of listings, and less concerned that prices might fall after they buy. However, difficulties securing bank finance have jumped, he said.

Find out what houses are selling for in your area.

At Wise Up NZ we have observed over the years that despite ups and downs in the market, there is rarely a perfect time to sell a house so sometimes it's just best to do it when you need to.

Even with Covid-19, people will carry on regardless with house sales due to the usual reasons like downsizing, up-sizing, changing jobs to new locations, births, deaths, building new, cashing up, wanting a warmer home or being closer to family, especially in times like this.

The most important decision that determines the fate of your property sale is your choice of real estate agent - make sure they have been vetted.

Predicted impact of 2020 Election on property sales

With interest rates currently being so low, more favourable lending rates for first home buyers and fewer competing properties for sale this side of the election, now can be a good time to sell a house.

People are likely to hold off selling in the three weeks before the election which may then be followed by a flood of new listings after the election.

Post-election, depending on what the banks do, it may be harder for buyers to borrow money (and indications are that the banks are being tight with lending as at July 2020). That combined with a flurry of listings post-election can make it harder to sell due to increased competition for a reduced pool of buyers - although $3B worth of bonus bonds need to be cashed up by the end of October 2020 which will likely see more property investors due to the low interest rates on investments.

With the wage subsidy ending on September 1 and the potential for more redundancies, we may also see more residential property coming to market because owners are forced to sell, again increasing competition for property sellers.


Depending on whether you are a buyer, a seller or an investor, being aware of Government and bank policies affecting home owners and buyers can determine the best time to sell and put you at an advantage if you’re quick off the mark. For example:


The deadline has passed for rental owners to insulate their properties to the Government’s standard or risk a $4000 fine which gets paid to their tenants.

You can attract the attention of investor buyers by making sure your home is well insulated.


Interest rate reductions can quickly increase buyer activity. Investors are also adding to their portfolios when these events occur.


When loan-to-value ratios (LVR) and minimum deposit bank policies change, your house could fit into the first home buyer market. A change in bank deposit rules can result in considerable interest from this demographic.

Best season to sell your house

In regards to the best season of the year to sell, there are many factors to consider besides winter vs spring/summer such as changes to lending policies, interest rates, economic developments in your area, Kiwi Saver rules and new or amended Government policies. These can all influence changes to the buyer market and therefore, opportunities for you as a seller which are also highlighted below.

If there are fewer houses on the market, that can mean less competition from other houses in your price range and location. This can also strengthen sale prices.

When the time feels right, request a free property appraisal first, then decide.


Wise Up NZ has been tracking and monitoring real estate listings for a decade.

We found those that ended up listed for sale a second time around did not fail to sell the first time because they had been listed at the ‘wrong’ time of year. Rather, they were affected by other factors which were related to being ill-prepared or poor decision-making.

A few had structural issues that require a high level of real estate experience, legal and technical knowledge to help get a property successfully over the line. These home sellers would have benefited from better due diligence but likely didn't know all that was required.

The season is of less importance than how you go to market. For example, which real estate agent you choose and how competent they are at managing and negotiating a property sale is what matters most.

If you do your pre-market due diligence you have every reason to be optimistic about selling your house within a good time frame and at the best price regardless of the time of year.

Buying and Selling Checklist A Lifesaver

Selling a house is not something people do every day so we have created a 5-step buying and selling a house checklist to help you achieve the best real estate outcome possible - and no member log-in is required.


When Is The Best Time To Sell A House In NZ


If you want to sell your house this summer and need to get moving quickly, you will need to find the best real estate agents to get free property appraisals from first. More important than the highest appraisal is an accurate appraisal as this will ultimately achieve the best price outcome. For that reason you need to know your agent will not over or under price your property.

Independent service vets real estate agents - free

APAC Business Award 2018 winner Agent Finder NZ (est 2009) independently vets real estate agents throughout New Zealand, eliminating those not suitable and shortlisting the most competent ones. They also provide advice about what real estate commission and fees cost plus provide you with a list of questions to ask agents so you can compare them quickly but objectively. It's a genuinely free service for Kiwi home sellers that has been helping home sellers for a decade.

Request A Shortlist of Vetted Real Estate Agents first

When Is The Best Time To Sell A House

seasonal pros and cons for selling a house

In autumn and winter there are often fewer houses on the market. Autumn can bring an added allure to a garden or setting, with gorgeous soft light and air making many a beautiful autumn day highly charming.

In winter, make your interiors warm and enticing to help give a good feel for that first impression. An appealing mood that no other season offers can be created in winter.

Winter sun, home insulation and solar panels can be a real buyer magnet. Cold New Zealand winters can motivate people to up-spec to warmer, insulated homes and winter/spring is often the time when they start looking.

If your home is positioned well for winter sun, warm and insulated, this might be the best time to sell, when there are fewer properties competing with yours. Simple, easy additions like adding a big vase of fresh flowers to the dining table can give your home an inviting lift even on the grayest of days.

Spring and summer see many more houses on the market and therefore a greater number of houses for sale competing with yours.

However, summer is considered the best time to sell a holiday home with holiday makers on the look-out.

Summer can also be a great time to sell a lifestyle block when the ground is dry and the grass greener.

If wanting to capture summer buyers, be aware that in December law firms are winding down and often run with skeleton staff levels in January. Start getting organised around September/October which gives you plenty of lead up time.

UPSHOT ABOUT the best time to SELL A HOUSE

The best time to sell a house is not solely dependent on the season, but also on the economy and whether you have planned, prepared and equipped yourself with the quality information that is available to you for free. For example:

  • Do you know how much your house is worth to sell now?
  • Do you know how to compare real estate appraisals?
  • How do you know if a real estate valuation is accurate?
  • Do you know how to negotiate real estate commission and fees?
  • Do you know what to look out for in a marketing plan?
  • Do you know how to determine what makes a good real estate agent, for your property type?

With little experience in real estate, most people don't excel in that area. It can go smoothly but it mostly doesn't. Selling a house can be complex and is not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced.

We hope this advice has helped give you a more balanced approach to timing your house sale.

If you need any advice, get in touch now.

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Article updated September 22, 2020 | About

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and not intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose.