What’s the Best Time of Year to List Your Flip in Florida?
Flipping houses is something you can do on the side or as a substantial part of your income. Even if you’re not as handy as Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper, your flipping efforts can produce serious profits.
TV shows often make house flipping look easy. In theory, the concept is straightforward. Buy a house at a reasonable price. Make improvements that increase the house’s value. Sell the house for a profit. Many house flippers find great deals on homes that are in poor shape, while others take advantage of the ebbs and flows of the market.
Most people who want to get into or are already involved in the house flipping business have a pretty good sense of how to find a good deal, what kinds of upgrades make excellent returns on their investment, and how to secure the appropriate financing.
The problem is that getting and improving a house is only half of the battle. Without a profitable resale, that flipped house could quickly turn into a flopped property. If nothing else, some flippers are leaving money on the table by selling their flips at the wrong time of year. Knowing when to list your home in Florida is more than just picking a date on a calendar.
So, when is the best time of year to list your flip in Florida?
When Do People Want to Buy?
While there may be homebuyers throughout the year, there are several factors that influence when more people are looking to make a purchase and subsequent move.
In general, people like to time their moves around things like school, holidays, and vacations. Moving takes a lot of work: packing, hiring movers, setting up the new home, etc. Few families want to take on this extra work when they’re already busy with something else. That’s why home sales seem to decline in November and December.
Flippers up north also have to consider the colder months. It’s less desirable to pack up and move when there are mounds of snow on the ground. Luckily, Florida doesn’t have that problem. The Sunshine State does, however, have to consider hurricane season (June 1st through November 30th), although this period of time doesn’t have the same impact as wintery months in the snowbelt and doesn’t affect the entire state the same way.
School may be one of the most significant elements that impacts not only when people want to buy but when they want to be settled into their new homes. Buying a home in late spring or during the summer months gives families a chance to move without affecting their kids’ academic lives, especially if the move requires changing school districts.
Spring Brings New Life
Historically, spring tends to be the best time to sell a house nationwide. Zillow recommends listing your flip for sale starting in March and no later than Labor Day. It’s no surprise that spring months tend to be the most attractive time to sell a house.
This is the time of year when people start getting their tax refunds, which can help make a more attractive down payment. There’s also something about flowers blooming and days lengthening that give homes a stunning curb appeal you don’t get in the barren winter months.
The downside of listing your flip in the spring is that inventory is typically much higher. This results in more competition with other homes for sale. Shoppers have more options to consider, so they may take more time to find “the right house,” which can delay making offers.
On the flip side, high competition can also mean buyers have to act fast to have a shot at going under contract. This trend continues into the summer, but most families are motivated to close on their new house before the school year commences.
Fall is when real estate activity starts to decline. There is less competition from other sellers, so your house may get more attention. The interesting thing about Florida compared to other areas of the country is that the market does pick up a little in the fall. People who hope to move to Florida to escape the cold months up north like to have their new house before the holidays hit.
Winter tends to be the slowest time in the real estate game. The one positive thing to consider is that the buyers who are out looking at houses tend to be more serious and qualified than buyers exploring their options at other times of the year.
When Is Your House Ready to Sell?
You want to make sure that your flip is presented in its best possible light before you list it. The work involved in getting your house ready for sale depends on its purchased condition and the market around you.
There are situations when selling your house “as is” (without making improvements) is appropriate. A highly sought-after neighborhood with low available inventory might mean you can do very little to update the home before you list it. People looking for a good deal may not mind taking care of updates themselves.
Of course, houses that are move-in ready will attract more buyers and a higher price. Your goal is to determine which repairs and upgrades will provide a positive return on investment. Every house will pose different challenges, so the choice of what and how much to do is up to you. The bottom line is that you want to list your house when it has the appearance that you choose.
Planning to List
Flippers spend a great deal of time researching, buying, and improving properties. It only makes sense that they adequately plan when and how to list their properties as well. It’s not as simple as just throwing a “for sale” sign in the yard the day the dust settles from repairs.
In most markets, the best day to list a home is Thursday. This allows buyers a chance to see it, think about it, and plan a viewing over the weekend. In a hot market, a house listed on Thursday will have enough offers for the owners to make a decision Monday morning.
That’s not to say that a house can’t or shouldn’t be listed earlier in the week or even on the weekend. According to Zillow, houses listed on a Thursday tend to go pending sooner than houses listed during other times of the week. Homes that are listed early in the week tend to take additional time to sell.
You should also consider any significant events or holidays in the area where you’re selling. You’re less likely to get buyers checking out your flip during busy times in the neighborhood. Even something as simple as a college football game at home can impact the kind of traffic you can expect during your open house.
Other Market Factors
The best time to sell your flip isn’t as simple as looking at the market at a macro level. There are constantly changing economic factors that can also influence when houses are in higher demand.
When mortgage rates are low, homebuyers are more motivated. On top of being able to secure a loan, buyers might be able to afford more expensive homes than they would have looked at previously.
As a flipper or real estate investor, low interest rates also make it possible to secure loans or even borrow against your equity to help pay for repairs and renovations.
As current real estate investors can attest to, there are global factors that impact the housing market. The COVID-19 pandemic is a great example. While it’s nearly impossible to predict something like a global pandemic, you can certainly adjust your normal plan.
Flippers who were in a position for the high demand of homes and lack of new construction options were able to turn a nice profit. As of June 2021, Florida homes were selling for more than they were worth by over 20%. Houses listed throughout the summer didn’t necessarily follow the general plan to list on a Thursday in the spring, but they did provide a nice return for the sellers.
Your Local Market
While the entire state of Florida may see the highest returns when homes are listed in the spring, those numbers may not reflect the reality of your local market. For example, Florida is a major destination for northerners and retirees looking to escape cold weather. Locals call these homebuyers “snowbirds.”
Snowbirds don’t follow the buying pattern of shopping for homes during the spring and summer. These buyers aren’t typically concerned with school starting in the fall. They merely want to enjoy the fresh air and warm Florida weather. That means you’ll see snowbirds looking at properties in late fall and early winter.
They usually want to be moved in before the end of the year. This timing is especially true in Florida’s southern areas that attract snowbirds like Miami, Fort Myers, and the Keyes.
Your local market may be such that you’ll earn great returns both in the winter and the spring. It’s critical that you learn the local market to know if there are other options outside of listing in the spring.
Be Strategic When Listing Your Flip
When all things are considered, the best time to list your Florida flip is during a time when demand for homes is high, the number of available homes is low, and interest rates are low. This combination of factors means it’s a true seller’s market. Competition for homes means higher prices and better profits for you.
Historically, median sales prices throughout Florida are highest when flippers list their houses on a Thursday in the spring. This maximizes your reach and takes advantage of when people are looking.
Of course, you may be in a situation where waiting for the spring isn’t an option. It might be tempting to just sit on a house until more favorable selling conditions arise, but this delay could cause problems.
For example, you might take out a high-interest loan to purchase the flip. Waiting to sell the house could eat into your profits or even delay your ability to purchase your next flip. In these kinds of situations, you may want to list outside of the ideal season.
The key to any kind of flip is to buy low and sell high. Knowing your local market and when families are looking to buy will help ensure that you’re making the right decision about when to list your property for sale. Communities in the south may be more desirable in the winter while the rest of the state sees higher sales in the spring.
Florida is a growing market; new people are moving to the Sunshine State every day. Business Insider estimates 900 people hang their hats in Florida each day. For the time being, there really isn’t a wrong time to sell, but data holds true that listing on a Thursday in the spring is the best time to list your flip.