Spring Market

Should I wait for the Spring Market to sell my house?

Before my blood was transfused with 100% blood type RE (real estate) I used to think the Spring Market was similar to what the auto dealers did with President’s Day. Gimmicky, sales-y, running their own ads and promoting their own agenda; hijacking a day from George and Abe so the non-skiers among us would feel insecure with their current car.

Real estate appeared to be doing the same thing. “Spring Market Real Estate” returns 400 million result hits on Google. The real estate ad buys multiply in the spring. Glossy magazines publish a special real estate edition.

So is the tail (real estate industry) wagging the dog, or is the Demand Dog wagging it’s own tail. Let’s take a look.

My writing style typically addresses both sides of the coin but in this case I can clearly see how (and why) a Spring Market heats up.

We are one of the rare companies that pays attention to our clients motivators. Of course we understand the obvious drivers in real estate, but we also learn from 2nd and 3rd tier motivators as we are keenly interested to know the real reason a person is leaving/selling their home. Believe us, please, when we tell you the contaminated well and the automatic oil delivery into a tankless basement (two separate but unfortunately true cases of attempted real estate fraud on our clients) are not volunteered by the seller easily. When confronted they’re prone to tell you mis-truths. But this, shall we call it professional curiosity, has provided us intel that a marketing company would climb a mountain to obtain.

The motivators for purchasing a home are vast and varied. When I think I’ve seen them all, a new one pops up, “This is the only house with a 10 car garage I’ve seen in years!”

When I spend time sorting the motivators into categories the same buckets begin to collect results. For instance the Hobby Bucket (yes it’s real, as you just read) would contain; pet, car, cooking horticulture, resellers, collector and bibliophile motivators. Of the other buckets of motivators most don’t even cover the bottom of the bucket being filled, yet another bucket is in a constant state of overflowing.

There’s a waterpark theme ride where a humongous overhead cauldron is constantly being filled with water. When it reaches capacity, gravity tilts it on two pivot points and the entire tank spills and empties drenching the riders below. As soon as it is empty it springs back to its upright position and begins to accumulate the water flow again.

That bucket? It’s tied to the school enrollment, school district and school reputation.

For childless buyers who think they are exempt from that cycle, it would be like trying to buy a new car without child safety features. You can’t escape it.

Our example of how the Spring Market spills over.

Let’s just say that only 40% of buyers are motivated by the school bucket. The sellers of the home being pursued (now empty nesters) are being pushed by the inbound School Bucketers. Think a future unidentified buyer doesn’t push? Think again. They offer more, they yell louder, they letter write, they door knock, they bring concessions to the seller to make it more alluring to sell and otherwise make Florida easier and easier to move to. Still skeptical? Try thinking along these lines… The apartment, starter home, or condo that the School Bucketers are departing needs to now be sold or rented. Urgently. The School Bucketer needs to harvest the condo’s equity and rid themselves of the expense in order to buy the new home.

So how does all this tie to the spring market? Remember the water cauldron? In real estate, it dumps on July 31st. Why? On August 1st it becomes too late to enter into the process to have a child enrolled in a school district by the Tuesday after Labor Day. They missed it. Take the next boat, next year.

Moving during the school year is possible, but it’s disruptive to the point that most families simply won’t consider it. School Bucketers want to be in place for the start of the school year, and they’ve had almost a half year to make the attempt. House then comes off the market.

“We’ll try next year.”

“We’re going to renew our lease.”

“I’m going to fix the place up a bit before next year.”

HELOC rates are so good we’re going to make the basement into a rec-room.

And so now the cauldron begins to slowly fill again. By next April, you can look up to the semi-transparent tank and see the water level starting to get pretty full again.