Crested Butte homeowners often ask, “What’s the best time of year to sell my home?” Traditional markets tend to peak in the late spring and early summer, because buyers with children hope to make the move before the start of a new school year. In a market like Crested Butte, however, where most buyers are purchasing a second home, the move-in day is far less important. Like so many other real estate questions, the most truthful answer is that “it depends”. A few factors to consider include:
- There are more buyers in summer, but there are also more homes for sale.
- Where is the property? Is it ski in/ ski out or on the golf course at Skyland?
- Does the sales price to list price ratio change based on the season?
The graph below represents the total number of Crested Butte area properties which have gone under contract in the past 5 years in the months indicated. While August is the biggest month, March comes in at number two, with July and September right behind. May is a good month in primary home markets, but in Crested Butte it is one of the slowest.
The Crested Butte “tourist season” has changed considerably over the twenty years that I have been here. Ski season was once the busy season, but sales tax revenue in the summer has surpassed that of winter for many years now. That means that there are actually more people, and therefore more potential buyers, in summer versus winter. Because of that fact, many sellers place their property on the market in the summer. The downside to that, however, is that there are typically more homes for sale, making it more difficult for your home to be the one chosen by a home buyer. It isn’t unheard of for the inventory to be 50% larger at the end of June versus the beginning of November.
Despite the increased inventory of summer, however, the increased demand makes up for it. On average, the busiest summer month has a sales price to asking price ratio that is 1% higher than the slowest month of the year in early winter. This should not be surprising- if a buyer looks at a home in July that is priced appropriately, they may feel pressure to make an offer quickly, for full price or close to it. In November and December, however, buyers may feel very little pressure and will likely take their time to make an offer, and potentially a low one.
Winter can still be a great time to sell a home in Crested Butte, though. Take a look at the graph above- the second best month is during the busy spring break month of March. One obvious example are ski in/ ski out properties and condos near the ski area in general. If an avid skier sees just how easy it can be to ski right to their front door- that’s a huge selling feature. Conversely, a home located on the “___” tee at the golf course doesn’t shine quite the same way when the tee box is under three feet of snow.
Homes sold per month in Crested Butte
Land tends to be easier to sell when it is not covered in snow. Lot corner markers are difficult to locate when they are buried under the snow, and it’s hard to see what a lot really looks like when it is covered in snow drifts. Still, sellers should consider some advantages to selling land in the winter. For instance, a lot in an aspen forest may have better views after the leaves have fallen off in the fall. At the very least, it may be worth planning ahead and getting photos in both seasons.
Above all, the property should be ready for sale no matter what the season. If the exterior paint is chipped and peeling, it’s probably better to wait and paint the home in spring, rather than list the home in winter. Are you interested in selling your Crested Butte home? Contact me and I’d be happy to discuss timing, your current market valuation, and more.