Ideally, you want to sell your home in a seller's market.
That means there is more demand than there is supply. You can afford to keep your asking price high, and you have a good shot at selling the house in a short period of time.
Here are some other indicators of a good selling climate.
The economy is healthy, and people have spending power
More money floating around can be good for sellers. On the reverse side, if there have been many layoffs, widespread pay cuts, industry closures, and other events that cut into people's buying power, there will be little incentive for them to pay the price you are asking or to want to buy a home at all.
Mortgage rates are low
Buyers like to buy when interest rates are low, because the amount of interest one pays on a mortgage is usually huge — often exceeding the mortgage itself. Generally, when interest rates are low, prices rise, on the notion that if people are paying less in interest, they can afford to pay more in principal.
The weather is warm
Spring is traditionally the most common time to sell, though this isn't absolute, especially in areas that are warm year-round or when there aren't many homes on the market to begin with. Some people even find that they can do better by selling in the winter, when there is less competition.
The area is attractive to buyers
Low crime, good jobs, good schools, and anything else that lets people live comfortably and prosperously in an area will make homes in that area attractive to buy. This illustrates a cardinal rule of real estate: location, location, location.
Everyone is buying
When everyone is buying, there is competition for homes, meaning you can raise your asking price.
There is not a glut of homes on the market
When there is a glut, prices will fall to clear them out. But if there are not many homes available, and all other factors are positive for you, then it's a good time to sell.
To get a sense of the best time to buy, watch your local housing market. This is one area where having a real estate agent can really help — they are trained to read the state of the market. They know how many homes are on the market in your area, what the price ranges are, and what the trends are.
Dive deeper: How to sell your house: The full breakdown
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Read more information and tips in our Buying/Selling a home section