Should I Sell My House Now? What to Expect from 2024

Should I Sell My House Now? What to Expect from 2024

Posted on Jan 25, 2024

Note: This article is a rewrite from 2023, updated for current market conditions.

The extreme seller’s market of a few years ago left a deep impression on the housing market. For a brief period, sellers were able to ask for anything and everything—and plenty of buyers were willing to pay it, due to extremely low interest rates that made borrowing cheap. 

Now interest rates are back up, and inflation has made people wary of spending on top of that. Considering the Spring 2024 market, many sellers are wondering: is now a good time to sell a house? Or should I wait it out?

Here’s what you should keep in mind.

Many Market Factors Still Benefit Sellers, Not Buyers

The media narrative about the current housing market is bleaker than reality. Home prices dropped slightly during the winter, yes—but that’s a trend we’ve seen every year. Home prices are projected to remain relatively stable this year, with the potential to drop very slightly.

The mortgage rate has dropped from its peak in October. That’s good news for buyers—their money can buy more house. It’s also good news for sellers, who will benefit from a greater number of eligible buyers. 

calculator and money

The initial rise in mortgage rates contributed to a market slowdown. Buyers hated seeing rates 5% or higher after seeing their friends and neighbors get 3%. Now that people have adjusted to the new normal, the interest rate may present less of a psychological hurdle to get over.

Inventory is up, which means buyers have more options—and less pressure to buy right away. However, it’s far below what would be considered a balanced market or a buyer’s market. The current national rate is 3.5 months of inventory; most economists agree that 5-6 months inventory is a balanced market. 

Sellers should feel incentivized to participate in the housing market while circumstances still favor them overall. 

Keep in mind that baby boomers hold the majority of housing stock in the US—but they are finally in their retirement era. While many have chosen to “age in place” by upgrading their existing homes, this could change as the population deals with increasing mobility issues and changing lifestyles.

The High of 2021/22 Shouldn’t Be Your Benchmark

One of the reasons people may hold back on selling is the belief that a “better time to sell” is around the corner. If so, it’s worth examining exactly what amount of growth—or what market conditions—would finally convince you to sell. 

If you’re hoping for your property to appreciate another 10%, for example, you should keep in mind that property appreciates at an average rate of 4% per year—and this year is expected to be under that. If this is the case, are you comfortable waiting another few years—and maybe more—to sell your home? 

You also need to weigh that against the unknowns of the future market. 

Rather than trying to time the market—something even experts struggle to do—it may be worth examining alternative ways to save money, like working with Houwzer and paying a 1% listing fee (plus 2-3% to the buyer’s agent) for all-inclusive listing services. 

If you’re hoping for the conditions of 2021-2022 to repeat themselves—with historically low interest rates delivering sellers a huge upper hand in negotiations—you should re-evaluate whether your expectations are in line with what is economically probable. 

The 2024 Stats Sellers Should Know

As we covered in Are Home Prices Dropping in 2024?, most experts expect home prices to either remain relatively stable or drop very slightly.

And when it comes to mortgage rates, here's what we covered in Is 2024 a Good Year to Buy a House?

Is There Value to Waiting?

Waiting is a gamble because we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen with the housing market. In the long run, your home will gain value—historically, this has always been true. However, home prices can fall for periods of a year or even several years before averaging upward, and this is where you could trip up.

Find out what my home is worth

"If you are ready, I always advise listing now," explains DMV-based listing agent Matt Kalogeras. "It really depends on the seller—timeframe, objective, are you moving for work, etc. If you're ready to list, why wait?"

In other words, treat your home as more than simply an investment vehicle. If selling your home is holding back your lifestyle, maybe it's time to re-evaluate the benefits of holding onto it for another year.

Matt also has some advice on seasonality: "During off-peak markets, I think you often have the best shot at selling your home." He notes that while many people wait for the spring market, they don't always consider the other sellers who will end up as their competition. "Competition could be a good thing—but it matters on the home."


How to Prepare for the 2024 Market

If you’re going to sell your house in 2024, approaching the process with a competitive attitude will likely generate the best results. It’s not you versus the buyers: it’s you versus the other sellers who are also eager to sell their homes for top dollar.

So what’s your first step?

"Talking with an agent," Matt advises. "We are market professionals—this is something we do every day. Yes, there is an expense associated with using an agent—but there is also a lot less pain, and we help you get the most money possible. At the same time, we make sure you are legally covered in all avenues of the process."

By working with Houwzer, your expenses will also be a lot lower—sellers save an average of $12,000 in commissions.

Get Your House in Top Shape

What sort of steps will a Realtor likely advise? One of the big ones will likely be improving your home’s appearance. When interest rates dropped, buyers were willing to pay top dollar for homes with door knobs missing and old carpets. Circumstances today are different. Poor presentation can mean sitting on the market for a long time.

Appearance is a top success factor when it comes to selling a home in 2024. Bad, blurry photographs can dissuade buyers from coming by—yet so many sellers are willing to try and sell their $300,000+ homes with hastily shot smartphone photos. Similarly, in this market, decluttering your home is a must—not a nicety—if you want to attract the maximum number of buyers able to pay your asking price.

"Always make sure your home is cleaned and ready for showings. Make sure you have the necessary upgrades to have as many eyes on your home as possible—things like new paint, professionally cleaned floors, and possible big-ticket upgrades. The less a buyer has to worry about, the more likely you'll get an offer at or above asking price," explains Matt.

Seller Concessions Can Help You Stand Out

When homes were selling quickly, sellers didn’t have to grant buyers many concessions. In fact, the opposite was true: even standard concessions like the appraisal contingency and the inspection contingency were getting dropped thanks to buyer desperation.

The circumstances have changed. In 2024, concessions can incentivize the right buyers to put an offer in on your property rather than your neighbor’s down the street. 

"Concessions are a good method of attack," Matt weighs in. "With the high mortgage rates, possibly offer a buy-down or similar method to reduce the buyer's first, second, or third year rates."

"Concessions are also advantageous regarding closing costs. Some buyers can look for a more expensive home or offer higher if some of their closing expenses are lessened."

According to Redfin, about 35% of home sellers gave buyers concessions toward the end of 2023.

Price Competitively

Poor pricing strategy is guaranteed to stress some home sellers in 2024. It can be tempting to price too optimistic—why not ask for $300,000, even if your Realtor suggests the home is worth $290,000? Someone might pay it, and that’s $10,000 more in your pocket—right?

Unfortunately, there are multiple issues with this approach.

The first problem: your buyers’ Realtors have access to all the same information your Realtor has, so they’ll know if it’s overpriced. And importantly, they’ll know if it’s overpriced compared to other properties they are looking at. 

Second, your first week on the open market is the most important. Interest in your listing will fall off quickly after that—and each additional week you’re on the market becomes a liability. Homebuyers are less willing to pay asking price for a home that’s been on the market for 50 days and has gone through two price reductions already.

"The better the home is priced, the more eyes and interest on your home. I'm not saying to give your house away, but price it to give yourself the best chance of selling at the highest possible price," advises Matt. "This is the biggest pain point in selling a home."

Finally, keep in mind that homebuyers often only look at homes within their budget. If you price your $290,000 home at $300,000, some buyers who would be willing to pay $290,000 may never see it in their search.

Opt for Lower Commissions

Nowadays, most people shop for homes online. Years ago, it possibly did cost agents/their brokerages 3% to successfully market and sell a home. Today, however, this commission rate is out of line with modern efficiencies.

Houwzer is a modern brokerage that’s revamping real estate. Rather than a 6% commission, Houwzer charges 1% for full-service listings, with 2-3% to the buyer’s agent. Unlike other low-commission real estate brokerages that cut out needed services like professional photography, agent experience, and open houses, Houwzer covers everything for 1%.

Now's the time to figure out ways to profit the most from your home sale—and Houwzer is a top choice for sellers concerned about their bottom line.

Ready to find out more?

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So: Should I Sell My House Now or Wait Until 2024?

When you look at the stats and facts, it isn’t really a bad time to list. Media fearmongering is fueling concern among sellers that they’ll put their home for sale and either linger on the market for months, or experience dramatic price reductions.

If you price your home at the correct market value, however, it will likely sell in a reasonable timeframe. The houses that are struggling to leave the market right now are the ones that sellers priced $50,000 too high, hoping that some of the fervor from recent markets still lingered. 

They’ve found out the hard way that 2024 is a new year, and sellers will need to be realistic about pricing and concessions if they want a fast and smooth home sale. 

To recap, homeowners can best prepare for selling in 2024 by:

  • Chatting early on with a Realtor about what to do
  • Offering seller concessions to lure in qualified buyers
  • Listing competitively 
  • Making sure their home is in top condition
  • Opting for lower commissions

Matt has one last piece of advice for sellers: “This is not COVID. Sometimes homes sit for a month or two—it's normal. Be comfortable with not accepting the first offer presented and make the best decision for YOU!”

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