Why You Should (and Shouldn't) Sell Your Home in 2024

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Debating whether to sell your house now or wait? The answer is: maybe. Selling your house is a big decision with many factors to consider before putting up the sign in your front yard.

There are many situations that might make selling your home necessary – whether it’s moving across the country to be closer to family, downsizing, or not being able to afford mortgage payments anymore.

However, if your timeline to move is flexible, you’ll want to strategize on when and how to place your home on the market to attract buyers, maximize profit, and make it easier to buy a new home if that’s your next step.

If you’re unsure about selling, you have a few options: you can put your house up for sale to take advantage of the current low inventory, wait to see how interest rates and inflation evolve, or decide to stay in your current home for the foreseeable future.

Here are three reasons you shouldn’t sell your home in 2024, along with three reasons it’s a good idea to make the leap in the next 12 months:

Why You Should Wait to Sell :

  • Unfavorable Market Conditions
  • You bought or refinanced within the last couple of years.
  • You’re concerned about affording your next purchase.
  • You're worried about finding your next home.
  • Upsizing
  • No Selling Strategy
  • A Property in Bad Condition

Why You Should Sell in 2024 : 

  • Favorable Market Conditions
  • You're not deterred by high interest rates.
  • You have a clear understanding of your home's value.
  • You need to move.
  • Downsizing
  • Investing

 Why You Should Wait to Sell :

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  • Unfavorable Market Conditions

One of the most apparent reasons why waiting to sell is the best option is current market conditions. For example, if mortgage rates are high, fewer people will be looking to buy properties.

 Another unfavorable market condition for sellers is high housing supply. When many properties enter the market simultaneously, competition among sellers becomes more intense.

  • You bought or refinanced within the last couple of years.

If you’re one of the many homeowners who have moved or refinanced in the last few years, there’s no reason to consider selling your home in the immediate future. Hopefully, your low mortgage payment has helped ease any financial concerns.

Ahead of 2022, many homeowners were able to lock into mortgage rates below 3%, making selling in the near future far less attractive. Unless other factors make a move necessary, enjoy the low interest rate you locked in and continue building equity in your home.

Mortgage rates have fluctuated since 2022, peaking at 7.79% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage during the week of October 2023, according to Freddie Mac. As of March 28, 2024, Freddie Mac reported the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.79%.

If you secured an interest rate below 3% – or even 2%, for some homeowners – you’ll see little incentive to more than triple your interest rate for a new home. And you won’t be the only homeowner feeling locked into your property based on mortgage rates.

“While it is likely to diminish, the mortgage lock-in effect is still going to keep a sizable number of homeowners from selling in 2024,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com. “Per the latest data, 90% of outstanding mortgage debt has a rate below 6%, with 65% of the total at a rate less than 4%.”

Homeowners may start to see more reason to move as mortgage rates drop below 6%, Hale adds.

  • You’re concerned about affording your next purchase. 

Over the past couple of years, concerns about affording your next home purchase have been tied to the housing market’s rising prices and the lack of new homes for sale. Now, with interest rates between 6% and 7%, there seems to be little financial benefit to buying a new home. Don’t be afraid to wait to sell your home if you think the timing isn’t right.

Even with substantial home equity, your buying power may be reduced when you consider the higher monthly interest payments.

 “That’s a tough financial calculus, and that’s keeping the more discretionary sellers out of the market right now,” says Lisa Sturtevant, chief economist for multiple listing service Bright MLS.

If you can’t afford the home you want next, it makes sense to wait before putting your house on the market.

  • You're worried about finding your next home.

Housing inventory still remains low, despite a 0.3-month increase year over year in February, according to a recent National Association of Realtors report. Many homeowners are choosing not to list their homes for now. While there are fewer buyers than at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, more are returning to the market than you might expect.

“Despite affordability challenges, buyers are finding ways to make the math work,” says Orphe Divounguy, senior economist for Zillow. “Many millennials want to become homeowners. Lower inflation has led to higher real wages and financial wealth, and we are also experiencing a surge in population growth. All these factors support housing demand. The limiting factor remains inventory; there are not enough homes available for sale, which keeps costs high.”

  • Upsizing 

Have you just had a baby or are you planning to expand your family? Or maybe your elderly parents are moving in with you. Situations like these may require you to sell your current home to buy a bigger one.

But while the idea may be exciting — or unavoidable — you might still decide to wait a little longer to get your finances in better shape, for the market to become more favorable, or to put together a solid plan of action.

  • No Selling Strategy

Selling a property is a business endeavor that requires a well-thought-out plan to succeed. One of the main reasons you may want to sell your house is to make a profit — but do you know what will happen once the property is sold?

Do you have a plan outlining where you will relocate to or how you will invest the money from the sale? If the answers to these crucial questions are no, then it's better to wait.

  • A Property in Bad Condition

While it's not necessary for your property to be spotless when you're ready to sell it, it should at least be in good condition. Consider addressing any repairs, maintenance issues, and incomplete projects before putting your house on the market.

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