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House hunt 2024: What every buyer and seller needs to know

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with RealEstateAgent.com

In 2024, the housing market is bustling with activity so far, making it an exciting time for buyers and sellers. Whether you want to purchase your dream home or sell your current property, you must know some vital factors to navigate the market effectively. 

 

Understanding market trends and being prepared to act swiftly is essential for buyers. With housing market predictions for 2024 indicating increased competition and rising prices, having your finances in order and being ready to make a competitive offer can make all the difference.

 

On the other hand, sellers should capitalize on the favorable conditions and be strategic in their approach. Pricing your home appropriately and showcasing its best features can attract eager buyers in a crowded market.

 

Whether you're buying or selling, staying informed and working with a knowledgeable real estate agent can help you achieve your goals in the dynamic landscape of the 2024 housing market.


If you’re looking to buy a home

If you’re looking to make your dream of homeownership in 2024 come true, here are a few things that you should consider:

 

Team up with a real estate agent

Finding a trustworthy real estate agent is crucial. It's wise to seek out a buyer's agent with a solid track record in successful home purchases and strong negotiation skills. Getting a buyer's consultation early in the process sets you up for the best chance of finding your dream home. Being flexible with your timeline allows you to search at your own pace. Avoid using the agent listing the home you're interested in, as they prioritize the seller's interests. The benefits of hiring a real estate agent are numerous, from searching for properties that meet your needs to dealing with all the paperwork involved in the transaction. 

 

Meet with a lender

Meeting with a mortgage lender early on is a good idea, especially if they're local rather than online. Contacting a local lender directly is much easier than dealing with multiple customer service reps. Listing agents often prefer buyers with local lenders when considering offers. Make sure to get pre-qualified and then pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your home search. You don't want to risk falling in love with a home only to lose out to a pre-approved buyer.

 

Create an emergency fund

Creating an emergency fund ensures you're ready for unexpected situations, giving you peace of mind. Experts recommend saving at least three months' worth of expenses, covering things like mortgage, insurance, utilities, and daily living costs. Remember Murphy’s law: anything that can go wrong will go wrong. While we prefer not to dwell on emergencies, it's wise to prepare for them while hoping for the best. Having a safety net in place will save you stress if a crisis does occur.

 

Start saving for the down payment

When saving for your home, remember to set aside money specifically for your down payment. Aim to save between 5% to 20% or more of the home's purchase price. Putting down a larger down payment upfront means lower monthly mortgage payments. Plus, if you can manage to put down 20% or more, you won't need to worry about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI is extra insurance lenders require if your down payment is less than 20% of the home's price, adding to your monthly expenses. It's a good idea to work towards reaching 20% equity in your home to drop the PMI, usually done automatically when you hit 22% equity.

 

Improve your credit score

Having a good credit score is crucial when applying for a mortgage. Different lenders have varying requirements, but a higher credit score is generally better. It makes approval easier and opens up more mortgage options. Check your credit score early on before buying a home, as not all scores are accepted. Knowing your credit report is vital as it can contain errors that need correcting, which takes time. Give yourself plenty of time to address any issues before purchasing a home.


Familiarize yourself with the area you would like to buy in

If you're not moving from out of state, chances are you have an idea of where you'd like to live, maybe close to work, family, or activities you enjoy. But sometimes, the cost of homes in that area might differ from your budget. It's wise to have a few areas in mind and list must-haves and nice-to-haves. Discuss with your partner what matters most, like location, condition, price, and features. Depending on the market or time of year, you might need to compromise on some aspects. Would you instead settle for fewer bedrooms or a fixer-upper in your preferred area, or opt for a move-in ready home in a different neighborhood?


If you’re selling a home

If you’re planning to sell a house, several aspects should be considered too:

 

Team up with a real estate agent

Finding a real estate agent who genuinely cares about your needs is crucial for a successful listing. Your agent will work with you to create a plan that comfortably fits your timeline. They'll also discuss showcasing your home as best as possible, including getting professional photos and arranging staging if necessary. Look for an agent known for their strong negotiation skills, effective marketing tactics, and dedication to ethical standards.

 

Start decluttering

Decluttering your home can feel overwhelming, especially if you've lived there for a while. Start by going through each drawer, closet, and room, and gradually pack up items you don't need. It's recommended that closet contents be cut down by half to give the impression of ample storage space for potential buyers. Overflowing closets and storage areas can give the appearance of insufficient storage. Additionally, depersonalizing your home can help potential buyers envision themselves living there.

 

Complete projects

When a potential buyer steps into your home, the last thing they want to encounter is a list of unfinished home improvement projects waiting for them. It's much more appealing if the future owner can envision themselves simply moving in without the hassle of tackling a bunch of tasks first. Ideally, they should only need to think about the projects they want to do, not the ones they have to do.

 

Spruce up your home’s curb appeal

Enhancing its curb appeal before putting your home on the market is essential. Take some time to tackle projects like touch-up painting or updating the door color to make your home more inviting. Check the landscaping and overall exterior appearance to see if anything needs sprucing up. Imagine yourself as a potential buyer - would your home's exterior catch your eye positively?

 

Conclusion

In essence, whether you're buying or selling a house in 2024, it's crucial to be well-prepared and strategic.

For buyers, start by teaming up with a trustworthy real estate agent who can guide you through the process. It's essential to sort out your finances early, so meet with a local lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Remember to create an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. Saving for a down payment is also crucial, as it can lower your monthly mortgage payments and help you avoid extra costs like Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Additionally, improve your credit score, as it can affect your mortgage options. Finally, familiarize yourself with the area you're interested in and be flexible with your preferences to find the right home.

 

For sellers, finding a reliable real estate agent is crucial. Together, you can create a plan to showcase your home in the best possible light. Start by decluttering and depersonalizing your space to make it more appealing to potential buyers. Complete any unfinished projects to make your home move-in ready and enhance its curb appeal by sprucing up the exterior. Buyers and sellers can successfully navigate the dynamic 2024 housing market by taking these steps.