BAM Key Details:

  • A new article on Realtor.com highlights home seller behavior during the previously-named best week of 2024 to list a home (April 14-20). 
  • Homeowners listing during this time are less likely to expect bidding wars and offers over the asking price and more likely to anticipate a longer time on market and fewer buyers willing to waive contingencies. 

After years of fierce buyer competition and homes selling for six figures over the asking price, homeowners looking to sell this spring are entering the fray with “more realistic” expectations. 

That’s according to a recent survey from Realtor.com® and CensusWide. 

We have officially entered the “best week to list a home” in 2024 (April 14-20), according to an earlier report by Realtor.com. But this time around, home sellers are not anticipating as much of a seller’s market compared to years past. 

A new article on Realtor.com highlights home seller behavior in the spring market of 2024. And judging by the survey responses, sellers are approaching the sale of their home with tempered expectations. 

Today’s sellers expect fewer bidding wars and fewer offers over asking—as well as fewer buyers willing to waive contingencies like home inspections and appraisals. They’re also more likely to expect their homes to spend a longer stint on the market. 

Buyers are still out there, but as mortgage rates climb back up to 7.44% (as of April 15), the number of buyers who can qualify for a mortgage is likely to tick down. 

Those who back away as their prospective monthly mortgage payment goes up also have less incentive to bid more, to rush into a home purchase, or to waive the home inspection. 

Home sellers have adjusted their expectations. They’re becoming a little more realistic given the current market conditions. Home prices and mortgage rates remain elevated, so buyers are going to be a little bit more picky and are going to be looking for more flexibility from sellers.

Hannah Jones

Senior economic research analyst at Realtor.com

While buyers can certainly appreciate the more buyer-friendly conditions during Realtor.com’s “best week of 2024 to list a home,” there’s also good news for sellers. As Jones pointed out, “the housing market is showing signs of rebalancing,” adding that it’s moving in the right direction. 

Compared to last year, less than half as many sellers expect multiple offers, etc.

The share of sellers expecting to see the typical signs of a white-hot seller’s market this spring are less than half the share with such high expectations in the spring market of 2023. 

Seller expectations in Spring 2024:

  • Sellers expecting multiple offers on their home: 12% — down from 27% in 2023
  • Sellers expecting to sell for more than the asking price: 15% — down from 31%
  • Sellers expecting to receive an offer within one week of listing: 15% — down from 37%
  • Sellers expecting buyers to waive contingencies (like home inspections and appraisals): 15% — down from 35%

Data for this report is based on a survey of roughly 1,000 homeowners planning to sell their home in the next 12 months and 1,000 who sold their home in the past year. 

Seller expectations are moving away from the [COVID-19] pandemic frenzy toward more normal, pre-pandemic expectations. It’s a return to some balance. Although sellers are still in a really good position, this suggests that sellers are open to a little more give and take with buyers.

Hannah Jones

Senior economic research analyst at Realtor.com

What do home sellers want in 2024?

On average, homeowners planning to sell in 2024 have been thinking about it for about two years. Of those now listing their homes, many are hoping to cash in as buyers enter the spring market. 

Sellers are expecting their homes to sell for an average of $462,000 in 2024. But considering the national median list in March was $424,900, that number could undergo some changes.  

The percentage of sellers reducing prices is relatively high. So sellers may be optimistic coming into the market and then adjusting closer to buyer expectations.

Hannah Jones

Senior economic research analyst at Realtor.com

Nearly 8 in 10 recent sellers believe they waited too long and would have seen more buyer action if they had listed their homes earlier. Many of these had held off on listing their properties due to high mortgage rates

Around 73% of the survey respondents are sellers as well as buyers. About 79% of prospective sellers succumbed to the lock-in effect, reluctant to give up their low rate in exchange for a mortgage with a higher one. Roughly half of these homeowners are waiting to sell until rates go down, while 29% are moving ahead regardless of rates. 

Plenty of homeowners have been eagerly waiting for mortgage rates to come down so that they can sell their current home and more affordably upgrade to a new one.

With mortgage rates expected to ease slowly throughout the year, some potential sellers are planning to get off the sidelines in 2024 and make a move, with the majority expecting to buy a new home at the same time that they sell their current one.

Danielle Hale

Realtor.com Chief Economist

Hale shared her expectation that mortgage rates will drop to around 6.5% by the end of 2024. 

What do home sellers want in 2024?

Homeowners planning to sell sooner rather than later are doing so for the following reasons: 

  • Family (24%)
  • More space (23%)
  • Need to downsize (23%)
  • Life changes—including new marriage, child, or divorce (18%) 
  • To make a profit (24%)
  • To capitalize on home price increases (21%)

Life goes on. We still see that more normal churn in the housing market driven by big life events. Those things continue even in a challenging housing market.

Hannah Jones

Senior economic research analyst at Realtor.com

Byron Lazine touched on seller behavior in Tuesday’s Hot Sheet, as he reviewed the latest housing market report from Zillow. Discussing the increase in days on market in metros with stronger inventory growth, he stressed the importance of delivering value to your seller clients week after week while their homes remain on the market: 

It’s a phenomenal skill to have to be able to talk to your seller every single week educating them on the market and maybe what tweaks or positioning we can have. How are we uncovering other buyers that haven’t come through yet? How are we communicating with the buyers that have come through? What’s our open house strategy? These are all conversations that are very fruitful and valuable for sellers who are on the market.

Byron Lazine