If you’re planning to buy or sell a home in 2024, you’re probably feeling a mixture of excitement and stress. Homeownership is a major financial undertaking, but it’s also extremely rewarding. Setting a goal for the year is a great way to stay motivated and take action. Whenever you start to feel uncertain or frustrated, you can remember the goal you’ve set for yourself and how happy you’ll feel when you finally reach it.
Here are six steps for hitting your homeownership goals in 2024:
1. Set A Specific And Realistic Goal
Setting a goal is most effective when your goal is specific, achievable, and time-based. Your homeownership goal might challenge you to work harder or dedicate a lot of your free time to the home search, but it should always feel like a reasonable target. If there’s no chance of you actually achieving your goal, you’ll give up before you even get close.
Additionally, your goal should be as specific as possible. If you’re planning to buy a home this year, you should know exactly what your ideal house looks like and where it’s located. Not only will this help guide your search, but it also provides an opportunity for you to envision your life in your new home, which can be highly motivating. Setting a deadline for your goal can help to motivate you, too, although you should keep in mind that the timeline is not entirely within your control. If you don’t buy or sell your home in your desired time frame, don’t give up hope or settle for an unfavorable deal.
2. Assess Your Finances
Buying or selling a home may be the largest transaction you have ever completed. Before making any moves in 2024, you should be absolutely certain that you’re financially ready. If you plan to buy a home this year, you may have already received a preapproval from a mortgage lender. However, the amount you’re preapproved for is not necessarily the amount you can afford. Take a close look at your monthly income and expenses to determine a comfortable payment that fits in your budget.
Saving up a down payment can be one of the most challenging steps toward buying a home. If necessary, consider cutting non-essential expenses or increasing your working hours so you can save more. Working on your credit score can be helpful as you prepare to buy a home, too. Pay off small debts, dispute any errors on your credit report, and avoid taking on any new debt except for your mortgage.
3. Determine If You’re Ready
Before becoming a homeowner, you should make sure you’re truly ready for the responsibility. Evaluating your finances to confirm you can manage a mortgage payment is one important step. There are plenty of other factors to consider when buying or selling a home, too.
In addition to affording the down payment and mortgage, you should also be financially prepared for maintenance costs. Something almost always goes wrong in the first year of homeownership, and repairs can cost thousands of dollars. Routine, preventative maintenance costs can add up as well. You should either have an emergency fund or set aside some money every month for any maintenance tasks that come up.
You should also be sure that your lifestyle, life goals, and relationships support homeownership at this time. If you plan to move in a couple years, now may not be the right time to purchase a home. If you live with a partner, you should both be in agreement on what you’re looking for in a home.
If you want to sell your home, ensuring that you’re ready is equally important. You should have a clear and achievable plan to purchase a new home or find a rental. Your home also needs to be ready for the market. Preparing a home to sell is a huge effort, so you should make sure you have the time, money, and energy to accomplish this task.
4. Educate Yourself
The real estate market can be complicated and volatile, but educating yourself on the industry will help you achieve your goals. You should learn as much as you can about mortgages, contingencies, and closing costs. Fortunately, there are plenty of online resources that you can access to learn more about the real estate market.
It’s also important to research the market conditions in your location. Real estate can be highly localized, so your experience will vary depending on where you live. To successfully buy or sell a home in 2024, you should know what houses sell for on average in your neighborhood, how long they stay on the market, and what features are most important to homeowners in your area.
5. Consult With A Professional
Having a professional on your side as you work toward your real estate goals is essential. Some agents specialize in selling homes, and others work more frequently with buyers. If you’re selling your home, you should hire an agent who has sold plenty of properties similar to yours. If you plan to buy in 2024, look for an agent who’s closely familiar with your desired neighborhood and understands exactly what you’re looking for in a home.
Your agent will be a valuable source of knowledge as you work toward your goals. They can help you determine if your goals are realistic or if you should adjust your expectations. They may also notice red flags that you would have otherwise overlooked.
6. Be Careful And Avoid Rushing
Buying or selling a home can sometimes be a long and stressful process. With high mortgage rates and dwindling inventory, the 2024 market may be especially challenging. No matter how frustrated you feel, you should never rush into a decision or settle for something that’s not right for you and your family.
When buying a home, you and your agent should write a list of essential and non-essential features you’re looking for. If a home doesn’t meet all of your non-essential criteria, you could proceed with the purchase anyway. However, if the property is lacking the things that are truly important to you, you should probably walk away. It can be tempting to put in an offer just because you’re desperate for the search to end, but you may regret this in the future.
Accepting an unfavorable deal can also be tempting when selling your home. If you need to sell your house by a certain date, you may be forced to accept an offer. However, if you can wait, try to remain patient.
The start of a new year is the perfect time to set goals. If homeownership is one of your 2024 goals, you should start preparing as soon as possible. Get familiar with the market in your area, keep a close eye on your finances, and connect with a real estate professional. Your 2024 goals are within your reach as long as you stay committed to the process.