2023 Year in Review | Conejo Valley


The market “experts” had a poor showing in 2023. The forecasts called for the U.S. economy to enter a recession (it didn’t), mortgage rates were expected to drop (rates went up), home prices were supposed to come down 9% (prices increased), and the number of home sales were forecast to drop about 8% (sales plunged over 20%).


With rates going up, home owners decided to hold on to their property rather than give up their low rate. As a result, inventory hit record low numbers locally, and even with buyer demand much lower than years past, few homes for sale kept home prices stable. In fact, multiple offers remained common in spite of the higher mortgage rates.  


Finally in December, mortgage rates started to reverse course and come down – a trend that’s expected to continue in 2024.


What to Expect in 2024


Supply will loosen up in 2024. Even homeowners who have been characterized as being ‘locked in’ to low rates will increasingly find that changing family and financial circumstances will lead to more moves and more new listings over the course of the year, particularly as rates move closer to 6.5%.”   Lisa Sturtevant, Chief Economist at Bright MLS


Pricing Your Home in 2024


2024 home prices forecast: The market is still in your favor, especially in the Conejo Valley. The California Association of Realtors forecasts that home prices will increase 6.2% next year. However, the suburbs are the main beneficiary of the flight from the cities which is why the Conejo Valley will likely outperform state averages in 2024. 


Pricing your home correctly is important again

It’s still a seller’s market. However, buyers have less purchasing power and are more cautious today. Multiple offers are still common, but It’s important to not overplay your hand. I’ve witnessed many sellers go from several offers to zero – scaring off good buyers by asking for too much.


My Advice: Be fairly conservative with your asking price. No one truly knows what a house is worth before putting it on the market, but we do typically have an idea of the price spectrum. You want to aim towards the middle of that spectrum. 

There are enough eager buyers out there that you can’t really under price your home – the market will bid it up. However, you can overprice your home. An overpriced home will sit on the market and even the inevitable price reduction won’t be enough to stimulate the same amount of interest if it was priced correctly at the beginning.


You need to be prepared to adjust to the market quickly

If your home isn’t getting many showings or worse, none at all, the market is probably telling you that you’re considerably overpriced. With such little competition, your home should get at least some interest from active buyers. If not, there’s likely a problem.


My Advice: Don’t fight the market. Adjust your price quickly if your house is being ignored. The longer on the market, the lower the offers typically are. And you’ll want to have a decent drop to make a difference. $10k is typically considered the minimum, but it depends on many factors.


Prepping and Showings


The condition of your home matters again

In previous years, the advice to sellers was – spend very little time and money getting your home ready to go on the market since it won’t make much difference anyway. Today’s buyers expect homes to be more move-in ready to offset the higher cost of the loan.


My Advice: You don’t need to do a full remodel, but you may want to put some money in some repairs or minor upgrades like paint and flooring. The more barriers and costs you can remove for buyers, the more likely they’ll make an offer.  


Your home will get fewer showings

During the boom, we would often schedule all showings from Friday – Sunday, then respond to the countless offers by Monday. We knew that wouldn’t last forever. It could take a little longer to sell your home today and that’s ok. The buyers are still there and more will come back as the year progresses. We’re fortunate to live in an area with high demand. A properly priced home will always sell eventually.


My Advice: Make your home easy to show. There will be fewer showings, but there are still plenty of motivated and eager buyers ready to go. You’ll want to avoid setting up unnecessary barriers to make showings difficult. Buyer’s are a little skittish these days. You want to make the experience feel right so they’ll move forward with an offer  




You might not get a full price offer

Yes, many homes will get full price offers and in some cases, multiple offers. However, that’s less common than before. Prepare yourself that you may even get some low ball offers. But an offer is almost always a good thing.


My Advice: Be patient. It may take some time to receive an offer, and when you do, the negotiation may take a few days too, especially if buyer and seller are far apart. Try to keep emotions in check and understand that you may have to drop your bottom line depending on the level of interest in your house. Even though inventory is low, buyers are still cautious. Many sellers have lost buyers during the negotiation only to end up selling for less a few months later.   


Buyers expect seller concessions

Sellers had the luxury of calling most of the shots over the last several years. And buyers were more than happy to give in as long as they got the house in the end. Again, that was an unusual time. Nothing catastrophic has changed, we’re just back to the days of buyers expecting sellers to fix broken and safety items. And free seller rent backs are a thing of the past for now.


My Advice: Make sure your house is in great condition before you go on the market – buyers expect that now. Inevitably, something will come up in the inspection that the buyer will ask the seller to repair. Keep an open mind. Only the buyer has the right to cancel the sale during their contingency period. 

The last thing you want is to risk going back on the market over relatively small items. Of course that doesn’t mean a seller should be inclined to renegotiate the price, but if the buyer is acting in good faith, keep your eye on the long term goal. 


Bottom Line…

It’s a great time to be a seller. You may get lucky and sell in a weekend, or it may take a month or two to find a buyer slightly below your asking price. That’s not unusual. Getting 10 offers in a weekend well over asking – that’s unusual!


Let’s Connect!


Hi, I’m Michael

LOCAL REALTOR® | since 1999

I’ll help you explore your options to find out what’s best for you and your move.

And as a local Realtor®, I can help you market and sell your Conejo Valley home.

The process begins when we take the opportunity to discuss your specific needs, timing and expectations. My 20+ years of experience have proven that communication is the key to a successful transaction.