When you first bought your house, it was the perfect fit for you and your family. Now your circumstances may have changed and you’re exploring what to do next. Here are some ideas that can help you improve your living situation and make the most of your money.
If your home isn’t meeting your present needs but you don’t want to move, consider getting a home equity loan to fund some improvements. According to the experts, after you’ve taken care of maintenance issues such as ensuring your roof and plumbing are sound, kitchen and bath remodels can be great investments and improve your home’s resale value. If you need more space, adding another bedroom may make more financial sense than buying a bigger home.
If you feel like it’s time to buy another house, you have some decisions to make. Keep in mind that moving always puts a strain on your finances, so you’ll need to take a hard look at your budget before you take the plunge. If you decide you can afford to move, do you sell your current house first and then buy one, or vice versa? Do you try to time both transactions so they occur within the same timeframe? For instance, sometimes you can put an offer in on a new home that is contingent on your old home selling, but this will depend on market conditions and the willingness of the seller to agree to your terms. Having an experienced real estate agent in your corner can help you explore your options.
Before you put your house on the market, getting it shipshape is critical to selling it fast and for the right price. You’ll need to take care of any necessary repairs, declutter, and stage it to make it look as inviting as possible. Timing is everything too. Buyers usually start looking for homes in March and sales generally remain strong through July because families want to move in before the new school year starts. Come late summer, there will be fewer buyers, which can potentially reduce your sales price.
Of course, you want to get top dollar for your home, but you’ll need to lean on your real estate agent to help you price it competitively. By looking at what comparable prices are selling for in your neighborhood, you will quickly get a reality check. Your real estate agent can provide this information and take you on a tour of homes so you can see what your competition is. Pricing your home too high could leave your house sitting on the market longer than you’d like.
Sometimes reducing your monthly payment or tapping into your home’s equity can make living in your existing home more attractive. That’s where refinancing comes in. You could potentially save money by getting a lower interest rate or if you have enough equity built up, take a cash-out refinance, which allows you to get a loan for more than what you owe on the home. You can use that money to renovate, or consolidate debt, although if you use the money to pay off debt you should budget carefully to avoid racking up debt again. Whatever your reasons are for refinancing, you’ll need to do the math before you consider this option. Also, if you’ve lived in your home less than five years, chances are you won’t be able to recoup what it costs to refinance. Check out our Mortgage Refinance Breakeven calculator to see if it makes financial sense.
We Can Help
SchoolsFirst FCU offers a variety of home loans1, including the HomeAccessTM loan, with options that make it easier to qualify because you can use gift funds2 to help with the down payment and add a family Member as a co-signer on the mortgage.
We also offer our Home360SM Program that pairs you with an experienced SchoolsFirst FCU loan consultant and a participating real estate agent who will guide you every step of the way to help you get the best deal on your new home. Members can receive a 20% rebate from the commission of the participating agent who represents them in their home purchase — or 25% rebates from the commissions when both a home sale and purchase are completed.2
- All loans are subject to approval. 2. Gift funds must be from a family member, defined as borrower’s spouse, child or other dependent, or by any other individual who is related to the borrower by blood, marriage, adoption, or legal guardianship. The donor may not be, or have any affiliation with, the builder, developer, real estate agent, or any other interested party to the transaction. 2. Rebate payment is made by First Team Real Estate or HomeSmart Evergreen Realty. Rebate is credited to your benefit at the close of transaction, and will be lowered by any reductions to the commissions paid to the participating agent in a concurrent purchase and sale of a home. Commission will vary. To be eligible for the 20% rebate, Member must complete the transaction with the agent assigned by SchoolsFirst FCU Home360℠. Using SchoolsFirst FCU for a mortgage loan is not a requirement to earn the rebate. Purchase price must be greater than $150,000 after all credit adjustments. All rebates are subject to limitations, lender guidelines, and other requirements. Certain properties may not be eligible for rebates. Rebate is 20% for purchase only of a residential property in California. Please consult a qualified tax professional for advice on tax implications from receiving a rebate. First Team Real Estate and HomeSmart Evergreen Realty are not affiliated with SchoolsFirst FCU.
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Extra Credit provides general information to help improve our Member’s financial lives. Every situation is different, so please contact us for guidance on your specific needs. The advice provided in Extra Credit is not intended to serve as a substitute for speaking to a loan representative, financial advisor, or GreenPath Financial Wellness counselor who can help tailor a solution for you.
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