When you first purchased your house, it was the perfect fit for you and your family. Now your needs have changed and you may be 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. To learn more, read Remodeling Trends That Can Make or Break Your Home’s Value and What to Know About Home Equity Loans.
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 pocketbook, so you’ll need to take a hard look at your finances 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. Read 6 Features to Highlight in Your Home Sale and 7 Things to Consider When Buying a Bigger Home.
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. Read When to Refinance a Mortgage to learn more.
Homebuying and Selling Workshops
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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 BALANCE counselor who can help tailor a solution for you.
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