Do you ever toy with the idea of selling your home? Maybe you never really loved your property in the first place, or the property tax bills are killing you. Maybe the commute is awful, your neighbors annoy you daily, or the “fixer upper” kitchen you planned to renovate is still an avocado-colored nightmare. Deciding whether to love your Austin home or list it for sale isn't an easy decision -- despite what the reality TV shows might lead you to believe. That’s because parting with a home falls into the “major life change” category.
Cue the second-guessing, polling your friends and family for opinions, obsessive list-making and mentally running through all scenarios as soon as your head hits the pillow. If you feel like this describes how you feel about parting with your home, it’s time to take a deep breath and consider the signs life has been throwing your way. Here’s how to know if it’s time to sell, refinance, or just stay put.
It’s a sign to . . . refinance OR do nothing
If your down payment was less than 20%, your loan likely came with private mortgage insurance that has added a little extra to your monthly payment. If you now have at least 20% equity in your home, you can refinance your loan in order to remove the PMI. If you don’t have at least 20% equity yet, it might be worth waiting a little bit longer.
It’s a sign to . . . stay put and update OR sell
After you've lived in your home for awhile you may grow to dislike certain features about it that you once loved or were at least able to ignore. Before listing your home for sale, consider making improvements to address your main areas of concern. If the issues aren't fixable or you just don't want to tackle a renovation project, then it's time to talk about putting your home on the market.
It's a sign to . . . stay put
Whether you’ve put a lot of money into updating your home or you recently made another big investment in your life (started a business, went back to school, bought a new car, and so on), you could be stretched a little too thin to sell your home right now. While renovations often add to the value of a home, they don’t guarantee a higher sales price and shouldn’t be the sole motivation for selling. This is especially true if you made highly personal choices in your improvements, like going for fire engine red kitchen cabinets. Stay put if you can and let the gradual appreciation of the real estate market earn back the money you invested.
It’s a sign to . . . refinance
Sure, you might profit from the sale of your home, which could help you pay off lingering loans, credit card balances and other types of debt. But that’s not a guarantee. Plus, in order to get the highest offers, you could end up having to invest in making repairs and upgrades. If you’ve built equity, you can refinance to a lower interest rate and a lower monthly payment, thus freeing up more money in your budget. Another option to consider is a cash-out refinance to consolidate your debt. This pays off the balances up front, then you’d make fixed payments on the refinanced loan.
It’s a sign to . . . sell
What was once a quiet suburban road became a popular cut-through for speeding traffic. Your neighbors really leaned into urban farming, and now you can’t even enjoy your backyard without constant noise and smells. While there are many things you can do to improve your home’s interior and exterior, you can’t change the location. If the idea of heading home makes you miserable, it’s time to find sell your home and find a new way. Just be sure to visit potential neighborhoods on weekdays during rush hour and weekend nights to get a true sense of the lifestyle.
It’s a sign to . . . . sell
Maybe your family expanded since you first bought your home or you bought a dog and need a larger yard. A perpetual lack of space is a sign that it's time to sell your home. If affordability is a concern, prioritize space over other items on your real estate wish list.
So where does that leave you?
If you got "a sign to sell" on one or more of your answers, reach out. It's worth discussing your unique situation and explore your options. As a starting point, check your home value HERE.
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