For many people, there comes a time when they decide that their home no longer meets their needs. Whether you’re still living in your Charleston starter home or you’re in a second or third home, there are many reasons why people choose to sell their home and move to another – a better neighborhood, more space (or less space that’s nicer), better public schools, more bathrooms for the kids, etc. If you’re considering moving up, we have some questions that may help you to make this very tough decision.
1) Can you fix the problems by making repairs to the home you currently live in? Depending on your reasons for moving, you may be able to save money by staying put. If you need another bathroom, for example, you could get an estimate for a contractor to add one to your house. If you need a bigger yard (and if your current yard was already fenced when you bought the home), you can check with your neighborhood’s HOA to see if you could expand the fence. Especially in newer neighborhoods, we’ve found that sometimes builders do not fence in all of the land that comes with the house.
2) How much money do you have left to pay on your mortgage? You can talk with your lender to discuss your balance. He or she should also be able to tell you whether you would have any pay-off fees or prepayment penalties.
3) How much would you get if you sold your home? For this research, you’ll need to contact a real estate agent. He or she will be able to find comparable homes that have recently sold and use this information to give tell you two things: a reasonable asking price and an estimate of how long it should take to sell your home.
4) If you were to sell your home, how much would you net? Keep your real estate agent on the phone because he or she can help you determine this amount. He or she will need to know how much you still owe on your home mortgage (so be sure to talk with your lender first). Using this information, your real estate agent should be able to come up with a figure for how much you would need to sell your house for in order to make a profit (and how much the profit, or net, would be).
5) How would you plan to pay for your new home? Talk with a home loan officer to find out what price home you can afford, what size down payment you would need to make, and (depending on what type of loan is best for you) what other costs are typically associated with buying a home.
6) Would you be able to find homes that meet your needs? Now that you know your price range, talk with your real estate agent to see what homes are available to you. He or she should be able to send you home listings based on your specific home needs. Here is your chance to see if there are homes that you can afford with that extra space, or those good school districts, or whatever it is that you need. Your real estate agent can even show you the homes that you’re considering.
7) What is your decision? If you find homes that meet your needs, then you can go ahead and make your decision about whether you want to move. And, only you can make this decision – not your home loan officer, your real estate agent, or anyone else involved. If you opt to buy the new home, the next step would be to talk with your real estate agent. If you choose to not buy a new home, at least you’ll rest assured knowing that you carefully examined all of your options and that you made a sound, educated decision.