Sheryl Simon's Blog
Owning a home can be an amazing experience. But interest from your mortgage accumulates over time, leaving you to seemingly pay an arm and a leg to finance your home. But while you may think that paying off your mortgage early is a great idea, that isn’t always the case.
You May Have Other Debt
Paying off your mortgage early can save you on interest costs, but you more than likely have other debt to deal with. If you have other debts — like car loans, student loans or credit card debt — then these should be paid off first. Try to focus on your debts with higher interest rates; these tend to be associated with credit cards. After you’ve paid those debts off, then moving on to pay off your mortgage could be a good choice.
You Don’t Want to Go Broke
Paying off your mortgage may sound great and all, but you must consider all of your expenses, including possible emergencies. Saving on interest is very tempting, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your emergency fund. You never know when something serious will happen, so do your best to set aside some cash. If you have hefty savings and all of your expenses are accounted for every month, then you can move on to paying off your mortgage early.
Consider Your Future
Many people try to pay as much as they can towards their mortgage, only to find out that they used up all of their money. While they have some big expenses and big life changes that cost money, now they have to save up in order to cover those costs. That being said, it’s best to think about your future before paying more towards your mortgage. Are you planning on having kids? Thinking of going back to school? With how frequent life changes, you never know when you could use money down the road. While it might seem like a great plan to throw money at your mortgage payment, think about your life goals and how your finances fit in that equation.
It Can Be Beneficial
Although we’ve made some points above that suggest that you shouldn’t pay off your mortgage early, it can still be very beneficial to do so. Let’s say your household is doing very well with finances and money is pouring in quickly. If your other debts and finances are taken care of, then paying off your mortgage early can help you save on interest; the larger amount you pay, the more you’ll save on interest. However, this can be a tough choice. Be sure to consider the points mentioned above before paying this loan off early.
You’ve decided to sell your home to upgrade or even downsize, but you don’t know whether you should start looking and buy first or wait to sell first. The best-case scenario is to do both, but that takes a lot of planning. If you are sure your credit is good enough to get the loan you want, you can find a home and you have a buyer for your home all at the same time, the process could be quite smooth. Working with an excellent real estate agent goes a long way to making this scenario go smoothly.
If you decide to buy a new house before you sell, and then put your home on the market, or choose to put your home on the market and buy a new home, even if your home doesn’t sell quickly, you will most likely have a place to move to—and can take your time moving. This plan has two hitches, and they’re not necessarily bad:
Your house sells quicker than you expected. If it does and you haven’t found a home, or you did, but you haven’t closed yet, you may have to move to temporary housing until your deal closes. On the other hand, if the seller is not in any hurry, you could rent your home back until your deal closes and you get moved.
You will have to pay two mortgages. If your current home is not paid off, you will have to pay two mortgages. Depending on your income, you may not be able to close the loan on the new home until you sell your current home. If your debt-to-income ratio has room for two mortgages, this is not a problem.
Selling first is probably the safest way to go about moving. Once your house sells, put most of your possessions into storage and find a short-term rental. This allows you to take your time finding your dream home and getting the financing for the new house. Since you have all the time in the world, you’ll be able to shop around for the best mortgage without feeling pressured to take something because you need to close quickly.
Making the Decision
Before you decide on whether to buy or sell first or do both at the same time, determine which is best for your situation.
Check your credit score. The better your credit, the lower your new interest rate will be. Lenders will be more willing to work with you.
Start browsing for homes for sale to see if there is anything you are interested in.
Know how much mortgage you will qualify for. Speak to several lenders about the different available loan programs.
Contact a real estate agent to discuss listing your home. Ask about the listing contract and the cost of listing. Some real estate agents give you a discount on their commission if you use them to buy and sell.
Know the market. If buyers are flooding the market, it may be easier to sell your home. If sellers are flooding the market, it may take longer to sell your home because there are many homes for people to choose from.
The answers to these questions will let you know if it is better to buy or sell first.
For those who want to enjoy a fast, profitable and seamless home selling experience, there is no need to worry. In fact, there are many things that you can do to minimize the risk of a home selling fiasco, and these include:
1. Conduct a Home Inspection
A house inspection usually is completed after a seller accepts a buyer's offer to purchase a residence. At this time, a buyer typically requests an inspection to identify any underlying house issues. If a buyer is satisfied with the inspection results, he or she likely will proceed with a home purchase. Or, if a buyer encounters myriad home problems, this buyer may reconsider his or her offer to purchase a residence.
By conducting a home inspection before you list your house, you can immediately identify any underlying home problems. You then can work to correct various house problems and avoid the risk that such issues could potentially slow down or stop a home sale in the near future.
2. Perform Home Upgrades
When it comes to selling a house, it generally is a good idea to be proactive. And if you allocate time and resources to upgrade your house now, you may be better equipped than ever before to stir up lots of interest in your residence as soon as it becomes available.
To enhance your house's exterior, you should mow the front lawn, fix any cracked or damaged home siding and perform assorted home exterior repairs. By doing so, you can improve your house's curb appeal.
Furthermore, don't forget to devote attention to your house's interior. If you can clean every room of your home and eliminate clutter, you could boost the likelihood of a successful home selling experience.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Getting the best results – and avoiding potentially time-intensive and costly problems – is paramount for any home seller. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to quickly sell your house and maximize your earnings.
A real estate agent is happy to help you kick off a successful home selling journey. First, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your house and home selling goals. He or she next will help you craft a home selling strategy based on your residence and the current real estate market's conditions. Then, a real estate agent will promote your residence to buyers and host open house events and home showings. And once you receive an offer to purchase your residence, a real estate agent will help you review this proposal and make an informed decision.
Let's not forget about a real estate agent's industry expertise, either. If you ever have questions during the home selling journey, a real estate agent will instantly address these queries.
Reduce the risk of encountering problems when you sell your house – consult with a real estate agent today, and you'll be able to receive comprehensive assistance at each stage of the home selling journey.
As a home seller, it is important to keep your house show-ready. By doing so, you can ensure your residence will look great, regardless of when a homebuyer wants to see it.
Ultimately, home staging can make a world of difference for any home seller, at any time. And with the right home staging advice, a home seller can learn what it takes to maintain a house's appearance both inside and out.
When it comes to last-minute home staging, here are three tips that every home seller needs to consider.
1. Illuminate your residence
Open up the shades and let sunlight into your residence – you'll be glad you did. By taking a few minutes to ensure that the shades are open, you can illuminate your residence and transform an ordinary home interior into a dazzling one.
In addition, turn on lights throughout your residence. This will enable you to brighten up each room in your home, thereby increasing the likelihood that homebuyers can see the true beauty of your entire house.
2. Wipe down bathroom and kitchen counters and sinks
Let's face it – messy counters and sinks are eyesores that no homebuyer wants to see. Fortunately, wiping down bathroom and kitchen counters and sinks is a fast, easy way to help your house stand out in homebuyers' eyes.
Keep paper towels or washcloths and a general-purpose cleaner near bathroom and kitchen counters. That way, you can wipe down these surfaces without having to search far and wide to find various home cleaning essentials.
Also, don't forget to remove clutter from in and around a bathroom or kitchen sink. Whether it's dishes in the kitchen sink or leftover toothpaste in the bathroom sink, it pays to be thorough as you complete last-minute preparations for a home showing.
3. Check for odors in your home
Pungent smells that come from a refrigerator or other areas may impact how a homebuyer perceives your house. Thus, you'll want to do a quick odor check as part of your last-minute home staging routine.
Empty any garbage cans as needed. This will allow you to eliminate nasty odors that may be coming from garbage cans.
Furthermore, feel free to use scented candles to deal with tough smells. If you decide to use scented candles, however, make sure the odors that they provide are not too overwhelming.
If you need any extra assistance as you get your house ready for a home showing, don't hesitate to reach out to your real estate agent as well.
Typically, your real estate agent can offer expert advice throughout the home selling journey. He or she will make it easy for you to prep for home showings and stage your home properly. As a result, your real estate agent can increase your chances of receiving the best price for your residence.
As the clock ticks closer to a home showing, there's no need to worry. Use the aforementioned tips, and a home seller can get a house show-ready in a matter of minutes.
It’s easy for a home to get out of hand with all the things that come through the door every week. Here are a few tips for keeping up with the never-ending clutter that enters your home.
Create a Shoe Station
Set up a location at each entry door for family members and guests to remove shoes and boots. Keeping dirt and debris at the entry and not trekked into the house reduces how often you must clean. It also keeps allergens, toxins and grime off your carpet and away from your family.
Organize the Paper
While newspapers are a thing of the past for most households, junk-mail, circulars and bills seem to keep coming. First, unsubscribe from any magazines and catalogs that you don’t want or use. Then, set up a table or shelf near the door to sort your mail. Toss the circulars and shred the junk mail before it gets further into the room. Sign up for electronic versions of your bills to reduce those as well.
Nix Junk Drawers
Everyone has at least one, and many folks have one in every room … it’s those pesky drawers, baskets or bins that fill up with pens, buttons, receipts, tape, scissors, batteries and random indeterminate objects you think might be important. They take up space but don’t contribute to organization. Start with the smallest one. Remove any receipts and take a picture of them with your phone. Then toss the receipt. If it’s important, you have the details and won’t worry if the thermal paper fades to an unreadable blur.
Next, test all the pens and pencils. If they’re broken or inkless, toss them. Find a small box to store all the batteries in one place. As you move from room to room, collect the batteries and organize them in the box to store on a shelf. Electronic items such as charger cords and blocks belong in another box.
These three simple hacks go a long way toward helping you keep your home in order. That way, when it comes time to sell, you’re ready for the surprise visit from a buyer or the call from your agent when you’re far from home. Ask your real estate professional about other ideas to keep your home show-ready.