When is it Time to Downsize Your Home?

Maybe the spacious home with the white picket fence you’ve always wanted doesn’t have the same charm it used to. Between increased maintenance over the years, unused rooms, and high monthly expenses – your home may be causing more headaches than it’s worth. If any of this is resonating with you, it could be time to downsize your home.

Choosing to sell and move to a smaller home is a big and likely emotional, decision. You might have lived in the home for decades or raised your family there – that’s why it’s important to know when the time is right and what resources are available to help. Keep reading to see when you should truly consider downsizing.

Your monthly housing expenses are high

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recommends spending no more than 30% of your monthly income on housing. If you’re paying more than that, you could be qualified as “financially burdened.” This means if you’re planning on retiring anytime soon, or will have a significant drop in income, it will be even harder to keep up on bills and monthly expenses. Downsizing will allow you to have a reduced mortgage or rent, cheaper utilities, and fewer maintenance needs. If you’re able to downsize 5 to 10 years before retirement, you can use the extra cash to save for travel or other activities.

Home maintenance is overwhelming

The older your home gets, the more maintenance it will need. Minor repairs, painting, caring for the lawn, and snow removal all take time and are physically demanding. Instead of throwing more money into maintenance costs by hiring a professional, consider moving into a rent-controlled space that has maintenance included. This will take the burden off of having to keep up with home repairs so you can focus on relaxing and enjoying retirement.

Your home doesn’t fit your needs

As we get older, our mobility changes – causing us to have different needs and requirements for our day-to-day lives. Whether it’s steep stairs, bathtubs without grab bars, or large yards that are impossible to keep up with – an inaccessible home is reason enough to consider downsizing. This is especially the case if you’d also have to invest in upgrades to accommodate your needs.

Financial considerations for selling your home

Before making a financial decision, you should also consider how much downsizing would cost. While you’ll be saving money in the long run, you’ll also need to account for any costs that come with selling your current home. Not only will you need to plan for initial updates if you want a higher value on your home, but you will also have to account for real estate agent fees and closing costs.

Downsizing takes time, planning, and research. Outside of finances, there will be other factors to evaluate and our financial experts are here to help! Contact us to get started, stop into your local branch, or schedule a video chat or phone call with our loan department.

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Financial Considerations When Selling a Home

Are you considering selling your home? It’s certainly not a decision to be made lightly, especially after making such a large investment. Whether you’re downscaling, upsizing, moving to a new area, or are looking to make a profit – there are always financial considerations to be made when it comes to selling a home.

Here are some important financial factors that may determine when and if you’re ready to sell.

Your home’s worth

Before putting your house on the market, you’ll want to have an understanding of the value of your property. This can change over time, which is why the first step is to see how much your house is worth in the current housing market.

You can do this by researching real estate websites to find out how much similar homes in your area have sold for. A formal appraisal is another approach that can provide you with a more accurate number based on home sales in your community. Of course, a real estate agent can also assist in determining a listing price for your home.

How much it will cost

Finding out the value of your home is just the beginning of the selling process. Prepping your home to be sold is where things can get pricey. You’ll likely need to do a deep clean, paint, or even repair anything you’ve been waiting to fix. If you want a higher value on your home, you should plan for any home renovations ahead of time.

Outside of prepping costs, there are other fees associated with selling a home that you might not have thought of. A typical real estate agent, for example – will typically charge a commission fee of up to 6%. You should also expect to pay a closing cost of 1-3% of your house price, which includes the home inspection, appraisal, and insurance costs. Be sure to list these expected extra costs on a spreadsheet for reference as you begin the process.

The housing market

As a seller, you’ll want to evaluate the housing market to get a better idea of when is the right time to sell. Factors like interest rates on home loans can be a key indicator. Time of the year can also make an impact on if you’re able to sell and for how much. Depending on where you live, the market typically peaks in April through July with slower periods in the winter months due to the cold weather and holidays. Overall, timing definitely plays a role in how much you’re able to sell your house for.

Selling takes time, planning, and research. If done right, you’ll be able to successfully sell your home and even make a profit. Outside of finances, there will be other factors to evaluate and our financial experts are here to help. Contact us to get started, or stop into your local branch on one of our upcoming branch mortgage days to speak with a representative on-the-spot!

10 Tips for Selling Your House Fast and at Top Dollar

When you’re trying to sell your house, you want to do it as quickly as possible. But did you realize you only have six seconds? Your house may be on the market longer than that, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Homebuyers generally make their purchase decisions based on first impressions, and real estate experts estimate those impressions are formed within the first six seconds—three from the curb and three from the entryway.

If you’re going to win over a prospective buyer, you’ll have to get their attention quickly to convince them that your house is their next home. Yes, location is key. And yes, price matters too. With a few strategic preparations, you can make your property as attractive and inviting as possible. By doing so, you’ll set it up to sell sooner rather than later.

10 Ways to Prepare Your Home to Sell ASAP

1. Think like a buyer.
It can be tempting to present your home in a way that highlights the aspects you like the most. The problem with this approach is that your favorites are just that—your Potential buyers won’t be looking at your house through the lens of nostalgia. Help them see your home as a blank slate where they can form their own identity.

2. Focus on curb appeal.
It’s incredible what a tidy lawn and freshly mulched flower beds can do for a house. Most buyers will drive by your property before deciding whether or not to take a closer look. A house that looks welcoming from the street stands a much better chance of selling quickly.

3. Freshen up your front door.
If curb appeal is a friendly invitation, a freshly painted front door is a cheery welcome. Every buyer who looks at your home will most likely enter through the front door, so giving it a new coat of paint can cover up any scuffs and dings that have shown up over time. This small step will help the house look livable—not lived in.

4. Make basic repairs.
If you’ve lived in your home for any amount of time, there are probably a few problems you’ve learned to live with. Chipped paint, missing fence boards, leaky kitchen faucets, flickering lightbulbs, etc. These are just a few of the minor inconveniences that you might overlook on a daily basis. They’re also the little details that could make your house less attractive to a buyer. Make the simple fixes – you’ll be glad you did.

5. Stay neutral.
If you personalized your house by using vibrant colors in each room, it might be a good idea to repaint. While you might love bold colors, there’s no guarantee the next owner will. Painting the walls in neutral colors will let potential buyers observe the overall house without getting hung up on whether or not they like the colors you chose.

6. Make it less “you.”
While we’re focused on the interior, make a special effort to remove decorations and knick-knacks that reflect your personal tastes and identity. No matter how friendly and familiar they may be, family photos will make buyers feel like their visiting someone else’s house. You want them to feel like they’re spending time in their own.

7. Clean and declutter.
You don’t have to channel your inner Marie Kondo, but clearing clutter will not only make the house look cleaner, it will make it feel bigger. And when it comes to cleanliness, there’s no such thing as too clean. When you think things are finally clean enough, go over them once more. Buyers will notice.

8. Use some common scents.
It goes without saying (or at least it should) that you should do your very best to eliminate offensive smells like pets, dirty laundry, or cooking odors. If you want to increase your chances of selling your house, go a step beyond deodorizing and introduce a pleasant scent. Candles, essential oils, and fresh baked cookies can do a wonderful job of creating a welcoming environment for house hunters.

9. Stage strategically.
If you can’t afford to hire a professional real estate stager, you can still arrange each room to highlight your home’s top features. While each room matters, pay particular attention to the family room, the master bedroom, and the kitchen. These are the three rooms where the new owners will spend most of their time, so staging them well is a small task that can make a big difference.

10. Hire a real estate agent.
If you want to sell your home as quickly as possible, enlisting the help of a professional is a smart way to accomplish your goal. Experienced realtors know the local market, and their expertise can help you sell your house faster and for more money. Selling a home on your own might sound like a good idea, but when you consider that a real estate agent can handle the marketing, negotiations, and legal details, their commission can be money that’s well spent.

Potential home buyers want to walk through a house that feels exciting and new. They also want it to feel like home. Following the tips listed above can help you give them exactly what they’re looking for. And the faster you make that happen, the sooner those buyers will give you what you want—a house with a SOLD sign in the yard.

Have you recently sold your home and now need a mortgage on a new home? If you live, work, worship, volunteer, or attend school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties in NJ – we’re sure we’ve got a mortgage product that will meet your needs!* Learn more on our website, and if you’re ready to get preapproved or have questions about the mortgage process – give us a call at 732.312.1500, Option 4. We’re happy to help you finance your dream home!

 *APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Subject to credit approval. Credit worthiness determines your APR. Rates quoted assume excellent borrower credit history and are for qualified borrowers. Your actual APR may vary based on your state of residence, approved loan amount, applicable discounts and your credit history. Higher rates may apply depending on terms of loan and credit worthiness. Available on primary residence only. The Interest Rates, Annual Percentage Rate (APR), and fees are based on current market rates, are for informational purposes only, are subject to change without notice and may be adjusted based on several factors including, but not limited to, property location, loan amount, loan type, occupancy, property type, loan to value, debt to income ratios, FICO credit scores, refinance with cash out and other variables. Mortgage insurance may be required depending on loan guidelines. This is not a credit decision or a commitment to lend. If mortgage insurance is required, the mortgage insurance premium could increase the APR and the monthly mortgage payment. See Credit Union for details. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a mortgage and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. Federally insured by NCUA. ​NMLS CU ID: 685814