Blog

The Benefits of Buying or Selling for Cash

If you can buy a house with cash, should you do it?

Most people try to avoid getting into debt; it’s a much wiser financial decision. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible. On big-ticket items such as higher education, purchasing a car, and buying a house, loans are a common occurrence. But if you can buy a house with cash, should you do it? What are the benefits of making a cash offer on a home or accepting a cash offer for your home?

Benefits of Buying a House with Cash

If you have the means to be a cash house buyer, then you’re in a great position. According to the National Association of Realtors, roughly 30% of U.S. homebuyers are making their home purchases completely in cash, and it makes sense.

There are many reasons why paying cash for a home is better than getting a loan, even when it comes to the effect of a cash offer on house closing costs.

No Mortgage Payments: If you purchase your new home outright, you won’t have to worry about what type of interest rate you get or how much your monthly payments will be. Instead, you can enjoy financial freedom without a mortgage. This also means that you’ll be saving money on interest. You paid for the house in full, so you don’t have to worry about thousands of extra dollars over the years in interest payments.

Lower Purchase Price: In most cases, sellers love for cash homebuyers. It makes everything easier on the seller’s end, which means that you can probably negotiate a better price. The seller will know that you won’t back out at the last minute due to loan issues so that you can haggle a little more.

Fewer Closing Costs: You might be surprised by the impact of a cash offer on house closing costs. Many typical closing costs have to do with a mortgage, but if you’re paying in cash, you can avoid various loan fees including:

  • Property appraisal fees
  • Notary fees
  • Private mortgage insurance
  • Credit report fees

Quicker Closing: With a mortgage, closing a home requires you to wait 30 to 45 days on average. Paying in cash, you can finish the purchase transaction in one to three weeks.

Quality Investment: If you have a large sum of money in cash, it won’t be earning you any extra sitting in the bank or a CD. On the other hand, real estate investment is a great idea, even when the market may not be ideal. If you’re willing to hang on to your property for a few years, you’ll get out more than you put in on a cash deal.

Benefits of Selling a House for Cash

What about when it comes to selling your home? Should you sell a home for cash or is it better to go the conventional route? Beyond the fact that there may be negotiating for a lower selling price for a cash offer, there are many benefits to accepting a cash deal.

Fewer Deals Fall Through: If you’ve ever tried to sell a house, you understand that it can be risky. Too often, buyers lose loan backings or don’t qualify for enough to complete the purchase. With a cash offer, you don’t have to worry about this as much.

Faster Closing: If you need to get out of your home quickly, a cash offer is a great way to do this. Normal closing times are four to seven weeks. A cash offer can cut that time down to one to three weeks.

Fewer Fees: Typically, a cash offer means that you’ll be able to avoid many annoying closing costs, so you keep more of your sale money.

Cash offers in real estate can be a great idea if you know what you’re doing. At Coldwell Banker, we suggest talking to a financial expert, as well as an experienced real estate agent, to help you decide the best option for you.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Baldwin County Home Prices up 6.4% from Last Year

Sales: According to the Baldwin County Association of Realtors/Multiple Listing Service, May residential sales in Baldwin County totaled 664 units, down 3.1 percent from last May. Current sales are 26.3 percent above the five-year May average of 526 residential sales. The area saw 2,745 residential sales during the first five months of 2018, up 4.7 percent from the 2,623 sales during the same period one year ago. Two more resources to review: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.

For all of Baldwin County’s housing data, click here.

Forecast: May results were two units or .3 percent above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE projected 662 closed transactions through May, while there were 2,673 actual sales, a difference of 2.7 percent.

Supply: The Baldwin County housing inventory in May was 2,940 units, an increase of 9.7 percent from one year ago. The area’s housing inventory has declined 48.8 percent from the 10-year May peak in 2008, when 5,744 units were available for sale. There were 4.4 months of housing supply in May, representing a decrease of 23.6 percent from the 5.8 months of housing supply available in the area in May 2017. The market reaches equilibrium at approximately 6 months of housing supply, with an even balance between supply and demand.

Demand: Baldwin County residential sales increased 2.9 percent from April. Historical data indicate that May residential sales on average (2013-17) increase from April by 15.4 percent. Existing single-family homes accounted for 56 percent of total sales in the area, while 21 percent of sales were new construction. Condo sales accounted for the remaining 23 percent. The average number of days on the market in May was 88, representing a decrease of 35.8 percent from one year ago, when homes in the area averaged 137 days on the market.

Pricing: The Baldwin County median sales price in May was $239,500, an increase of 6.4 percent from May 2017, when the median price was $225,000. The median sales price was down 4.2 percent from the prior month. Historical data trends from 2013-17 indicate that May median sales prices on average decrease .4 percent from April. ACRE highly recommends consulting with a real estate professional to discuss pricing, as it will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Industry perspective: In both Alabama and the United States, the spring home-buying season has been affected greatly by very low inventory levels. April residential listings decreased 10 percent in the state and decreased 6 percent nationwide from one year ago. Residential sales in Alabama, however, increased 16 percent from one year ago, which is impressive considering the 10 percent drop in inventory. Home price appreciation cooled off somewhat as the statewide median sales price increased 2 percent from one year ago, while it increased 7 percent during the first quarter of the year. Going forward, home sales prices are expected to continue their upward climb during the summer as inventory levels are likely to repeat the declines that were seen during the spring.

Source: Alabama Newscenter

5 Plants That Naturally Repel Mosquitoes

Many homeowners want to enjoy their outdoor living space but don’t want to get eaten by mosquitoes while doing so. Bug repellents and bug zappers are effective but don’t keep those nasty bugs away from your outdoor living area. Check out these plants that naturally repel mosquitoes and other annoying bugs that keep you from using your outdoor space more often:

1. Lavender

This beautiful purple colored plant is a natural mosquito repellent with a wonderful fragrance. Lavender is a great addition to an outdoor space as it adds color as well as keeps bugs at bay. Its unique scent will keep insects and rabbits away and is very hardy. Lavender tends to spread out and can get quite large so make sure that you have enough space when planting this beauty. Lavender does well in warmer climates but can withstand a wide variety of environments as well.

2. Citronella Grass

This plant is a no brainer when it comes to its ability to keep mosquitoes at bay. Citronella is a commonly used ingredient in many natural mosquito repellents and this grass does well in doing just that. The lemon scent of Citronella Grass is incredibly good at repelling bugs and does well in planters. Place a few pots around an outdoor living space for ultimate protection against biting insects.

3. Catnip

As a variation of the mint family, catnip is very good at deterring insects. It is low maintenance and does well in planters as it has a tendency to creep into other areas of the garden. A recent study showed that catnip was actually much more effective than DEET and the natural repelling aspects are impressive. If you do decide to choose this mosquito repelling plant have a plan of action for neighborhood cats who may be attracted to your outdoor space as well!

4. Marigolds

This annual flower produces a scent that repels mosquitoes as well as other bugs such as whiteflies, aphids, and hornworms. Marigolds are an easy addition to an outdoor space as they do well in pots that can be spread out around a patio area or even placed directly on your outdoor table. They do well in borders or edging as well and should grow well all summer long.

5. Rosemary

As an easy to grow herb, Rosemary extracts a woody scented oil that repels both moths and mosquitoes. It does well in containers but can also thrive along borders or in garden beds as well. Rosemary has the ability to grow quite large so regular trimming is recommended. It does best in dry and arid environments but can withstand colder areas when placed in pots. Enjoy the mosquito repelling qualities of this plant as well as snip off a few sprigs to use in summer cooking.

Take charge of your outdoor space and plant different varieties that will repel pesky mosquitoes the natural way. Choose a few favorites and see which plant does best in your outdoor space. Consider placing them close to the outdoor seating area for greatest impact on keeping the biting insects away from your outdoor space this summer.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Baldwin County home sales rise 23 percent

Click here to view or print the entire monthly report compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

Sales: According to the Baldwin County Association of Realtors/Multiple Listing Service, April residential sales in Baldwin County totaled 645 units, up 23.3 percent from last April. Current sales are 41.1 percent above the five-year April average of 456 residential sales. The area saw 2,081 residential sales during the first four months of 2018, up 1.5 percent from the 1,938 sales during the same period one year ago. Two more resources to review: Quarterly

Report and Annual Report.

For all of Baldwin County’s housing data, click here.

Forecast: April results were 61 units or 10.5 percent above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE projected 2,011 closed transactions through April, while there were 2,081 actual sales, a difference of 3.5 percent.

Supply: The Baldwin County housing inventory in April was 2,934 units, an increase of 10.8 percent from one year ago. The area’s housing inventory has declined 49.4 percent from the 10-year April peak in 2008, when 5,802 units were available for sale. There were 4.5 months of housing supply in April, representing a decrease of 10.2 percent from the 5.1 months of housing supply available in the area in April 2017. The market reaches equilibrium at approximately 6 months of housing supply, with an even balance between supply and demand.

Demand: Baldwin County residential sales increased 1.6 percent from March. This is inconsistent with historical data indicating that April residential sales on average (2013-17) decrease from March by .4 percent. Existing single-family homes accounted for 54 percent of total sales in the area, while 21 percent of sales were new construction. Condo sales accounted for the remaining 25 percent. The average number of days on the market in April was 88, representing a decrease of 38.5 percent from one year ago, when homes in the area averaged 143 days on the market.

Pricing: The Baldwin County median sales price in April was $250,000, an increase of 8.9 percent from April 2017, when the median price was $229,645. The median sales price was up 6.9 percent from the prior month. This month-over-month price increase is consistent with historical data trends from 2013-17 indicating that April median sales prices on average increase 7.5 percent from March. ACRE highly recommends consulting with a real estate professional to discuss pricing, as it will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Industry perspective: Statewide, residential real estate sales continued to show growth during the first quarter of 2018 as they grew 2.4 percent from the first quarter of 2017. Low inventory levels, however, played a large role in driving prices upward. During the first quarter of the year, the statewide median sales price increased 7.1 percent from one year ago. Although good news for sellers, this price growth, combined with rising interest rates, could lead to affordability issues for buyers in today’s markets.

Click here to generate more graphs from the Baldwin County April Housing Report, including Total Sales, Average Sales Price, Days on the Market, Total Inventory and Months of Supply. 

 

The Baldwin County Residential Monthly Report is developed in conjunction with the Baldwin County Association of Realtors to better serve Gulf Coast consumers.

Alabama statewide home sales for April up 16%

Click here to view or print the entire monthly report compliments of the Alabama Center for Real Estate Corporate CabinetJoin the Center mailing list here.

Sales: There were 5,584 residential sales in Alabama during April, an increase of 16.3 percent from one year ago. Current sales results are 30.1 percent above the five-year monthly average of 4,291 transactions. Two more resources to review: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.

Forecast: April sales were 11.8 percent or 593 units above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE projected 17,302 residential sales statewide year-to-date, while there were 18,801 actual sales through April.

Supply: The statewide housing inventory during April was 24,245 listings, a decrease of 10 percent from April 2017 and 43.2 percent below the 10-year April peak in 2008, when 42,675 units were listed for sale. April inventory increased from March by 1.3 percent. This is consistent with historical data trends indicating that April inventory on average (2013-2017) increases 1.7 percent from March.

Demand: April residential sales increased 4.4 percent from March. This rise in sales is consistent with historical data trends indicating that April sales on average (2013-2017) increase from March by 1.8 percent. The average number of days on the market until a listing sold was 102 days, down 17.3 percent from one year ago, when listings across the state averaged 124 days on the market.

Pricing: The statewide median sales price during April was $152,016, an increase of 1.7 percent from one year ago. The April median sales price decreased 3.2 percent from March. This direction is inconsistent with historical data averages (2013-2017) indicating that the April median sales price on average increases 3.1 percent from March. During April, 60 percent of Alabama markets experienced price gains from one year ago. This indicator can fluctuate from month to month because of sampling size of data and seasonal buying patterns.

Seeking balance: The metro markets in Alabama representing 70 percent of all sales shifted away from equilibrium (balance between supply and demand) with 3.7 months of housing supply during April. Outside the metro markets, Alabama’s midsize metro areas are reporting 4.5 months of housing supply, while non-metro areas are reporting 6.6 months of supply. There have been significant improvements from inventory peaks experienced during the recession.

Industry perspective: Statewide, residential real estate sales continued to show growth during the first quarter of 2018 as they grew 2.4 percent from the first quarter of 2017. Low inventory levels, however, played a large role in driving prices upward. During the first quarter of the year, the statewide median sales price increased 7.1 percent from one year ago. Although good news for sellers, this price growth, combined with rising interest rates, could lead to affordability issues for buyers in today’s markets.

*ACRE receives new construction sales data from the following counties/areas: Baldwin County, Birmingham metro area, Calhoun County, Huntsville metro area, Lee County, Mobile metro area, Montgomery metro area, Tuscaloosa County and the Wiregrass Region. Combined, these counties/areas represent +/- 70 percent of Alabama’s total population.

Click here to generate more graphs from the Alabama April Housing Report, including Total Sales, Average Sales Price, Days on the Market, Total Inventory and Months of Supply. 

April condo sales in Baldwin County rise 10%

Click here to view or print the entire monthly report compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

Sales: According to the Baldwin County Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service, Baldwin County condo sales, which include condos along the Gulf Coast, totaled 162 units during April, a 10.2 percent increase from one year ago. Current sales results are 9.4 percent above the five-year March average of 148 condo sales. Two more resources to view: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.

For all of Baldwin County’s condo sales data, click here.

Forecast: March condo sales were 14 units or 9.4 percent above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. Year-to-date, 527 Baldwin County condos have been sold, 8.4 percent above ACRE’s forecast of 486 condo sales through April.

Supply: Baldwin County condo inventory totaled 747 units in April, up from 723 units one year ago. Condo inventory decreased by 1.1 percent from the prior month. This decrease in inventory is relatively consistent with historical data from 2013-17 indicating that April inventory on average decreases .3 percent from March. Condo inventory during April peaked in 2009 at 2,445 units, and the current inventory is down 69.4 percent from that peak.

Demand: Baldwin County condo sales increased 7.3 percent from the previous month. This month-over-month sales increase is consistent with historical data indicating that April condo sales on average (2013-17) increase from March by 14.3 percent. Condos selling in April averaged 71 days on the market. This is a significant improvement from one year ago, when condos averaged 155 days on the market.

Seeking balance: The inventory of condos for sale divided by the current monthly sales volume equals the number of months of housing supply. The market is considered to be in balance at approximately 6 months of supply. During April the area had 4.6 months of condo supply, down from 5 months of supply last month and down from 4.9 months of supply one year ago.

Pricing: The Baldwin County condo median sales price in April was $358,750, up 21.6 percent from one year ago. The median sales price increased 13.9 percent from the prior month. This month-over-month price increase is somewhat consistent with historical data trends from 2013-17 indicating that the April median sales price on average increases 3.8 percent from March. ACRE highly recommends consulting with a real estate professional before making a purchase.

Industry perspective: Statewide, residential real estate sales continued to show growth during the first quarter of 2018 as they grew 2.4 percent from the first quarter of 2017. Low inventory levels, however, played a large role in driving prices upward. During the first quarter of the year, the statewide median sales price increased 7.1 percent from one year ago. Although good news for sellers, this price growth, combined with rising interest rates, could lead to affordability issues for buyers in today’s markets.

Mobile April home sales up 14 percent

Click here to view or print the entire monthly report compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

Sales: According to the Mobile Area Association of Realtors, Mobile-area residential sales totaled 444 units during April, an increase of 14.1 percent from the same month in 2017, when there were 389 residential sales. Current results are 18.4 percent above the five-year monthly average of 375 closed transactions. Two more resources to review: Quarterly Report and Annual Report.

Forecast: April sales in the Mobile area were 37 units or 9.1 percent above the Alabama Center for Real Estate’s (ACRE) monthly forecast. ACRE projected 407 total sales during April, while there were 444 actual sales during the month. ACRE’s year-to-date forecast projected 1,436 sales in the area through April, while there were 1,374 actual year-to-date sales.

Supply: The Mobile-area housing inventory in April was 1,548 units, a decrease of 18.1 percent from April 2017.

Inventory has declined 56.9 percent from the 10-year April peak of 3,594 units reached in 2010.

Demand: April sales increased 16.5 percent from March. Homes selling in the area during April averaged 78 days on the market, a decrease of 23 days from the days-on-market average from the same month in 2017. Homes sold 29 days faster than the five-year April average of 107 days on the market.

Seeking balance: The inventory of homes for sale divided by the current monthly sales volume equals the number of months of housing supply. Most real estate professionals consider the market to be in balance at approximately 6 months of housing supply. The Mobile area has 3.5 months of housing supply, down from 4.9 months during the same period in 2017. The five-year average for the month of April is 6.6 months of housing supply.

Pricing: The Mobile-area median sales price in April was $148,250, an increase of 11.9 percent from this time last year. The April median sales price increased 6.7 percent from the previous month. Median sales prices can fluctuate from month to month as the sample size of data is subject to seasonal buying patterns. ACRE highly recommends consulting with a local real estate professional to discuss prices, which can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Industry perspective: Statewide, residential real estate sales continued to show growth during the first quarter of 2018 as they grew 2.4 percent from the first quarter of 2017. Low inventory levels, however, played a large role in driving prices upward. During the first quarter of the year, the statewide median sales price increased 7.1 percent from one year ago. Although good news for sellers, this price growth, combined with rising interest rates, could lead to affordability issues for buyers in today’s markets.

The Mobile Area Residential Monthly Report is developed in conjunction with the Mobile Area Association of Realtors to better serve Gulf Coast consumers.

The 5 Best Self-Learning Smart Home Devices

Self-learning home devices learn your habits and adjust themselves accordingly for an unprecedented level of convenience.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Picture this: You’ve had an exhausting week — all you want to do is go home and relax. It’s hot outside, but you arrive to a perfectly cooled home. As dusk rolls in, your blinds follow suit, as if they’re chasing the sunset. You make your way to your bedroom and practically crumble into bed. The lights dim as the temperature dips and you drift off into a peaceful sleep.

This might sound like a futuristic dream, but actually, it’s a reality. In today’s world, millions of smart gadgets are available to make your home more intelligent. But these “smart” devices are limited to homeowner’s programming capabilities, which is usually turning on and off at certain times. Genius? Not so much. Self-learning home devices are different. They learn your habits and adjust themselves accordingly for an unprecedented level of convenience. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the best connected devices and the ways they can observe patterns, interpret data, or use artificial intelligence to help make your life easier.

1. Self-Learning Thermostats

Keeping your house at an ideal temperate can be pricey. About 50 percent of your energy bill can be attributed to running the heat or air conditioning. A manual thermostat can be programmed to adjust temps at certain times but if you leave for vacation and forget to turn it off, you’re out of luck.

Smart thermostats are a game-changer. They can learn your favorite temp and make sure you’re never too hot or too cold. If you’ve cranked the AC a few days in a row, your thermostat will pick up on this pattern and adjust the temperature settings accordingly. And when you leave for work or a week-long vacation, sensors and GPS will alert your thermostat to automatically save energy (and money).

2. Self-Learning Blinds

There’s nothing worse than being woken up at the crack of dawn on a weekend to sun beams hitting you square in the face. Or the opposite — you can’t seem to roll out of bed because the room is so dark that it must still be nighttime, right?

Smart blinds can help address both of these issues. The latest intelligent shades connect to your compatible smart-home systems and adjust themselves automatically. Simply program your shades to move your window treatments to your preference. And to take it one step further, some smart blinds can follow the sun to maintain the same level of light as the season’s change, which saves energy and money (without any effort on your part).

3.    Self-Learning Beds

Even your bed can have brainpower. Tech-savvy mattresses covers sync up with your thermostat and bedroom lighting for a full sensory experience. As you begin to snooze, the temperature and lights of your room and bed adjust to your preference. When you doze off completely, they adjust again or turn off completely. These self-learning mattress protectors can also track your sleep patterns and help you achieve your best night’s rest.

4.    Self-Learning Surveillance

Being able to keep an eye on your home while you are away is the ultimate peace of mind, as one in 36 homes are burglarized each year. Smart surveillance systems employ innovative learning technology like facial recognition to keep your home safe from unfamiliar faces. Some cameras also have self-learning video analytics, which automatically adjust their settings based on the scene conditions to give you the clearest view possible. Plus, they connect to Wi-Fi for 24/7 footage, pinged right to your smartphone from anywhere with internet.

5.    Self-Learning Spectrometer 

This might not seem like an everyday item, but smart food spectrometers are making waves in the kitchen. This tool interprets algorithms to understand food freshness, sweetness and quality. In real-time, it can determine if your meat has gone bad, if your whiskey is the real deal or if that farmer’s market fruit is fresh.

Bonus: Self-Learning Home Controller

As seen at the 2018 Consumer Electronic Show, a self-learning home controller takes your smart home gadgets and make them smarter. It uses artificial intelligence to understand your home patterns, picking up data from your smart appliances, lighting and electricity. It automates mundane tasks without scheduling or hassle to better manage your home and save money. Although it’s not available for purchase yet, this home controller could help smart gadgets reach their full potential.

 

As smart home gadgets continue to get smarter and learn on their own, it’ll be fascinating to see how they will predict our behavior to save energy, slash bills, and most importantly, make our lives better.

Perhaps one day, there will be no snoozing through alarms (your phone will know to wake you up), no burnt banana bread (your oven will know it’s fully baked), and no parties after midnight (your lights know bedtime is at 10PM). But hopefully these self-learning devices will learn that sometimes humans like to break the rules.

Modest Home Updates to “Wow” Buyers & Boost Value

When selling a home in today’s market, it’s important to consider all the options to help make it stand out and appear move-in ready to selective buyers.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

When selling a home in today’s market, it’s important to consider all the options to help make it stand out and appear move-in ready to selective buyers. Which improvements require the least time, effort and expense but will significantly boost your home’s perceived value? To help prioritize, we put together the following list of modest staging solutions/upgrades that will get your property noticed and cost less than the first price reduction that buyers would expect for dated kitchens and baths.

Dining room staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Freshen Walls With Neutral Color

Our go-to instant fix to brighten and hide dated and damaged walls is neutral paint. It’s amazing to see how a dark red or purple room can be completely transformed with a coat of soft “greige” (a combination of taupe and grey) paint that increases the perceived size of the space, doesn’t distract from the room’s features and acts as the perfect backdrop to modern furnishings and décor.

Kitchen staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Re-paint Kitchen and Bath Cabinets

To instantly boost a tired kitchen or bath without a costly investment, start by repainting dated and dark cabinets and vanities with bright white paint. Complete the look by pairing with modern hardware – handles, drawer pulls or knobs for added style.

Bathroom staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Replace Kitchen & Bath Lighting and Countertops

Lighting is an important design element that can affect the mood of a room more than any other accessory. Adding updated lighting in modern designs and on-trend mixed finishes such as brushed nickel, chrome or soft gold tones will add warmth and sophisticated style. It can also be used to draw attention to certain features in the room such as a beautiful new marble or quartz countertop (as shown in photo above), appliances or high ceilings.

Highlight Key Features

For large windows with attractive molding, remove heavier window treatments or simply frame with floor to ceiling neutral drapes. Remove worn carpeting and expose and polish hardwood flooring. Re-stain stairway steps and railings by painting risers or updating spindles. Enhance a beautiful stone fireplace with molding, mantle or screen.

Living room staged by PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve invested in cosmetic fixes, be sure to remove dated furniture and accents and replace with more modern style that complement the room (as pictured in living room above). Minimal wall art, vignettes and throw pillows with subtle pops of color and pattern will add depth and warmth so that buyers can emotionally connect and envision living in the home.

Exterior & Curb Appeal

It’s just as important to update the outside of your home to welcome buyers inside. Remodeling magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” report continues to list replacing entry and garage doors, siding and windows as upgrades that provide the greatest return on investment. However, sprucing up the landscaping, making necessary basic repairs, a fresh coat of paint for the front door and some seasonal potted flowers will go a long way to make a great first impression.

How to Sell a House That Still Has a Mortgage

Most people won’t live in the same home for 30 years, the typical life of a mortgage loan. So, when it comes time to sell, many homeowners still have mortgage debt to deal with. Is this a problem? What happens to your mortgage when you sell your home?

Once you sign your name on a mortgage loan, you are responsible for the money—no one else. This means that you must pay it back, which you can do with the money you gain from selling your home.

The truth of the matter is that selling a house with a mortgage is a common occurrence. Consult with your mortgage lender and your real estate agent to find out how you can sell a home with a mortgage. Here are a few tips that they might share with you.

Check Your Mortgage

The first step to selling a house with a mortgage is to contact your mortgage lender and ask about your current mortgage. You want to know:

  • Your current mortgage payoff amount
  • Your due-on-sale clauses

Your mortgage payoff amount is the exact amount of money, including accrued interest that you owe to the bank. This amount is typically good for 10-30 days and represents the outstanding loan balance that you must pay. The last thing you want to do is default on your mortgage.

The due-on-sale clauses reveal the exact rules of how to sell a house you still owe money on. It covers such information as when the paid-in-full loan is due and what the process is, including any fees. The clauses won’t tell you who you can or can’t sell your home to, but they may need some additional information about the buyer’s mortgage lender. Be sure to ask any questions you might have about these clauses, so you have a full understanding before you take the plunge and start your sale.

Selling Your Home

Once you know the ins and outs of your loan terms, it’s time to get to selling a house with a mortgage, which can get slightly complicated. First, you’ll want to work with a title company.

If your current lender doesn’t set you up with a title company, you can hire an agent on your own. This agent will be responsible for ensuring that there are no issues with your property’s title, and act as the intermediary throughout the entire purchase and sale process.

Here’s what happens to your mortgage when you sell your home and use a title company:

  • The title agent holds the money from the new buyer during the sale
  • After you sign all the documents at the closing table, the title agent uses the sale money to pay your current mortgage holder
  • Once the amount has been paid, the title transfers to the buyer and you, as the seller, are given the leftover money (minus various fees)

If the sale covers the full cost of the current loan, it’s a fairly smooth process. However, if you owe more than your home is actually worth—negative equity—there could be some trouble. In that case, you’ll have to work out a deal with your lender for a reduced payoff amount, or you may need to refinance and stay in your home for longer than you planned.

In the end, selling a home with a mortgage shouldn’t be a problem. The most important thing is to know your options, so that you can make the right decisions.

For help throughout the entire selling process, visit www.coldwellbanker.com and find a real estate agent near you.