What If I'm Not Buying or Selling a Home This Year?
When you have house fever, everything makes sense.
Go for it. Buy the house of your dreams. Go for that mortgage at all costs.
But what if you don't want to be one of those house fever people who ends up with more mortgage than they afford? What if you don't plan on buying or selling a home at all this year?
What to Do if You're Not Ready to Sell Just Yet
If you know that you're going to want to sell your home, but you aren't sure you want to do it yet this year, there's good news: you're in a good position. With some money put away and some time spent investing in your home, you can increase its resale value.
- Reinvest in your home. According to Consumer Reports, your best bets for increasing your home's resale value include updating the kitchen, with a potential bump in the resale value of your home of 3 to 7%. If your home is badly in need of an updated kitchen and you know that you're not ready to sell yet, this can be an ingenious investment that helps you recoup your initial cost.
- Take time for proper financial planning. Making the decision to fill an emergency fund, for example, can give you more financial flexibility when it comes time to move.
- Watch the interest rates. Securing a new home mortgage may be less expensive than you think it will be when the time comes. Interest rates are currently stagnant, with the possibility that they'll come back down as the economy shows signs of slowing. This could be good for your decision to hold off on selling the home this year.
What to Do if You're Not Ready to Buy Just Yet
If you don't currently suffer from house fever, it can be a good thing. However, there are some things you should keep in mind if you need a home and are still putting off a home purchase until next year:
- Price fluctuation. The cost of a mortgage next year might not be the same as this year. The same is also true for home building prices. If prices are favorable in your area right now, the only way to lock those prices in is to secure a mortgage sooner rather than later.
- Save like you're going to buy a house. Don't let the dream of owning a home get away from you. Failing to save aggressively throughout this time can mean having less of a down payment available - which translates to fewer options when it is time to buy a home.
- Keep clear of debt. The more debt you have, the more bills you have every month. That makes it more difficult to afford a regular mortgage payment. If you're not ready to buy a home just yet, make sure that you steer clear of debt to maximize your chances of a successful mortgage.
It's wise to be cautious about a decision as big as acquiring a new home. But use the intervening time wisely, too. Learn more about the home mortgage you might expect when you enter the market again - and what you should do to prepare.