The ‘big move’ is the MarketWatch section that looks at the details and details of real estate, from navigating in search of a new home to applying for a mortgage.
Do you have questions about buying or selling a home? Want to know where your next move should be? Email Jacob Passy at TheBigMove@marketwatch.com.
I have lived in my house for 40 years. I live on 5.25 acres and I went to the city to divide the land into suburbs and pass it.
I like where I live, but the house is getting old and there are no children. I am a 58 year old nurse. I pay $ 800 a month in property taxes plus a mortgage, which together is $ 2,500 a month.
I was offered a pretty good sum to sell my house for $ 500,000 more than two years ago. I had another house that I liked and I intended to buy it, so I wanted to sell it. But the sale fell on my house, so I had to leave the house I wanted to buy.
Now there are no houses for sale and I haven’t found anything I would like. So I would have to rent until I found something. Should I do that? Or just wait until more houses hit the market and sell when I find something? I probably won’t get that much, but houses won’t be that expensive to buy either. Isn’t everything equalized?
It would be nice to spend money, go on vacation and not have to work so hard. But I also don’t want to get stuck in rent and pay as much as I was while owning my house and be unhappy because I rent a g in a place I don’t want to live.
I like my house where I live! But the property tax is simply too expensive, and I am approaching retirement and will have to sell it. I still owe money to my house and I won’t pay it off before retirement unless I move.
The cost of home ownership is growing rapidly across the country, so you are not alone in feeling burdened.
A recent survey by ownership data firm Attom Data Solutions found that owning a home for the average household was affordable in only 41% of counties across the country. In other words, in the other 59% of counties across the county the average family would have to spend more than a third of their salaries to bear on housing costs, including mortgage and property tax payments.
Many sellers are in the same boat as you. They would sell at heart – if they could find a home to buy. The list of homes for sale is at a record low, and this creates a somewhat vicious circle. Home sellers are reluctant to put their properties on the market because there is hardly a guarantee that they will have a place to live after the sale is over.
Renting may seem like a one-way ticket to savings, but it’s far from safe. You don’t say where you live, but there’s a decent chance it’s not all that cheap to rent. In fact, rents in suburban and rural areas rose sharply amid the pandemic as families sought more space to live outside major cities. A separate report from Attom Data Solutions found that owning a three-bedroom home (at the average house price) is cheaper than renting a three-bedroom home in nearly two-thirds of the country.
There are other disadvantages to renting, for sure. You have no control over your future housing costs, so while you could afford the rent for the first year, nothing will stop the landlord from raising it when it goes to renovation. And when you own a home, you are building on valuable financial assets.
A recent study found that owning a home is even more affordable than renting in nearly two-thirds of the U.S., despite rising house prices.
With rent, all the money you spend is not returned to you. Even if you have lower monthly expenses, you rely a lot on what you do with that savings. It would be ideal to invest it or put it away for a rainy day, not to spend it.
You are not helpless though. Given how low mortgage rates are still – although they have risen in recent weeks – I suggest you check to see if refinancing was right for you. But given how long you’ve been in your home and the fact that you’re still working on your mortgage repayment, I’ll assume you’ve refinanced something recently.
You don’t say what you did after you went to the local government to divide your land, but if it’s sitting there, I’d consider selling it. Since you have a mortgage, this will not necessarily be an easy process.
When land is subdivided, you need to get the written consent of the lender or mortgage servicer underlying the property, said Tom Trott, head of the Maryland branch of Embrace Home Loans.
“This requirement is in most mortgages and the standard language in a statement of confidence is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” Trott said. To sell part of the property, you will need the approval of the lender. But if it’s hard to get, you still have options.
“Assuming they couldn’t get timely approval, another option would be to sell and refinance the remaining balance at the same time,” Trott said.