I’ve Owned My Home For A Few Years: Now What?
A lot can change in a few years or even in just a year. (2020 is proof of that)
You may have become an empty nester, retired, or become grandparents… Or maybe your commute to work became nonexistent and is no longer a factor when choosing where you want to live. Regardless, after a few years in your home you may be feeling the itch to move again.
You’ll be pleased to know that home values have generally been on the rise for several years now, not just in 2020. So if you’re considering putting your home on the market this year, there are a few things you should know prior to selling.
The Time To Address Home Maintenance Is Now
The five-year mark tends to be when key maintenance issues pop up.
For instance, if you haven’t touched your HVAC system in this time period, it might already be due for replacement (or at least significant repairs). Water heaters are another likely candidate for replacement, especially if there have been significant changes to code requirements.
A few years of weather also brings exterior problems, especially for your roof, gutters, and any hurricane shutter systems. Inside, wear and tear can be noticeable, particularly for flooring. If you have wall-to-wall carpet, expect to change it out for a fresher look. Paint colors — particularly beige hues and light neutrals — can often take on a yellow cast that can look dingy.
Prioritize projects according to your budget and the severity. A buyer can overlook less-than-perfect paint, but not a leaky roof or failing AC system.
Your Home’s Value Has Changed
Of course, this is where the 2020 market comes into play.
Since the national real estate market has seen an uptick in buyers and quicker sales, you might be pleasantly surprised by our pricing strategy (and the comps that inform pricing). However, timing is everything: If mortgage rates increase, more listings hit the market or a shift in the economy happens, prices can take a hit.
While we all wish we could have a crystal ball to see where the market is heading, focus instead on what you can control to positively impact your home’s value. No matter where the market is headed, buyers are always interested in a home that is well-maintained and staged to show off its best features. While you’re addressing the aforementioned “five-year” issues, take the time to do a thorough decluttering (rent a storage unit if necessary) and ask us about a staging strategy.
Buyer’s Tastes Have Changed
In terms of home design, what may have caught your eye a few years back might already look out of date.
Trends have shifted dramatically for interior design as younger buyers enter the market. For instance, dark cabinetry and appliances have made a surprising comeback. Buyers also have stronger opinions about appliances that go beyond the cosmetic, favoring higher-tech options that are energy efficient.
Further, there’s a dramatic change in how we live. Many workplaces have gone fully remote (indefinitely), making the home office more important than ever before. Features that were often considered “bonus” — media rooms and outdoor entertaining spaces — take on a whole new meaning after the experience of spending months cooped up indoors.
Let's Talk About Equity
The Five Year Effect on Home Equity
For most mortgages, we know the first few years are spent paying down the interest, before making any real headway on the principal balance. Purely looking at the numbers, five years is when you might notice that you have more equity in your home. You can tap into this equity when you sell your current home and move up to a larger, more expensive one. You can also use that equity to pay for major home improvements, help consolidate other debts, or plan for your retirement. The more equity you have, the less of an impact closing costs may have on your financial situation.