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Why Moving to a Smaller Home After Retirement Makes Life Easier

Retirement is a time for relaxation, adventure, and enjoying the things you love. As you imagine this exciting new chapter in your life, it’s important to think about whether your current home still fits your needs.

If it’s too big, too costly, or just not convenient anymore, downsizing might help you make the most of your retirement years. To find out if a smaller, more manageable home might be the perfect fit for your new lifestyle, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do the original reasons I bought my current house still stand, or have my needs changed since then?
  • Do I really need and want the space I have right now, or could somewhere smaller be a better fit?
  • What are my housing expenses right now, and how much do I want to try to save by downsizing?

If you answered yes to any of these, consider the benefits that come with downsizing.

The Benefits of Moving into a Smaller Home

There are many reasons why you should downsize. Here are just a few from Bankrate:No Caption Received

Your Equity Can Help Make Downsizing Possible

If those perks sound like something you’d want, you may already have what you need to make it happen. A recent article from Seniors Guide shares:

“And at a time when homeowners age 62 and older have more than $12 trillion in home equity, downsizing makes sense . . .”

If you’ve been in your house for a while, odds are you’re one of those homeowners who’s built up a considerable amount of equity. And that equity is something you can use to help you buy a home that better fits your needs today. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, explains:

“Downsizing can mean taking that equity when the home is sold and using it to pay cash or make a large down payment on a lower-priced home, reducing your monthly living expenses.”

When you’re ready to use all that equity to fuel your next move, your real estate agent will be your guide through every step of the process. That includes setting the right price for your current house when you sell, finding the home that best fits your evolving needs, and understanding what you can afford at today’s mortgage rate.

Bottom Line

Starting your retirement journey? Think about downsizing – it could really help. When you’re ready, talk to a local real estate agent about your housing goals this year.

Why Your Asking Price Matters Even More Right Now

If you’re thinking about selling your house, here’s something you really need to know. Even though it’s still a seller’s market today, you can’t pick just any price for your listing.

While home prices are still appreciating in most areas, they’re climbing at a slower pace because higher mortgage rates are putting a squeeze on buyer demand. At the same time, the supply of homes for sale is growing. That means buyers have more options and your house may not stand out as much, if it’s not priced right.

Those two factors combined are why the asking price you set for your house is more important today than it has been in recent years.

And some sellers are finding that out the hard way. That’s leading to more price reductions. Mike Simonsen, Founder and President of ALTOS Research, explains:

“Looking at the price reductions data set . . . It all fits in the same pattern of increasing supply and homebuyer demand that is just exhausted by high mortgage rates. . . As home sellers are faced with less demand than they expected, more of them have to reduce their prices.”

That’s because they haven’t adjusted their expectations to today’s market. Maybe they’re not working with an agent, so they don’t know what’s happening around them. Or they’re not using an agent who prioritizes being a local market expert. Either way, they aren’t basing their pricing decision on the latest data available – and that’s a miss.

If you want to avoid making a pricing mistake that could turn away buyers and delay your sale, you need to work with an agent who really knows your local market. If you lean on the right agent, they’ll help you avoid making mistakes like:

  • Setting a Price That’s Too High: Some sellers have unrealistic expectations about how much their house is worth. That’s because they base their price on their gut or their bottom line, not the data. An agent will help you base your price on facts, not opinion, so you have a better chance of hitting the mark.
  • Not Considering What Houses Are Actually Selling for: Without an agent’s help, some sellers may use the wrong comparable sales (comps) in their area and misjudge the market value of their home. An agent has the expertise needed to find true comps. And they’ll use those to give you valuable insights into how to price your house in a way that’s competitive for you and your future buyer.
  • Overestimating Home Improvements: Sellers who have invested a significant amount of money in home improvements may overestimate how much those upgrades affect their home’s value. While certain improvements can increase a home’s appeal, not all upgrades are going to get a great return on their investment. An agent factors in what you’ve done and what buyers in your area actually want as they set the price.
  • Ignoring Feedback and Market Response: Some sellers may be resistant to lowering their asking price based on feedback they’re getting in open houses. An agent will remind the seller how important it is to be flexible and respond to market feedback in order to attract qualified buyers.

In the end, accurate pricing depends on current market conditions – and only an agent has all the data and information necessary to find the right price for your house. The right agent will use that expertise to develop a pricing strategy that’s based on current market conditions and designed to get your house sold. That way you don’t miss the mark.

Bottom Line

The right asking price is even more important today than it’s been over the last few years. To avoid making a costly mistake, connect with a local real estate agent. 

Homeowners Gained $28K in Equity over the Past Year

If you own a home, your net worth has probably gone up a lot over the past year. Home prices have been rising, which means you’re building equity much faster than you might think. Here’s how it works.

Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan.

Over the past year, there have still been more people wanting to buy than there are homes available for sale, and that’s pushed prices up. That rise in prices has translated directly into increasing equity for homeowners.

How Much Equity Have You Earned over the Past 12 Months?

According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic, the average homeowner’s equity has grown by $28,000 in the last year alone.

That’s the national average, so if you want to see what’s happening in your state, check out the map below. It uses data from CoreLogic to show how much equity has grown in each state over the past year. You’ll notice every single state with sufficient data saw annual equity gains:No Caption Received

What If You Bought Your House Before the Pandemic?

If you bought your house before the pandemic, the equity news is even better. According to data from Realtor.com, home prices shot up by 37.5% from May 2019 to May 2024, meaning your home’s value has likely increased significantly. Ralph McLaughlin, Senior Economist at Realtor.com, says:

“Homeowners have seen extraordinary gains in home equity over the past five years.”

To give context to how much equity can stack up over time, Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains the total equity the typical homeowner has today:

“With home prices continuing to reach new highs, owners are also seeing their equity approach the historic peaks of 2023, close to a total of $305,000 per owner.”

How Your Rising Home Equity Can Help You

With how prices skyrocketed a few years ago, and the ongoing price growth today, homeowners clearly have substantial equity built up – and that has some serious benefits.

You could use it to start a business, fund an education, or even to help you afford your next home. When you sell, the equity you’ve built up comes back to you, and may be enough to cover a big part – or even all – of your next home’s down payment.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to move, the equity you’ve gained can really help. Curious about how much you have and how you can use it to help pay for your next home? Connect with a local real estate agent.

What To Do When Your House Didn’t Sell

If your listing expired and your house didn’t sell, it’s totally natural to feel a mix of frustration and disappointment. And as you’re working through that, you’re probably also wondering what went wrong and what you should do next.

If you still need to move and want to get it back on the market, here are some things to consider as you look back.

Was It Priced for Today’s Market?

Setting the right price from the start is key. While it might be tempting to try shooting high with your price, that can slow down the selling process big time. If your house was priced higher than others similar to it, it may have turned away buyers. And that’s likely why it sat on the market. As Rocket Mortgage explains:

“Buyer interest in your home is highest when it first comes on the market. That’s why it’s so important to start with the right price on day one. . . If you overprice your house, buyers may just raise an eyebrow and move on to the next listing without even coming for a showing. . . It can be easy to think your home is worth more but try not to let sentimental value color your judgment. Your home’s true value is whatever a buyer is willing to pay for it.”

Was It Easy for Buyers To Tour?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when selling your house is overly restricting the days and times when potential buyers can tour it. Even though it might feel stressful to drop everything and leave when buyers want to see your house, being flexible with your schedule is important. After all, minimal access means minimal exposure to buyers. ShowingTime advises:

“. . . do your best to be as flexible as possible when granting access to your house for showings.”

Was It Set Up To Make the Best Impression on Buyers?

If buyers weren’t interested in your house, it’s worth taking another look at your home through their eyes. Are there outstanding repairs that may be distracting them? Even if it’s a small thing, some buyers may see it as a sign the maintenance on the home is falling behind.

Just remember, you don’t always need to make big upgrades. Selective small repairs or touch-ups go a long way. Things like tidying up your landscaping, a fresh coat of paint inside, or removing personal items and clutter can work wonders in sprucing up the house for potential buyers. You could also consider staging the home.

Were You Willing To Negotiate?

If there were offers coming in, but you weren’t ready to negotiate, that may be another reason why it didn’t sell. While you want to get top dollar for your house, you also need to be realistic about what your house can net in today’s market. The market is still tipped in a seller’s favor, but the supply of homes for sale is growing and buyers are feeling the sting of higher mortgage rates. So being willing to play ball can make closing a deal a whole lot easier. A skilled agent can help. As Ramsey Solutions explains:

“If you don’t have the money or time to fix home issues, consider offering some other form of incentive to buyers. . . An experienced real estate agent can help you arrange a deal where you and your buyer both come out on top.” 

Did You Listen To Your Agent?

If you want an expert’s advice on why it didn’t sell, rely on a trusted real estate agent. Whether that’s the agent you used previously or a new one once the listing has officially expired, a great agent will sit down and take the time to talk it over with you. They’ll want to hear your honest opinion on what worked and what didn’t, and where you want to go from here.

Then, they’ll offer their perspective. This includes tailored advice and effective strategies for re-listing your house to get it sold. As Better Homes & Gardens says, an agent should be your go-to resource in this situation:

“If you’re frustrated with the timeline of your sale, chat with your real estate agent. Agents want what is best for you and the sale of your home, and having open communication about any frustrations will be key.”

Bottom Line

It’s natural to feel disappointed when your listing has expired and your house didn’t sell. Connect with a reliable real estate agent to determine what happened, and what changes you should make to get your house back on the market.

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