When it’s Time to Expand: Move On or Add On?

home for saleDo you feel like you need more space and are considering either moving up to a bigger house or adding on to your existing home? If you’ve been thinking about your options, the real estate pros at the Equifax Finance blog share some tips for thinking through each scenario, and discuss what to keep in mind when deciding which route to take, in the recent article, “Love it or List it?

Deciding whether or not you even need more space is the first big step. If your children are bunking up together, multiple kids per room, with no privacy; if your home office is your dining room table; if you want to have more children but have nowhere to put them; or if your storage spaces are overflowing, it may indeed be time for a bigger home.

But should you add on to your existing home or move into a larger home? According to the article, it is almost always less expensive to add on to your existing home. If you are happy where you are, you can add on to your home in a way that exactly matches your needs/desires while adding square footage that increases your home’s value. You can often recoup the cost of adding that square footage down the road. The downside to a home addition project is that your home and family may be disrupted for many months while construction is underway, and construction often takes longer and costs more than originally expected. The article’s author recommends doing as much of the work yourself, if you have the skills to do so, to save money.

If you decide to sell your home and buy a new one instead, you have to go about it very carefully, conducting your research on the front end. Study home prices in your area so that you can get a realistic expectation of what you can sell your home for and what you should prepare to pay for a new home. You’ll be both a buyer and a seller, so need to protect yourself on both sides.

If you’re in a buyers’ market, you may have a large pool of homes for sale at reasonable prices, but you might have a hard time selling your own home. You may consider asking a seller to make your purchase contract contingent upon you selling your current home. A seller having a hard time finding a buyer may accept this contingency, even though it means waiting for you to find a buyer. You might not be able to find a seller willing to work with you in this way, though, so you should meet with a mortgage broker early in the process to arrange for financing, should you find a home, and need to act quickly.

In a sellers’ market, selling your house will likely be easier than buying a new one, so in this scenario, you may want to start by looking for a house to buy, and make sure you have enough cash to tide you over during the likely short period when you own two houses at once. Like the above scenario, you can also try to negotiate with the buyer of your house to have the sale contract include a provision that makes the closing contingent on you finding and closing on a new house.

Whichever option you go with, be sure to fully research your market, so you can make the most informed decision. Get more buying and selling real estate tips at the Equifax Finance blog, where you can also find tons of helpful articles on other personal finance topics, like credit, retirement, insurance, saving and more.


Buying Jacksonville Real Estate on the Offseason

Equifax tips for offseason real estateWith August in the rearview mirror, we are firmly in the “homebuying offseason,” when you may assume that the good deals are gone and quality homes are few and far between – but that couldn’t be further from the truth! With the economy on the way up and the internet making it easier than ever to list and market a home, the offseason isn’t as “off” as it used to be. The Equifax Finance Blog shares tips for finding your next home while shopping in the offseason before the holidays reach full swing in the new article, “

Six Things to Remember When Buying a Home in the Offseason.”

With the rising tide of the economy, there were many wait-and-see sellers who listed later in the summer when signs pointed to it being a good time to sell. As such, there are a lot of quality homes and great deals still around that were missed by early spring homebuyers, and many are still on market even though the homebuyers who have small children have largely exited the homebuying field.  Additionally, sellers who listed later are watching the clock count down to the holiday season – come Thanksgiving, they likely won’t see many buyers until the following spring, so they are more likely to negotiate with buyers still on the market rather than stay on longer and have their listings go stale.

Another big reason to shop during the offseason is that mortgages may be easier to get now than in 2014. The underwriting standards are relaxed some now, so if your credit is a little lower or if you have a higher debt-to-income ratio than ideal, you may be able to get financing or get better financing now than you might have gotten while shopping during peak times.

To learn more about the best ways to go about getting your dream Jacksonville home, explore the full article and the many more on the Equifax Finance Blog about

credit scores, family budgeting, planning for retirement and more!


What does the Lowering of Negative Equity Spell for Buying a Home in 2013?

More options for buying a home in 2013The inventory drought has caused many homeowners that were underwater with negative equity to rise up for air, and this steep decline in negative equity may create some big changes for

buying a home in the 2013 spring real estate market. The Equifax Finance Blog explores some cause-and-effect possibilities in the new article, “

One Million Homeowners Are Back in the Black.”

The inventory drought can change the market for homebuyers in two ways. In one, a rush of homes coming onto the market might stall out rising prices and keep them from rising more. The other possibility is that the additional inventory may stimulate sales and lead to higher prices. Regardless, buyers will benefit from more options, and first time homebuyers in particular will be in an advantageous position to purchase their first home without having to worry about competing with additional inventory.

This turn is good news all around, as few will miss the record levels of negative equity that have crippled net worth and curtailed retirement plans. Homeowners who waited and suffered will have a chance to make their move and homebuyers will have more choices. All of it will help the economy grow.

For more personal finance advice, including more

real estate predictions and commentary as this situation develops, check in with the Equifax Finance Blog!

Jacksonville Real Estate News St Augustine Real Estate

HUD Homes Moving Quicker Than Ever

HUD real estate is selling fastMoney and real estate writer Ilyce Glink explains the process of

buying a home through HUD with “

How to Buy a HUD Home” on the Equifax blog.

The Federal Housing Agency (FHA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are working on making it easier for homebuyers to find and purchase affordably-priced HUD homes. While professional investors are out there buying up these properties, HUD really wants to make the process as easy as possible for owner-occupants

HUD homes are those that were purchased with an FHA loan and fell into

foreclosure. The process for buying one of these homes is very different from buying a traditional home, as homes are sold through an online bidding process and there are all kinds of regulations and options. Homes for sale are listed at:

Glink outlines the following steps to those looking to purchase a HUD home.

  1. Find a good real estate agent. You must choose a HUD registered agent, but just because they are registered, it doesn’t mean they are good. Glink recommends searching through for winning bids on homes in the area you are looking to buy and contacting the agents on those bids. Then, call the agents and ask if you can meet with them to determine who will best represent you.
  2. Inspect the property before putting in an offer. While FHA includes a no-cost as-is appraisal, you want to explore the property to see for yourself what you are really getting into. Your agent and the HUD agent can both access the home, and you can take notes and photos so you will be able to consider repair/improvement costs in your offer.
  3. Make an offer. Only owner-occupants can bid for the first 30 days.
  4. Close on your home. The HUD home buying process is becoming more streamlined, and homes are moving from the old owners to new ones faster than ever before.

Since homes are moving more quickly, buyers need to be prepared to take action when their dream home comes available. To be ready, line up your financing ahead of time and do lots of research now.

Visit the Equifax blog for more information about buying a HUD home, real estate in general, as well as retirement, credit, insurance and more.