Uh, oh. It’s the start of a New Year and you’ve made one of the biggest financial errors to date by running up big bucks of credit card debt.
It’s OK, we all do it at some point, whether it’s over the holidays season or in the middle of the year.
However, before you panic, there might be a solution — if you own a home. You can sell that property, take the proceeds from the sale, and pay off your credit card debt.
Sure, it may be a tough thing to decide, but it is do-able especially if have no other options for paying off your credit card debt quickly.
“If there is no light at the end of the tunnel, or game plan to pay it off, the best solution might be to sell your home and rent,” said Peter Grable, managing director of Luxury Mortgage Corp. in Stamford, Conn. in an article posted on Wisebread.com. “Over the last decade, we’ve learned that real estate doesn’t always go up in value. Taxes go up, and there can be endless maintenance costs connected with ownership. For folks in this position, selling might be an attractive solution.”
But before you decide to sell you humble home, realize that selling it may not work for every person who is struggling with debt. In some cases, a homeowner or perhaps two won’t even make enough money from a sale to get rid of their high-interest-rate debt.
When a ‘For Sale’ Sign Makes Sense
For this plan to work, you must have enough equity in your home. For example, if you owe $150,000 on your mortgage loan and your home is worth $220,000 in today’s market, you may earn about $70,000 when you sell your home, according to Wisbread.com
Fortunately, more homeowners today are probably able to earn solid profits when selling their homes. Why? As the housing market recovers from the 2008 crisis and its aftermath, many homeowners are learning they may have equity, something they never had before.
And for those carrying big amounts of consumer debt, they may learn they can sell their homes and become renters, using that equity to retire the consumer debt.
Pricey Rental Markets for Some
While renting might certainly be workable for some homeowners, it won’t be a good choice for many others. Once owners do sell their homes, they fall into the rental market and its prices. Apartment rents are escalating Coast to Coast, especially in larger metro areas. This can make renting an expensive situation for anyone hunting for a rental.
Selling a home is expensive, too, and involves a laundry list of fees, many of which sellers pay out of the proceeds of the sale. The largest of these is the commission that owners must pay to their Realtor, typically 6 percent of the home’s final sales price.
More Debt Reduction Options
Before planting that ‘for sale’ in the front lawn, homeowners should take other measures before giving up their homes.
Experts suggest checking out debt-management programs offered by reputable credit counseling agencies that offer a way for struggling homeowners to get their debts under control. In some of these programs, consumers work with an agency that creates a repayment plan for them, letting them repay all or some parts of the debt in monthly payments that are affordable for their situation.
Additionally, experts also say for some consumers who are debt-ridden, it may be a better idea to keep their homes. Why? Because if they want to one day come back to the housing market, they will likely be re-entering at a time when housing prices, and maybe even interest rates, have increased.
If consumers do sell their homes to pay off their debt, they should look closely at their previous and often bad financial habits to make sure they don’t fall back into the same old credit card debt.
If a homeowner uses all their equity to pay off the consumer debt, the next step is to initiate a long-term savings plan, so they will have the funds required to buy a home in the future.
While selling a home to pay off a debt may work for some homeowners, it may not for others. It is bold move and one that should be looked at seriously. Check with your financial expert, Realtor or someone who can help you make this important decision for you and your family.